Cosmetic procedures have mostly shed their bad reputations in the past few years; so today we’re doing our part by discussing some of the most popular cosmetic procedures today, helping you decide if they’re worth the investment.
Botox (Botulinum toxin-A)
Botox, whose proper medical term is Botuninum toxin-A, is, by far, the most popular non-invasive treatment in dermatology. It rose to fame in the late 90s after the FDA approved it for certain cosmetic procedures, and in 2022, 7.4 million people were receiving botox treatments in the U.S. Globally, the market is around $4.4 billion! Botox involves injecting a toxin under the skin, paralyzing the local muscle and preventing movement for a certain time. This will ease “dynamic lines,” AKA: wrinkles caused by moving muscles under the skin. It’s a great solution for either preventative treatment, meaning stopping movements that cause wrinkles before they form, or to help ease fine lines and wrinkles once they have appeared.
There are many reasons someone might get botox. The most common reason cited is aesthetics, as botox helps eliminate wrinkles and creates a youthful, carefree appearance. But there are other applications too:
- Migraine treatment
- Neck spasms
- Cervical dystonia
- Excessive sweating
- And more
In recent years, the term ‘preventative botox’ or ‘baby botox’ has risen in popularity, and is typically done on individuals in their late 20s to early 30s as a proactive measure to delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that come with aging.
Botox’s popularity is likely due to its non-invasive and temporary nature, as well as varied applications. Botox is also quite safe: there can be swelling or bruising at the injection site, but otherwise, under the care of a licensed professional, there are not many adverse reactions to botox.
Is it worth it? Yes, if you want or need botox for medical reasons, but also for aesthetic purposes. If it helps you feel good about yourself, then why not!
The popularity of injectable dermal fillers has skyrocketed in the past ten years, possibly due to the trend in celebrity treatments. Filler treatment works by injecting a gel-like substance (natural or synthetic) into target areas of the face with a cannula or needle. They are injectable substances made of materials such as hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, or poly-L-lactic acid, among others, that plumps the skin from the inside out and works in place of lost fat and proteins to smooth, shape, and define.
It’s common to use fillers to plump lips, shape cheeks, and fill in under eye hollows. The procedure is local and quick, and after swelling goes down after a couple days, you’ll see the final result! The effects of fillers can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the type of filler used and the area treated.
Dermal fillers aren’t for everyone, however. There are potential risks and side effects associated with fillers, such as bruising, swelling, infection, and allergic reactions. Additionally, fillers are not permanent and will need to be repeated periodically to maintain the desired effect, which can be a significant ongoing expense.
Is it worth it? Do your research for a pro you like and trust, and if fillers are deemed safe for you, go for it.
Chemical peels are just what they sound like: a cosmetic procedure where a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the top layer of skin to peel and stimulate the growth of new skin cells.
Chemical peels can be used to treat wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. There are different types of peels depending on how deep the penetration will be.
Superficial peels, also known as light peels, are the mildest type of chemical peel and are typically made with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid or lactic acid. These peels are used to improve the texture and tone of the skin and to treat mild acne and fine lines.
Medium-depth peels, on the other hand, penetrate deeper into the skin and are often made with trichloroacetic acid (TCA). They are used to treat more severe wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone.
Deep peels, also known as phenol peels, are the strongest type of chemical peel and are used to treat deep wrinkles, severe sun damage, and significant scarring. These peels are made with carbolic acid, which can cause significant discomfort during the procedure and require a longer recovery time.
There are requirements for patients intending to undergo a chemical peel, like not being on Accutane for six months and discontinuing any retinol products. Since you’re exposing a new layer of skin to the elements after peeling away the existing layer, you can be risking scarring, skin lightening, skin darkening, infections, and even heart and liver damage for some undergoing the deep peel.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is an option if you're sick of waxing, shaving, and plucking. A laser beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles; when the follicle absorbs the light, it destroys the hair. Lasers are very precise and quick, but by far the biggest factor in laser’s popularity is its permanence: most people experience permanent hair loss at the targeted area after about seven sessions.
There are expected side effects like swelling and tenderness for a few days after treatment; other side effects are very rare when done by a certified dermatologist.
The cost of each session is also relatively low on average, but keep in mind that if you want permanent results, it will take several sessions to see the desired results.
Is it worth it? If you can afford the time and money for multiple sessions, laser hair removal is worth it if you feel certain you want to get rid of your undesired body hair.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally-invasive procedure where a professional will essentially “sand” down the top layer of skin to treat unevenness, scarring, and discoloration. This device typically uses tiny crystals or a diamond-tipped wand to gently exfoliate the skin, while a vacuum suction device removes the dead skin cells and debris.
The treatment usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area, and most people experience little to no discomfort during the procedure. Common side effects include redness and tenderness after treatment. There are very few risks involved in microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist.
Is it worth it? Yes, if you want to treat wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture, or scarring, go for microdermabrasion.
Remember, always talk with your dermatologist about any treatment you’d like to get done. Your trusted doctor can either perform the procedure themselves or recommend someone for you; always be sure to get a doctor’s sign off before you go to make sure you’re being safe and getting the best possible results.