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Cheater's Guide to a Better Beach Body

A look at cosmetic procedures that can improve your appearance in time for beach season.

Doing Away With Your Comb-Over

While many eager beachgoers are concerned about getting rid of unwanted hair, some have the opposite concern. To the rescue: HairMax LaserComb. "This is the only FDA-approved laser for regrowing and thickening hair," says Mary Wendel, MD, medical director of Women's Hair Loss Center in Worcester, Mass.

"You are out on the beach and everything is much more exposed, so thinning hair in men and women is extremely obvious," she says. "A lot of people avoid going to beach or pools because they are embarrassed about their hair being thin."

Within about six months, HairMax users will see benefit. "Most people will see a benefit even earlier," Wendel says.

What's more, she says, "HairMax will allow you to fight off the abuse of chlorine and sun damage." Researchers are not 100% sure how it works, but HairMax may actually improve blood flow to hair follicles, so growth-fostering nutrients can reach them. The cost? About $545.

Getting a Smile Makeover

You are never fully etched without a smile, saysJonathan Ferencz, DDS, a clinical professor of prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry in New York City.

"People take for granted how important teeth are to appearance," he says. "If you see someone who is tan and fit and they smile and you see crooked, stained missing teeth, you just walk right by them."

It doesn't have to be that way, he tells WebMD. From whitening to implants, a healthy smile is within everyone's grasp. "Over-the-counter whitening kits are a great first step and if you get a result that you are happy with, that's great," he says. "If you are still not happy with the outcome, there are whitening products that only a dentist can use that are often done with sources of heat that produce more effective results."

Other options include veneers (thin, custom-made shells made of tooth-colored materials that cover the front side of teeth). They are not cheap, he cautions. "A single veneer can cost up to $1,500."

Depending on the extent of your problem, dental implants (artificial tooth roots placed in the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge or crown) can also overhaul your smile, he says. "They look so natural today," he says. "No one could tell it was artificial."

Whatever you decide to have done this summer, "know the credentials of who is treating you because all surgical procedures have risks and benefits," warns Few.

Brush Up on Beauty

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