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The Dermies: Boyhood

The Dermies: Boyhood

By Dr. Joel Schlessinger

Probably the most interesting of all the movies I saw this awards' season was Boyhood. Not only does it have a compelling premise around the growth and development of the main character over 11 years, but it shows the aging of the other characters over the same period.

My career as a dermatologist puts me in a position to stall the effects of aging in many of my patients who desire services such as Botox, fillers, lasers and more. While we see aging in this movie in the mother and father (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke), do they seem to age normally or are they doing their best to stop the clock?

My thoughts are that Hawke is not doing anything to stall the effects of aging, whereas Arquette is almost certainly undergoing treatments such as fillers and neurotoxins. The changes on Hawke's face are significant but due to normal activities like frowning. Similar to a piece of paper that is folded hundreds of times will ultimately retain a crease, the human face will also respond to repeated activities over time.

Hawke develops a crease in the middle of his forehead (glabella) over the course of the movie. Presently, he is 44 years old and shows definite signs of aging, perhaps more than his chronological age should show. With some very simple interventions, he could regain his youthful appearance. For example, just a little Botox or Dysport and filler, such as Restylane or Juvederm, could improve the mid-forehead crease. And he also seems to be a little gaunt, which could easily be improved with fillers such as Voluma in the mid-cheek area.

Lastly, EltaMD sunscreen would help with the Hawke’s noticeable sun damage. Being raised in Texas, Hawke most likely experienced quite a bit of sun growing up and this hasn't helped him. It takes about 20 years for the effects of sun exposure to show up. We are now just seeing the results of sun exposure in his 20's, so it may be rough over the next few years if he hasn't ever protected himself. Additionally, if he is a smoker, smoking could complicate matters by contributing to premature aging.

As for Arquette, it seems she has done everything she can to keep her skin healthy. Her complexion is alabaster throughout the majority of the film and that is going to help prolong the excellent appearance of her skin and keep her looking youthful. It does appear that she is probably no stranger to the dermatologist, as she appears to have some fillers in her cheeks and minimal, if any, developing frown lines.

While many actresses let their wrinkles show up when they appear in movies lest they look 'done', my guess is that she is being treated with neurotoxins such as Botox, as she has little or no signs of aging. She does have some wrinkles around her eyes, which are also treatable with Botox, but they are very minimal. In short, Arquette is doing the sorts of things that will continue to keep her looking good for many years and as long as she stays out of the sun and doesn't go overboard with treatments (something which is important and rests not only in her hands, but in the hands of her dermatologist), she will do just fine.

Whether or not the lack or presence of cosmetic surgery among the 'parental' cast of Boyhood will influence the award's season decisions is not something I can say, but the fact that neither headliner in this movie did anything too drastic to their faces during the time of the shoot was helpful in portraying a relatively realistic aging sequence.

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