Comparethetreatment.com / April 20, 2017

Cosmetic surgery – how young is too young? And what are THE best anti-ageing tips?

Thanks to social media, the younger generation spend a lot more time looking at images of themselves.

Which means, whether it is on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, there is a tendency to be more critical of or compare their pictures to friends – and, in particular, celebrities.

Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme is the medical director at Adonia Medical Clinic in London.

She says: ‘When carrying out a consultation on younger patients, it is important to understand their motivations behind wanting the treatment and appropriately set their expectations.

During this time, we discuss their face as a whole, rather than focus on any one feature. Doing this during the consultation will avoid one of the greatest pitfalls of treating younger patients – mismatch between what the aesthetic professional thinks is appropriate and what the young patient would like.’

Most aesthetic doctors and surgeons agree that it is not appropriate to treat patients under the age of 18, with many refusing treat patients under the age of 21 and some even raising their age limit to as high as 25. However, there are exceptions.

Dr Ejikeme explains: ‘I have reviewed patients who are 23, who look closer to 35 due to a combination of their inherent genetics as well as environmental factors. An example of this would be a Fitzpatrick type 1 patient (light hair light eyes) who grew up in sub-Saharan Africa and now has significant premature rhytids and pigmentation. It would be unkind and unfair to ask this person to wait till they are 25 before accessing help for their skin.

‘The reverse of this is a 19 year old with small delicate features who has seen a popular young celebrity with large lips and would like the same. This may be entirely inappropriate as it would throw her face out of balance and lead to a result she would be less than happy with.

‘Therefore, as with all aspects of medicine, several factors need to be considered when considering the age of a patient. These include their motivations, their mental state and their clinical health.’

She says she would generally advise caution against more invasive treatments for those of us under the age of 21 and, instead suggests the more suitable option of good skin practices, the use of sunscreen and good skincare.

She says: ‘One of the greatest benefits to seeing young patients is education as prevention is usually better than a cure. Whenever I see a young patient, I have a unique opportunity to educate them on safe skin practices, such as the use of antioxidants and sunscreen. In the right patient, with a strong family history of premature rhytids and evidence of early rhytids, the use of early Botulinum toxin can be helpful, but this should only be used when there is a clear indication.’

So, would she recommend non-surgical treatments before surgical?

‘In my practice, there are certain areas of the face that initial non-surgical can be very helpful. Two areas are the nose and the chin. Having a non-surgical nose or chin procedure can lead to dramatic results and can significantly affect the face. Having a non-surgical procedure first gives younger patients the opportunity to see if that is a look they would like for the rest of their life.

Best 3 treatments for younger skin

For young patients, treatments should be focused on attaining and maintaining clear skin.

  1. Prevent blemishes, pigmentation and shrink large pores with good skincare
  2. Smooth the skin with chemical peels and micro needling to brighten the skin
  3. Prevent free radical damage with the use of effective antioxidants and physical sunscreens.

Best preventative anti-ageing measures

Dr Ejikeme says: ‘Prevention is usually better than any cure and knowledge is power.

Patients should be aware of their family history when it comes to ageing:

  • Does their father have very strong lines in the forehead?

Did all their maternal uncles lose their hair prematurely?

Does a family member have large veins in their legs, which came on after pregnancy?

  1. A young patient with all this information can share this with their aesthetic doctor who can offer early recommendations on how to reduce their risk of ageing prematurely.
  2. Start antioxidants early. Free radicles on the skin ultimately lead to many of the signs of ageing. Antioxidants are a power force in neutralising these free radicals. Add this to your skincare routine to reduce this ageing factor.
  3. Wearing some form of sunscreen all year round is a vital step in maintaining youthful skin. Remember on a cold, cloudy day we are still exposed to UVA, which causes deep changes to the skin leading to ageing. I recommend factor 30 in the winter and factor 50 during summer months.
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