Drop off the dry cleaning, get the oil changed, have your wrinkles erased,
pick up the kids up from soccer practice -- wait, whose to-do list is this?
Cosmetic procedures don't all require general anesthesia, a nip, and a tuck.
Some minor procedures can ease wrinkles in the doctor's office in less than an
hour, and with little or no recovery time. Today, having cosmetic work done can
be a lunch-hour errand.
The story often goes like this: You run into a friend you haven't seen in ages, and, after the initial catch-up, she looks at you, concerned, and utters three dreaded words: "You look tired." You're not — but your eyes are telling a different story. Over time, eyelid skin becomes thinner, more lined, and less toned, creating the impression of fatigue. "I often hear this complaint from women who say their eyes make them look worn out," says Washington, D.C., cosmetic surgeon and laser...
Botulinum toxin A, sold as Botox, is the purified toxin of the bacteria that
causes botulism. Creepy, for sure, but it's also extremely effective as an
Tiny, over-clenched facial muscles are responsible for crow's feet, frown
lines, and other facial wrinkles. Botulinum toxin is a paralyzing agent, which
in tiny doses can relax these uptight muscles for months at a time.
Botox represents the ultimate in cosmetic convenience. Injections of Botox
usually take about ten to fifteen minutes in an office setting. The injections
cause minimal discomfort for most people, with no recovery time.
The flip side to this almost drive-through efficiency: the results are
temporary. Treatments must be repeated every few months.
In a chemical peel, a chemical solution is applied to small areas of skin on
the face, neck or hands. The chemicals damage the outer layers of skin in a
controlled way. After the procedure, the damaged skin becomes red and peels
off. Chemical peels can remove age spots, acne scars, and some wrinkles.
As the smoother skin underneath heals and grows, your skin looks
Chemical peels come in a variety of strengths and types. Glycolic acid,
trichloroacetic acid, salicyclic acid, lactic acid, or carbonic acids are used,
sometimes in combinations. The application can take as little as 15 minutes.
There may be mild redness and irritation afterwards, but most people return to
normal activities immediately. It's important to wear sunscreen to protect your
vulnerable skin after a chemical peel.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
"Regular" laser skin resurfacing uses a high-powered laser to damage
outer layers of the skin with heat. Recovery can take weeks.
Newer "nonablative" lasers penetrate beneath the surface skin. This
stimulates collagen production, improving skin's tone and texture and
minimizing fine lines. There is no damage to the outer skin, so there is no
Each 15- to 30-minute procedure may cause some mild redness, which goes away
quickly. A total of four to six treatments, spaced out over several weeks,
provide the best results.
Microdermabrasion involves a device that "sandblasts" the skin with
a spray of abrasive microscopic crystals. Scars from acne or chickenpox,
wrinkles, and age spots can be reduced or removed with microdermabrasion.
Several treatments (up to 10 or so) may be needed for good results. Each
treatment takes 30 minutes to an hour, repeated over weeks. Microdermabrasion
has no side effects and no recovery time for most people.
Full dermabrasion uses a rougher but more effective approach. In
dermabrasion, a "skin sander" abrades skin more deeply. Seven to 10
days of recovery time are usually needed for skin to heal after