Looking for a smoother skin and a more youthful you? Believe it or not, even when the economic indicators have been a bit sluggish, that has done nothing to slow down the rate of plastic surgeries. Granted, the least invasive procedures are the ones that people are most likely to opt for these days, because they’re less painful and today’s technology yields really good results.
The use of various methods to resurface our faces has increased about 9 percent. That compares with a 5 percent increase in all plastic surgery procedures. It means that even in bad times, we need to put a good face on things. Here are five favorite fixes:
Microdermabrasion wears away only the very top layer of cells, and it has evolved over the years from use of crystals to rocks and shells.
Since actual dermabrasion, which is much more painful and invasive than microdermabrasion, only goes 15-25 micrometers deep, it cannot remove deep wrinkles, and so the consumer has to beware that microdermabrasion really only smooths the skin surface and makes it more amenable to the use of lotions and skin serums.
Your doctor might tell you that microdermabrasion only costs about $100, but keep in mind you’ll need 6-10 treatments, plus you’ll have to pay for gels or serum used in tandem with the treatment itself.
2. Botulinum Toxin A.
Yes, this sounds like a deadly food poisoning threat, but it’s really the scientific term for Botox. The discovery of Botox began during World War II with an American doctor who was searching for an agent that would paralyze enemies. He was never able to create a weapon from the botulinum toxin—which is reportedly 250,000 times as deadly as a cobra’s venom—but he then turned his focus toward developing something to help people suffering from various disorders that cause facial muscle spasms.
Today, plastic surgeons inject Botox into our facial muscles to paralyze the skin and thus prevent wrinkles. It lasts usually as little as 4 months but up to 6 months. The cost? Expect to pay between $125 and $400 per injection, and remember that you’ll need 2 to 3 injections for each site per year. By the way, while most insurances won’t pay for cosmetic procedures, Botox is approved to treat migraines. Although it’s true that some migraines begin around the forehead and eyes, you can’t be certain that going to a plastic surgeon for migraines will result in wrinkle elimination. Talk to your doctor!
Another odd-sounding word, this is the technical term for rejuvenating either or both of the eyelids—upper or lower, giving you a more rested and youthful appearance. The plastic surgeon can remove excess fatty deposits that accumulate around the eyelids over the years, and he can tighten up the loose or sagging folds of skin that hover over the eye.
Beneath the eye, the procedure helps to correct droopy tissue so that the white of the eye shows clearly below the iris, the way you see in youngsters; it also involves removal of those puffy pads just beneath the eyes. Doctors do not like to operate on people with dry eye, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, or those who smoke. The cost? Expect an average of $2,500 per lid—per upper eyelid or lower eyelid, that is. That means getting both lids on both eyes means $10,000. Now that’s a real eye opener!
4. Dermal Fillers.
Now, this is something you can get done on your lunch hour—and unlike microdermabrasion, this will fill those stubborn wrinkles and deep lines you can’t otherwise hide. Many dermal fillers specifically address the so-called marionette lines that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth. Just what is it that your plastic surgeon uses to fill your wrinkles? Why, nothing more than your own good belly fat!
The surgeon extracts tiny amounts of fat from your tummy, or even from the inside of the thighs if necessary, and injects into the marionette lines, into the so-called 11 lines between your eyes, or even along the lips to plump them up and get rid of those tell-tale aging lines. He can also use other prepared biological materials such as hyaluronic acid or collagen. Restylane is a brand-name dermal filler that lasts much longer than collagen, although it’s a little more expensive. Expect to pay $400 per syringe of collagen or up to $800 per syringe of Restylane, and the doctor will need from one-half to several syringes per treatment, about twice a year.
5. Chemical Peel.
What if you have some rough spots, fine lines, some enlarged pores, a smattering of freckles, or even a few scars? The chemical peel provides what you need, but beware that it will not remove deep wrinkles or dark freckles, nor will it boost sagging skin. The plastic surgeon can apply a substance like glycolic acid to the entire face, and after about 15 minutes he will begin to peel off the top layers of skin. This is one of the less expensive procedures, even though it’s a little less dramatic as well. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $600 per treatment, and some doctors will arrange a yearly regimen for you that costs only a little bit more.
Is plastic surgery in your future? With many doctors offering flexible financing options, you’ll find that 41 percent of women who sought treatment—the largest group—came from households with an income ranging from just $31,000 to $60,000. Some of the less expensive procedures provide very good results these days. Just be certain that you choose someone based on reputation and certification, and don’t be persuaded by someone just because he offers bargain-basement prices.
Read More About It!
American Board of Plastic Surgeons, Cosmetic Procedures, at http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures.html
Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery, at http://www.yourplasticsurgeryguide.com/