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Patient Buzz: Collagen Banking for Anti-Aging

HuffPost recently published an article on collagen banking, which included some debate among dermatologists for and against prejuvenation. Should dermatologists perform cosmetic procedures on younger patients as a way of staving off the signs of aging?

For an expert opinion, I consulted Maritza Perez, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Dr. Perez is in private practice in New Canaan, Conn.

Is there any research to support collagen banking or prejuventation?

Research conducted by dermatologist Alexa Boer Kimball, MD, MPH, looked at aging by decade and ethnicity. While there are commonalities of the aging process in all ethnicities, there are differences as well. Knowing those differences mean we can preventatively address the signs of aging through a tailored approach for each patient.

I am a vivid image of intervention. I have been undergoing Botox, fillers and lasers since my 36th birthday, and I don’t have a single wrinkle. I am 62, but look like I’m 40.

Should dermatologists consider a person’s ethnicity when recommending anti-aging procedures?

Absolutely. Knowing how a patient will likely age based on their ethnicity impacts the approach I take. I often start Botox and fillers earlier in Caucasians, followed by Hispanics and Asians. I don’t consider Botox until much later for African Americans.

Elastosis is also strongly influenced by genetics. Histologically, Caucasians in their 50s start developing elastosis on exposed areas. Hispanics and Chinese develop it in the sun exposed areas one decade later, while African Americans never develop elastosis.

One commonality is the impact of lifestyle on a person’s skin, so my lifestyle recommendations are the same regardless of a person’s age or ethnicity. Wear sun protection, moisturize, exercise and avoid smoking. Live a healthy lifestyle. We always think those who look younger are healthier and it’s now proven molecularly.

What about mixed race patients?

Thanks to genetic testing, patients are more aware of their genetic background. Taking a family history is always helpful, too. If we know a patient’s parents were diagnosed with melasma or skin cancer, we have a window into what skin issues that patient may develop.

How should dermatologists counsel young patients who request anti-aging treatments?

Now that we are discovering the mechanisms of skin aging, we should embrace this knowledge and utilize it to our advantage. We should start preventing aging in our young patients and have the next generation of youthful looking people.

Read this interview with Dr. Perez for more of information about the study’s findings.

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