You may have several cosmetic surgery or procedure options to enhance or restore your appearance. Talking with your doctor can help you choose the option that best fits your needs.
Common cosmetic procedures
- Laser resurfacing uses a laser light to heat, damage, or destroy the upper layers of the skin. This can tighten the skin or cause new skin to grow. It is typically used to remove or improve the appearance of wrinkles, brown spots, shallow scars (from acne, surgery, or trauma), and sometimes, the appearance of small veins. Tattoos are removed with surgery or a laser that breaks down the color into fragments. These fragments are removed by your immune system.
- Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to remove the top layers of skin, allowing new skin to grow. It is most often used to remove wrinkles, superficial skin growths, shallow scars, pigment changes in the skin, and other skin problems.
- Dermabrasion uses a fine wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges to remove the upper layers of the skin, allowing new skin to grow. It may be used to treat acne scars and wrinkles around the mouth or to treat an enlarged nose (rhinophyma) caused by rosacea (facial inflammation and redness). Microdermabrasion uses a different technique to treat just the top layers of the skin.
- Filler injections are used to smooth wrinkles or pitted scars in the skin. They are also used to make the lips fuller. Fillers can restore volume and structure that is lost due to age or weight loss. When injected under the skin, a filler raises or puffs up that area. This goes away with time.
- Botox injections use a protein that weakens the muscles of the face to reduce wrinkles. The effect is temporary, lasting about 3 to 4 months.
- Sclerotherapy reduces or removes the appearance of small varicose veins and spider veins. In sclerotherapy, a chemical is injected into a vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the vein, which causes the vein to close.
- Laser hair removal and electrolysis permanently remove unwanted hair such as facial hair. In laser hair removal, light treatments are used to heat and destroy hair follicles. This reduces the number of body hairs. In electrolysis, an electric current is applied to the hair root, which heats and destroys the hair follicle. Hair is not able to grow back in this area.
- Medical tattooing uses tattoo ink to change the look of a medical problem. For example, it can be used after breast surgery to create the look of a darker nipple and areola. Medical tattooing can also be used to darken white skin patches (vitiligo) and scarred skin.