Anti-Aging Skin Treatments That May Work

You may be able to turn back the hands of time's impact on your skin, after all.

Research done at the University of Michigan indicates that three types of wrinkle treatments are actually effective, in varying degrees.

The study "showed that these treatments will stimulate collagen production," Dr. Diane Berson, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell-New York Presbyterian Hospital, explained on The Early Show Wednesday. "Collagen ... basically gives strength and support to the skin. ... It makes the skin supple and elastic. With age, you produce less collagen, and the collagen that you have becomes destroyed, and of course this is accelerated with chronic exposure to the sun."

The study, which appeared in the Archives of Dermatology, looked at injectible fillers containing hyaluronic acid, among other treatments. That acid, Berson says, is normally found in the skin. It retains fluid, hence "plumping up" the skin. The study also says the acid fillers seem to stimulate some collagen production. Both results can improve your appearance. This treatment involves a few visits to the office, about two-to-three times a year, and can cost $600-1000, total. Examples of such fillers are Juvederm and Restylane.

Another apparently effective treatment class, Berson says, is prescription-strength retanoids, such as Renova and Tazarac. These also seem to improve the appearance of "photo-damaged" skin -- skin damaged by the sun, as well as early fine lines and wrinkles. Dermatologists have observed, she says, that regular use of prescription-potent retanoids can spur some collagen production.

Also, she says, over-the-counter retanol creams have the ability to do prompt some retanol production and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, but again, not as much as prescription-strength items do. They're the least expensive way to go.

Finally, there was carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. That destroys the skin's outer later, prompting the skin to produce collagen to heal the wound. But patients should know there's more downtime involved. It could take a couple of weeks to recover and the cost could run into the thousands,

For much more on this topic, click here to read a New York Times piece on it.