As we age, many of us develop wrinkles on our cheeks. These are usually fine wrinkles, and there are a few ways to treat them.
One way to treat them is by filling them. A filler is placed directly into the wrinkles to plump them up. I like to use a product called Belotero. It is a hyaluronic acid based filler like Juvederm and Restylane, but it is better for filling fine lines because it can be placed very superficially with minimal risk of leaving bumps.
In our office, the process works by coming in about 30 minutes before your treatment so numbing cream can be applied. Immediately before treatment, the numbing cream is removed, and then the filler is injected. It is possible to have small pinpoint marks and areas of mild redness after treatment, but it is very unlikely to get a bruise.
Results are usually very nice. The downsides of this approach that results are temporary lasting 6 – 8 months and that it is impossible to fill every single fine line.
The other way to treat cheek lines is with the CO2 fractional resurfacing laser. This laser works by zapping tiny channels in the skin. These channels trigger a healing response, and the skin repairs itself in a smoother way with fewer wrinkles.
Like fillers, this process starts with numbing cream. Once the skin is numbed, the cream is removed, and the treatment takes place.
Afterward, the skin is red with small scabs. The main limitation of this treatment is that it takes 5-7 days to recover, and most people would feel uncomfortable being in public during that time.
However, the results from fractional resurfacing are long-lasting.
We usually get the best results by using both laser treatments and fillers. We start with lasers and enhance with fillers.
Many patients ask about chemical peels. In my experience, deep chemical peels can help very fine lines; however, they only help the very fine lines. The peel needs to be deep, so there is about a week of downtime. For the same amount of downtime, I find fractional resurfacing more effective for cheek wrinkles. Peels may be more effective than than the fractional laser for removing discoloration. If a peel is being used to even skin tone, it would be an added benefit if fine lines were treated, but I would usually choose laser resurfacing specifically to treat wrinkles.