So how can you look your best in a short amount of time? With wrinkle reducers like Botox, fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm, and laser liposuction, it’s not hard to take five or ten years off your appearance with just a few office visits.
When it comes to popular treatments, neurotoxins like Botox are at the top of most patients’ lists. Dr. Christopher Dannaker, a board-certified dermatologist who has offices in Monterey and Beverly Hills, California, said Botox and fillers are the most sought-after treatments in his practice. Botox uses a weakened form of botulism toxin to paralyze small muscles that cause facial wrinkles; the injection of Botox causes these muscles to relax, smoothing out the area.
Because in some patients Botox doesn’t work as well over time, new products have come on the market. Another similar wrinkle-reducer is Dysport; another that has recently been approved by the FDA is Xeomin, Dannaker said.
“Dysport is similar in effect, and the cost is the same as Botox,” said Dannaker.
The effect of Botox and similar drugs lasts about six months; to keep that wrinkle-free look, injections must be done on a regular basis.
Incidentally, Botox is also used in some other unique ways – to curb excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), and to stop uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm). It’s also an effective treatment for migraine headaches, according to Dr. David S. Goldberg, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Monterey.
Fillers, which plump out deep wrinkles and lines, are also experiencing a heyday as the available products have multiplied. Juvéderm and Restylane are two of the best-known ones, but there are numerous others as well, including Perlane, Artifill, and Radiesse. Another method is for a physician to remove fat from one area of the body and to inject it into another as a natural filler. Called fat grafting or fat transfer, this can fill facial wrinkles and plump up the lips, and the effect can last for several years.
The newest use for fillers is to inject them into the cheek area, which can “lift” the face slightly and disguise hollows under the eyes.
Although some years ago fillers were injected without a topical anesthetic, that’s changed, since the injections can smart a little. Now some come premixed with lidocaine, so that the numbing takes place even as the injection is under way.
Most fillers last a year or two; however, some studies have shown that fillers may encourage collagen production, making the need for further injections less necessary. Only one, Artifill, is touted as a permanent filler.
Both Dannaker and Goldberg offer liposuction at their offices. Although liposuction can be used anywhere on the body, it’s quite effective for small areas, such as under the chin, the neck, and for women, the upper chest next to the armpit (what is sometimes called “bra fat” or “bra rolls”). The small size of the instruments allows for contouring and sculpting.
Typically done with a local anesthetic as an in-office procedure, this “liposculpture” has a quicker recovery time than when larger areas of the body are done. Only a tiny incision needs to be made to admit the cannula, the little suction tube. There may be some bruising and swelling for some time following the procedure, and a compression garment must be worn. However, Goldberg said, patients can usually go back to work and resume most normal activities within a day or two.
Whatever you opt for, experts say to look for experienced medical professionals to do the procedures; board-certified physicians are the gold standard. It’s also advised to read up on the procedures you’re interested in, ask questions, and be knowledgeable about them. And, Goldberg notes, the initial consultation should always be done at no charge.