Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought that you were looking at an older relative? Or looked at a picture of yourself and been surprised to see the lines around your eyes? In all likelihood, very few men and women north of thirty can answer no to those questions.
As the new year commences, many people opt to make changes in their lives. Non-surgical cosmetic procedures often pick up early in the new year, as people find themselves longing for a fresher, more youthful appearance.
Shawna Jones-Lance is an esthetician at Integrative Medical Solutions (IMS) in Edmond. After working in corporate America for many years, she became so tired of the stress and the long hours. “I knew I needed to do something different, and I had experience in the skin care industry, I decided to go back to school to become an esthetician, because I wanted to help people look and feel better.” She handles many of the in-office procedures at IMS, such as microdermabrasion treatments, galvanic treatments, chemical peels and non-surgical facelifts. The practice also offers clinical treatments such as vein therapy, Botox and injectable dermal fillers.
Microdermabrasion and galvanic therapy are the gentlest of these cosmetic treatments. Microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliation that removes the outermost layers of skin cells. “Microdermabrasion is simple, painless and non-invasive. There is little or no recovery time involved, and it’s gentle enough that patients can have a treatment once a month,” explains Lance. Since human skin typically regenerates every 30 days, improvements are temporary. “I tell my patients to think of it like sandpaper.” The treatment minimizes hyperpigmentation and sun damage. It may diminish the appearance of fine lines, acne and minor scarring.
Galvanic therapy is a common choice for patients who have problems with recurrent acne. “Weather changes can cause acne to flare up, but in many cases, especially breakouts that occur around the chin and jaw line, these flare-ups are hormone-related. The galvanic treatment kills off bacteria under the surface of the skin to diminish these breakouts,” says Lance. Galvanic treatments use low electric currents, which are passed through the skin and have a cleansing and nourishing effect. Like microdermabrasion, galvanic skin therapy requires little or no down time.
Chemical peels take cosmetic treatments to the next level, and depending on the depth of the peel, require anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks of recovery time. “The peels we do here are very light and require very little downtime for most patients.” During this procedure, the skin is cleaned and prepped, and the chemical—usually a glycolic acid compound—is applied to the surface of the skin and left for several minutes before being wiped off. Some patients experience mild burning or discomfort while the chemical compound is applied, but this discomfort typically subsides soon after the compound is removed and the acid is neutralized with water. These light or superficial peels heal quickly, and most people can resume their normal activities immediately. The skin may turn pink, and peeling is minimal. Makeup can usually hide any redness. Deeper peels are often done by a dermatologist, and require more recovery time. After the peeling phase, patients will see an improvement in pigment changes, mild sun damage, acne scarring, and fine wrinkles.
For more dramatic results that are still relatively non-invasive, many patients are opting for a multi-step procedure known as a non-surgical facelift. This three-step process is done over a six-week period, and is a combination of light chemical peels, enzyme peels and firming masks. “This treatment is really popular, because there is minimal discomfort and downtime while giving patients improved skin texture, color, and tightness, and a decrease in pore size as well as the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” explains Jones. The first treatment consists of a chemical peel, which removes 12–16 microlayers of skin. The second step is an enzyme treatment, which removes another two to three microlayers. Finally, the firming mask produces maximum firming benefits, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.” A clinician will help to determine which types of treatments will be most effective.
Finally, the more invasive non-surgical procedures such as Botox and injectable dermal fillers offer marked results relatively quickly, which last anywhere from a few months up to a year, depending on the type of treatment and the area being treated. Dermal and soft tissue fillers restore volume to the face by filling out deep lines such as nasolabial folds. Collagen injections typically last three to six months. A newer class of dermal fillers use hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural substance found in the human body. HA works by binding water molecules together in surrounding areas, forming a cushion and pulling water to the surface of the skin to keep it looking soft and supple. These type of fillers last anywhere from a few months up to a year, as HA is eventually absorbed by the body.
Botox cosmetic is a neuromuscular toxin, and it is appropriate for mild-to-moderate age lines and wrinkles. The medication is injected into the muscle causing the wrinkle, which is temporarily weakened or paralyzed, diminishing the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles and preventing further damage.
Edmond mom of three and business owner Amanda has been getting regular Botox treatments over the course of the past year. “I usually get about 60 units distributed between and around my eyes and in my forehead. I love it because it makes you look well-rested and refreshed. It takes several years off within a couple of days of receiving the injections.”
Is It Right For You?
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures have become an increasingly popular way to get a fresher, more youthful appearance in very little time. If you’ve been considering a cosmetic treatment, your healthcare provider can help to determine whether one of these procedures may be right for you.
Our Readers Respond
We asked our readers if they have used or would consider using non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Here are just a few responses we received:
- NO! … I love every wrinkle and crinkle because they show I have lived life to the fullest! ~Karen M.
- Yes, yes and yes! Non-invasive ways to perk up my face are welcome. ~June C.
- I’m not against it, but I personally wouldn’t pay for it unless I had a severe case of acne scarring, severe crows feet, etc. Natural aging doesn’t bother me!” ~Samantha P.
Visit www.facebook.com/metrofamily for more opportunities to weigh in.
Shannon Fields is a freelance writer from Edmond and a Certified Pharmacy Technician at Innovative Pharmacy Solutions.