Last month, Tess Christian, a 50-year-old cooking instructor from the U.K., made headlines when she admitted she hasn’t smiled in the past four decades. She has nothing to be sad about; actually, her perpetually neutral expression is her effort to maintain a youthful appearance.
“I don’t have wrinkles because I have trained myself to control my facial muscles,” Christian told the Daily Mail. “Everyone asks if I’ve had Botox, but I haven’t, and I know that it’s thanks to the fact I haven’t laughed or smiled since I was a teenager. My dedication has paid off; I don’t have a single line on my face.”
While Christian’s strategy may seem extreme, it’s true that whenever we make a facial expression, such as smiling, talking or frowning, a fold or crease appears on the skin. Over time, these lines become permanently etched in the skin. Because of these dynamics at play, Christian’s strategy isn’t necessarily misguided.
Admittedly, the Plastic Surgery Group finds it a particularly unpleasant way to prevent wrinkles. Smiling is a spontaneous behavior that communicates our joy to others. However, we understand the desire to have smooth and wrinkle-free skin. We have some suggestions for preventing facial wrinkles or treating existing lines. We think you will find them more reasonable than censoring your natural, beautiful smile.
Tess Christian made mention of Botox in her comments, saying that many people assume she has regular treatments with the cosmetic injectable to maintain smooth skin. We have to agree that Botox is one of the (if not the) most effective wrinkle reducers used today. When injected into specific areas of the face and neck, it relaxes the facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. Established lines will smooth out and new wrinkles will not form. Botox injections not affect the muscles that you need to smile, eat, open your eyes and make other normal facial expressions.
We do want to clarify something that Christian said about Botox, which is that people ask her if she has had the treatment. When it is administered properly, Botox is undetectable. No one will ask you whether you’ve had Botox injections. The results are subtle and natural looking.
Injectable Dermal Fillers
Like Botox, dermal fillers are cosmetic injectable products; however, they function in a completely different way. When injected under the skin, products like Restylane, Sculptra and Perlane act as an inflatable cushion to fill in facial lines and wrinkles and support the structures of the face.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is another way to improve the appearance of wrinkles. Treatment involves removing the outer layer of wrinkled, damaged skin to reveal fresh, healthy skin underneath. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels accomplish the same objective, but with different technology.
If you are concerned about deep wrinkles coupled with other signs of facial aging (e.g., sagging, skin, fat displacement and loss of muscle tone), comprehensive correction in the form of facelift may be your best option.
During facelift, the underlying structures of the face are lifted, fat is redistributed and muscle tone is restored. The skin is re-draped more tightly over the facial structures, which smoothes out wrinkles and facial folds.
Learn More about Wrinkle Reduction Treatments
Don’t let the fear of developing or worsening wrinkles stop you from expressing your happiness with a smile. The Plastic Surgery Group can discuss your wrinkle reduction treatment options during a private consultation. Call us today at (973) 233-1933 to schedule an appointment.