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The Botox Generation: Skin Maintenance and Cosmetic Surgery in Your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s

By Julie Burton

Let's face it, women spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about how they look, and many-a-woman's day can be ruined if she can't button her jeans, or the scale shows an additional pound or two. Many moms want the breasts back that they had in their early 20s before they breastfed their babies, or are seriously bothered by the lines on their forehead and around their eyes. (My son once told me I had tracks on my forehead, and I told him that I've earned each and every one of those wrinkles.) Or, how about the "tire" around the belly that many women acquire during pregnancy, and no matter how many crunches they do, it will not go away? Yes ladies - age, motherhood, stress and gravity certainly take a toll on our bodies.

Many women, like myself (although I never say "never"), accept that we are starting to look more like our mothers (love ya, mom), and choose to simply work with what we've got. Other women opt for some "outside assistance" to keep their bodies looking young and perky. How you deal with your changing body is a very personal choice, and a choice that only you can make. Whatever that choice may be, it is essential to keep in mind that feeling good starts from nurturing your insides, and by eating well and staying active. As Dermatologist and plastic surgeon, Dr. Scott Ross of the Mpls. Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery (www.mplslaser.com) and the Skin Klinic of Edina, will tell potential clients, "Plastic surgery will not cure depression or low self esteem." So, as you read through the options that are available to women in an effort slow down the aging clock, keep in mind that loving and accepting your changing body, is also a fantastic option!

For a personalized assessment of your skin, Dr. Ross and his staff at the SkinKlinic of Edina (612) 920-7546, offer clients a computerized skin analysis, which compares eight parameters of their skin to 3,000 age-related women, and makes recommendations for skin care regimens or treatments. Furthermore, Dr. Ross gives the following recommendations for preventative skin care, and explains what many women are doing cosmetic surgery-wise at various ages to fend off wrinkles, sagging and the "f" word (the one that ends with "at.").

Women in Your 20's

Start now! For your skin, using preventative products like Cosmeceuticals (cosmetics with pharmaceutical potential) like Dermatologica, Skinceuticals, Obagi and Glymed will change the cellular structure of your skin, which results in more collagen deposition. This collagen deposition is important, as wrinkles are caused by the breakdown and loss of collagen from sun exposure and aging.

Furthermore, Retinoids (skin care products that contain Retin A) which used to be more popular in treating acne, are now being used for wrinkle prevention as well. Tazorac is one such popular and effective product.

The most common "procedures" that women in their 20's undergo are laser hair removal, breast augmentations, liposuction and Lipo-Dissolve.

Women in Your 30's

In addition to the above-mentioned procedures, women in their 30's are starting to look at Botox, for forhead and eye wrinkles; Restylane for wrinkles around the mouth; vein sclerotherapy, spider vein removal from the legs; as well as - believe it or not - tattoo removal! (A woman got a tattoo in her teens or 20s, and now that she is a mom, she wants to remove it before her kids get old enough to realize what it is!)

Women in Your 40's

40-something women are more likely to undergo Thermage, a non-surgical face lift, and photofacial lasers, for age spots and broken facial capillaries. Also, many women start to look at Carbon dioxide laser blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) for drooping eyelids.

Women in Your 50's

At this age, some women are undergoing full face lifts, however these are becoming more rare with the movement towards less invasive procedures. There is also the option of a Thread Lift, a mini face lift.

On the Horizon

What will we see in skin care and cosmetic surgery in the next five to 10 years? Dr. Ross says that there will be more preventative products, and more minimally invasive procedures offered, such as laser liposuction, which Dr. Ross hopes to introduce to the Twin City market this winter; non-surgical breast augmentation; and Lipodissolve.

So, as you ponder this information, and realize that these options are available, I must reiterate the message that as women, we need to value ourselves based on who we are as a person and not what we look like. Yes, we need to take of our bodies, as it's certainly not a sin to get some "assistance," but as women and mothers, we know there is so much more to life than perky breasts!

Glossary of terms:

Microdermabrasion: a skin refreshing technique that helps repair facial skin from the effects of sun and aging. A fine sandblaster-type device is used to spray tiny crystals across the face, mixing gentle abrasion with suction to remove the dead, outer layer of skin. More than one treatment may be needed to reduce or remove fine lines, "crow's feet," age spots and acne scars. Average cost: $200 per treatment.

