What Could the Future Hold?
Cosmetic dermatology has come a long way in the centuries since Cleopatra took baths in sour milk (a very early chemical peel). While cosmetic dermatology has been around for thousands of years, the last few decades have seen dramatic advancements in the techniques and materials used to enhance the appearance of the face. And the field is growing fast, with the number of cosmetic dermatology procedures performed more than tripling since 1997.
With so much interest in cosmetic dermatology, scientists and dermatologists are working to improve it even further. What could the future hold? Here are a few of the innovations now coming down the pipeline.
Radio Wave Resurfacing
Radiofrequency technologies are an exciting new development in cosmetic dermatology. The slow breakdown of collagen over time, which occurs due to sun exposure, toxins, gravity, and simply the natural aging process, leads to the signs of aging in the skin, including wrinkles and sagging. Currently, people who want to reduce the visible effects of this process can inject collagen or other materials, or choose a facelift or other surgical method to tighten the skin, but the regrowth of collagen is difficult.
Enter radiofrequency technology. Radio waves directed at the skin at certain frequencies and intensities can stimulate changes in the body’s production of collagen. Not only can more collagen be produced, but the collagen is also organized better, bound together in tighter bundles. This means that the skin will appear tighter, with fewer wrinkles; scars can also be reduced in size. While this technology has only recently entered cosmetic dermatology from its origins in other areas of medicine (where the technology is used to improve wound healing), it’s poised to take off in a huge way.
Yeah, face creams claiming to reduce wrinkles have been around forever. Some of them might be a little bit useful, but in the end, cosmetic dermatology and facial plastic surgery are the methods that really help people look younger, not those pricey creams that fail to live up to the hype.
Scientists are working to change that, however. A certain amino acid derivative has been found in clinical trials to increase the thickness of skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. While these types of treatments have a long way to go before they can replace the current cosmetic dermatology treatments like botox and dermal fillers, the promise of future developments like these is exciting.
The use of materials (whether injected or surgically implanted) is limited by the tendency of many materials to cause inflammation or to induce scarring. Human materials (such as human fat and human skin) do not have these problems; however, when body parts from one person are transferred to another person, the receiving person’s immune system usually sees the transferred parts as potential invaders and destroys them. If a person’s own fat or skin could be grown in a lab to be transferred into their body, then all of these problems could be avoided.
Scientists have been working on this idea for decades, ever since the discovery of stem cells, which are cells that can become any type of cell. They’re getting closer and closer to being able to grow human tissues from stem cells in a laboratory setting. An exciting discovery was made of stem cells in human fat, which can be induced to grow into new fat cells or some other types of cells. Rather than inject collagen or other substances, the patient’s own fat could be grown and injected to fill wrinkles and other defects in the skin. This would be extremely safe, and would avoid some of the current problems with dermal injections.
The Future is Bright!
The innovations coming down the pipeline in the field of cosmetic dermatology are exciting. And the present is exciting too. You have many great options for changing the look of your face. Whether you’re looking to hide a scar (or many of them), reduce the signs of aging, or simply get more vibrant skin, cosmetic dermatology can help you. So there’s no need to wait — go ahead and explore your options!