Many have heard of free radicals. These are basically loose electrons as a result of oxidation (the process of burning oxygen). 

Every living person and animal burns oxygen to create cellular heat, which is converted to energy for everything from thinking to muscle movement. 

But, oxidation has a downside and that is the formation of free radicals. When a banana or an apple turns brown, or when seafood smells fishy, or metal corrodes, that is oxidation. So, when we age, our bodies are rusting! How can we diminish this process? 

The obvious answer is to reduce free radicals (excess sun exposure, smoking, etc.) and eat more antioxidants. The ultimate way would be to consume plant-based food, especially with a variety of colors, which is where antioxidants come from. 

The question then may be, “But where would we get our protein?” Protein comes from plants. Horses, elephants and giraffes eat only plants.

How can we treat the results of oxidation, e.g., aging, wrinkles, sagging skin, brown spots, etc.? 

The recent higher technology is voluminous. The latest lasers can treat unwanted hair with zero discomfort. Brown spots, large pores, abnormal pigmentation, spider veins, lower eyelid bags, sagging skin and more can also be treated with much less discomfort and recovery time. This includes the wrinkles around the mouth, which everyone despises. 

Fillers have been used for years for re-volumizing lost volume mostly in the face, such as the cheeks, under the lower eyelids, and even cellulite on the legs and buttocks. 

Now there is a product that stimulates the production of a patient’s own fat to replace lost fat that occurs with aging. It is felt that this fat will last five years or more, and it can be used virtually anywhere, such as acne scars, the face, hands, cellulite, and most other areas.

New technology enables the treatment of sun-damaged skin of the arms or neck with advanced radiofrequency microneedling, such as the versatile Virtue RF. 

Both Smooth and Lifting PDO threads can be used to increase production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which rejuvenates the skin while also lifting sagging skin. It might be necessary to combine treatments with fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, etc.) or the previously mentioned fat-increasing product for the maximum result to the face and body.

For fat reduction, liposuction is still the most effective, and there is nothing like removing fat once and for all. This usually can be done under local anesthesia. Often it requires skin tightening also, which can be done with radiofrequency, such as the Renuvion, performed at the same time.

Often combination therapy is used for the best results. Repeat treatments are needed as we continue along the anti-aging road, as well as the mentioned healthful diets and avoidance of environmental hazards. 

These anti-aging technologies work every time, but, if we are lucky, we will continue aging chronologically.

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton.