Miami Beach, Fla. — Members of the nation's largest generational population — the "baby boomers," born in the decade immediately following World War II — are reaching the age at which their facial skin has begun to reflect their years. And this generation is not at all reluctant to take advantage of the dermatologic procedures available to slow down, and in some cases reverse, those signs of aging.
"There are 80 million Americans age 50 and older," says David J. Goldberg, M.D., an internationally recognized dermatologist and director of the Skin, Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey. "Looked at another way, every eight seconds, a baby boomer turns 50 — and that creates a huge market of people who are interested in cosmetic dermatologic procedures that help minimize facial signs of aging."
Dr. Goldberg, who also is clinical professor and director of laser research in the Department of Dermatology at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine, provided an overview of these procedures and a look at new developments in a recent seminar, "Non-Ablative Skin Rejuvenation and New Fillers" at the 2005 South Beach Symposium here.
Dr. Goldberg focuses on five key types of skin rejuvenation: collagen formation, skin tightening, skin tones, hyperkinetic muscle tone and filler agents.
Before Radiesse filler treatment of nasolabial folds and 18 months after. Photos: David J. Goldberg, M.D.
In the first category, new technology has given birth to a new concept in collagen formation.
"Laser resurfacing is the time-honored approach to forming new collagen, and it's a very effective procedure," Dr. Goldberg says. "The problem is, laser resurfacing can result in terrible wounds that take a long time to heal."
He says a relatively new concept, fractional photothermolysis, is a more refined laser treatment that rejuvenates skin by means of microscopic sites of thermal impact, as opposed to the larger areas of impact characteristic of standard laser resurfacing.
"With this new technology, there are more spared zones of healthy tissue, and each microthermal wound is only 400 to 700 microns in depth," Dr. Goldberg tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. "The results are quite good with this new technology, and recovery time is faster. Treatment leads to less wrinkling, and brown spots are minimized."
He adds that Reliant Technologies, with its Fraxel SR Laser, currently is the only vendor offering this technology, but that more companies will be coming into the market over the next several years.
In the skin-tightening category, Dr. Goldberg says the ThermaCoolTM TC, is a monopolar radiofrequency (RF) device developed by Thermage. He says that though the deep-heating device is not new, several studies—some of which Dr. Goldberg has conducted—reveal a new, more effective way of applying it.
"What we have found is that three or four passes at lower settings over the treatment area are more effective results-wise and less painful to the patient, as compared with a single pass at a higher setting," he says.
Dr. Goldberg notes two new players that have begun marketing skin-tightening devices in the United States: Syneron, with its Polaris brand, and Cutera, with its Titan.