Laser Hair Removal: laser hair removal systems use laser light - an intense, pulsating beam of light - to remove unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and bikini line. Although laser hair removal doesn't guarantee permanent hair removal, it does extend the "hair-free" period, which can vary from several months to several years. With multiple treatments, long-term hair removal is possible. Treatment cost varies with the size of the area treated. Average cost: $500 per treatment session, and four treatment sessions are usually recommended for best results.

Breast Augmentation: performed to enlarge your breasts, balance a difference in breast size, improve body contour or as a post-surgery reconstructive technique. Silicone shells filled with saline or silicone solution are implanted either directly under the breast tissue or beneath the chest wall muscle. FYI: The FDA recently approved the decision to return silicone breast implants to the U.S. market, after 14 years of taking them off because of safety concerns. Average cost: between $5,000 and $10,000.

Liposuction: a surgical procedure intended to remove fat deposits and shape the body, yet is not recommended for weight loss. Fat is removed from under the skin with the use of a vacuum-suction canula (a hollow pen-like instrument) or using an ultrasonic probe that breaks up the fat into small pieces and then removes it with suction. Common areas for liposuction are abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, arms, buttocks, back, neck, and face. The cost of liposuction varies greatly depending on how many areas you cover. For example, the total cost for liposuction of the hips, outer thighs and buttocks would be close to $9,000.

Lipo-Dissolve: a series of injections every week for six weeks that melt away fat without surgery, but is only good for small areas, like chin or jowls. The cost of a Lipodissolve treatment is somewhere between $150 to $750 per area, depending upon the size and fat thickness of the treated area.

Botox: a protein derived from botulism toxin that is injected underneath skin in order to minimize or smooth out lines and wrinkles on the face (by actually paralyzing or relaxing the facial muscles). Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed and costs about $350-$400 per treatment. Results are normally seen within a few days and generally last 3-4 months.

Restylane: typically used to treat wrinkles between the nose and the lips and outside the lip border. Restylane is a crystal-clear, non-animal, biodegradable gel based on a natural substance, called hyaluronic acid. The gel is injected into the skin in tiny amounts with a very fine needle, which, in turn restores more volume to the face and decreases the amount of wrinkles. Average cost: $700 per treatment.

Vein sclerotherapy: a medical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins . Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view. Costs: between $100 and $400 per treatment. 2 to 4 treatments may be needed for best results.

Thermage: the Thermage procedure (or the "non-surgical face lift") employs a patented ThermaCool device, which uses heat to affect the deep layers of collagen in your skin, while cooling the outer layers to effectively cause your skin to tighten immediately. This procedure is usually used for the face and eyes, but can be used to tighten arms, tummy and thighs. Average cost: $2,000.

Photofacial Laser: a PhotoFacial treatment is a series of gentle pulsed light treatments intended to improve the appearance of fine lines, sun damage, and aged skin, as well as reduce facial and neck redness and flushing. PhotoFacial treatments result in a more youthful-appearing skin. Average cost: $200 per treatment.

Carbon dioxide laser blepharoplasty: this eyelid surgery will remove excess fat, muscle and skin from the upper and lower eyelids. It improves drooping lids and puffy eyes. It does not correct wrinkles, dark circles, sagging eyebrows. Cost: $1,500-$7,000 (depending on how much of the eye/eyes you do, i.e., upper lid, lower lid, etc.).

Face lift: also known as rhytidectomy is a cosmetically surgical procedure focusing on certain areas of one's face with the purpose of giving one a younger appearance. A surgeon generally tightens and removes sagging skin by removing excess fat, tightening the muscles, and pulling the skin until it's taut. Average cost: $6,000.

Thread lift: the latest plastic surgery offering is the "lunchtime facelift" using threads to make faces appear firmer and more lifted. Thread lifts are not new, but in the past the procedures had problems. The concept behind thread lifts is that plastic surgeons are able to make small incisions so that a specially designed surgical thread can be inserted into the patient's skin, and once set into place, pulled tight to the desired appearance. Average cost: $1,500 to $4,500.

Non-surgical breast augmentation: BRAVA is the first clinically proven approach to breast enlargement that actually grows a woman's natural breast tissue, without surgery, pills or creams. The BRAVA System is an external tissue expander that applies a gentle three-dimensional pull, which places the breast under tension and causes the cells to respond by replicating. With the BRAVA System, the outcome of proper usage is new breast tissue, resulting in larger, fuller breasts. Average cost: $1,600.

Note: As you can imagine, there are risks involved with all the above-mentioned procedures.

Categories: Fashion & Beauty, Just for me,

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