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Health and Fitness

Anti-Aging and
The 21st Century

Dr. Raj Chopra We recently sat down with Raj Chopra, M.D., F.A.C.S., board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Beverly Hills, CA, to ask him about the best anti-aging treatments and why spring and summer are the perfect times to switch-up from your current anti-aging regimen that may not be working anymore. From the 10-year anniversary of BOTOX® Cosmetic to the most popular minimally-invasive treatments, Dr. Chopra shares his skin care and eyelash secrets.

What are the most common procedures in your practice?

My patients are most interested in minimally invasive enhancements and the most popular treatments I perform are: 1) JUVÉDERM® to subtly "fill in" the lines and add volume to the parentheses (the lines around the nose and mouth in the lower part of the face); 2) BOTOX® Cosmetic to temporarily improve the look of the moderate to severe vertical frown lines between the eyebrows; and 3) fractional laser treatments to soften fine lines and reduce sun damage. What my patients really like about JUVÉDERM® is that it is the only hyaluronic acid dermal filler on the market FDA approved to last up to one year with just one treatment and contains lidocaine which gently numbs the skin for a more comfortable injection experience. JUVÉDERM® is a smooth-consistency gel containing hyaluronic acid that flows easily into the skin and provides a smooth, natural look and feel that my patients appreciate.

Before and After Photos

What can people do to treat the laugh lines that develop as they age?

Many people develop smile or parentheses lines around their nose and mouth as they age due to loss of volume. Your skin contains collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which provides volume and structure to the skin. As you age, you produce less collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, and the result is unwanted facial wrinkles and folds. JUVÉDERM® dermal filler contains hyaluronic acid - this is a naturally occurring substance in the body and it is responsible for creating volume in the skin. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind 1,000 times its weight with water, which is what makes it effective at creating volume. Since you lose volume in your skin, a dermal filler like JUVÉDERM® is a way to restore that lost volume. JUVÉDERM® is the number one selling dermal filler in the United States and approved to treat nasolabial folds or parenthesis, chin wrinkles, oral commissures, marionette lines and vertical lip lines. Plus, studies with JUVÉDERM® among persons of color showed no increased risk of hyperpigmentation or hypertrophic scarring, which is important to my practice where I have wonderful patients with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

It seems at a certain point over the counter lotions and potions stop working, why is that and what can people do about it?

This is an interesting question. What I try to emphasize to my patients is that your medicine cabinet needs to mature with you. As time goes on, people need to re-evaluate the types of products they are using with their aesthetic specialty physician to determine whether they will work for their skin as they age and if minimally-invasive physician administered treatments are something they should start to consider. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for people to clean out their medicine cabinets and switch up to make them more "age appropriate."

Before and After Photos

Another thing I've seen in my practice is that many of my patients over the age of 35 are beginning to notice changes in their eyelashes, such as their lashes becoming thinner, lighter or shorter over time. In fact, medical journals have suggested that there may be a link between thinning of eyelashes and aging. For these patients, I prescribe LATISSE® -- the only product approved by the U.S. FDA to treat inadequate or not enough lashes. My patients have had great results growing their own lashes longer, fuller and darker with the product.

A lot of people seem to spend more on skin care products than on their 401K, do you think it's better to save or splurge on your skin care regimen?

I certainly hope that is an exaggeration! I counsel my patients to examine the ingredients in the products they are using, more so than the amount of money they are spending. It isn't necessary to spend an exorbitant amount of money on your skin care products as long as you are using products that are appropriate for your skin type.

For all patients, I recommend they apply sun block with an SPF of 30 or higher daily, especially in Los Angeles where we have sunny days year-round.

I see many patients in their 30s and 40s for BOTOX® Cosmetic, laser and dermal filler treatments. In addition to these treatments, I also recommend patients take care of their skin by: using a customized skin care regimen, proper sun protection, and by avoiding smoking.

How has the aesthetic industry changed over the past 10 years?

It has changed quite a bit. I'd have to say that one of the biggest influences on the industry was the U.S. FDA approval of BOTOX® Cosmetic in 2002, which gave patients an effective option to treat the appearance of moderate to severe vertical frown lines with a minimally-invasive procedure with limited downtime.

Over the past 10 years, I think more people are interested in minimally-invasive treatments that are offered by physicians. Even five years ago, the most common procedures I performed were surgical, such as facelifts and eye lifts, and today, the top treatments I administer include aesthetic injectables, such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM®. These non-surgical procedures are very popular since they offer great aesthetic benefit in a simple office visit.

As aesthetic treatments have become more popular, I have also seen a shift in the profile of the typical patient. While here in Los Angeles, we still see a fair share of celebrities, more and more we are treating patients who are not celebrities. The "typical" patient today is a working woman, in her early 40s.

For more information on minimally invasive physician administered aesthetic treatments:

For more information on treatment for inadequate or not enough lashes:

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