There comes a point in our lives where, all of a sudden, we begin to notice signs of aging, whether that be a wrinkle in the forehead or a few extra sunspots on the chest. While it’s evident that physically rewinding the clock on aging is impossible, Spokane, WA dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, MD says what is possible is looking younger than you really are, and the trick of the trade is known as prejuvenation.
What is prejuvenation?
I remember probably 25 years ago, I had a conversation with colleagues discussing millennials as we joked about what we called the ‘pig and the python’ analogy, meaning the large lump of the population who was getting Botox Cosmetic, also known as boomers. As the pig and the python continued to move through life and onto their next phase, they aged out of the game. What came behind them were gen Xers, who were aging in front of the millennials but behind the boomers. Fast forward to 2021, millennials are about the same age the boomers were when they started getting Botox Cosmetic, and many of them are seeking what we now call prejuvenation.
When people are in the later half of their twenties and early thirties, they begin to think about the concept of aging, and it naturally follows that prejuvenation services enter the millennial lexicon. The term prejuvenation is the concept of preventing the onset of the (dreaded) aging appearance and fending off the first line or wrinkle—kind of like preventing the first grey hair. The idea is to minimize the risk that you’ll notice your first wrinkle, just like minimizing the risk that you’ll notice your first grey hair. Prejuvenation is used to stay a step ahead of the aging game instead of waiting until aging becomes noticeable, at which time we engage rejuvenation.
Does prejuvenation only pertain to people in their twenties?
It can actually start in your teen or adolescent years (gen D or Z)—before people feel like they need to engage in facial-enhancement service— and span into your mid-to-late twenties and even into your early thirties.
What kinds of services does prejuvenation entail?
Prejuvenation can be something as simple as educating a highschool or college student about the benefits of sunscreen and retinol or teaching them good skin-care practices. With every adolescent patient that I see, I always close the visit with ‘remember, you need to use sunscreen, which will prevent aging. I cut out skin cancers all day long and I don’t want to have to cut them out on your face.’ This gets their attention. This is another way of spinning the word prejuvination—it’s a way to reach out and talk to a younger audience. Although younger people aren’t experiencing signs of aging first hand, we’re all on a one-way trip through life, and we’re all going to visibly age if we are lucky to live long enough.
On the other hand, prejuvenation can entail lip defining augmentations, a tiny squirt of your favorite neurotoxin (Botox Cosmetic, Xeomin or Dysport) into the forehead or between the eyebrows, getting a little filler over the brow to lift and shape. It’s about skin brightening procedures, laser hair removal, facials, microdermabrasion, skin toning with microneedling, acne management, even regenerative aesthetic procedures such as PRP treatments (sometimes referred to as the vampire style procedures), stem cell injections, and the list goes on and on. Essentially, it is in the same list as enhancement, rejuvenation and restoration procedures, only on a smaller, less invasive and lighter scale. It requires less downtime as well.
Are there other phases of facial enhancement aside from prejuvenation?
Yes, there are three other phases. One of the other phases is called enhancement, which falls into the category of bigger lips, bigger breasts, liposuction and rhinoplasty—basically you’re tinkering with the formula in which your parents made you, and you’re trying to look better than how you were made. Then, there’s rejuvenation, which is trying to look as young as you feel. This is for the type of person who has been eating healthy, exercising, not smoking and paying close attention to their appearance, but they’re just shy of looking their absolute best and youngest self, usually in a particular and discrete area(s). The age range for rejuvenation procedures is typically anywhere from mid-thirties to mid-fifties, sometimes this is referred to as the ‘youth corridor;’ those 20-plus years where age related changes can be held at bay. Lastly, there’s the restoration phase. Generally, when you think about the word restore, you think about repair. So, restoration is trying to look as good as you can for your age and circumstance. Whether it’s repair of sun damage, lifestyle, smoking or poor diet, these are people that come in (they’re usually in their fifties to seventies) who have a desire to look as good as they can for their age. They accept that the flower of youth is fading, however they know that modern medicine, skin care and treatments can offer significant improvement—and they want it!