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Cosmetic Procedures Can Be a Part of Your Overall Wellness Plan

Doctor Q&A

Dermatologist at Shawnee Mission Health

Although they should not be the sole focus of your overall wellness plan, cosmetic procedures can be good for your emotional well-being, making them a valued component of a healthy lifestyle.

There are many non-invasive measures available today that are effective, natural-looking and affordable. Success requires a careful approach in selecting the type of procedure right for you. 

Are you a good candidate for cosmetic facial procedures?

Cultural changes have led to a shift in our mindset regarding our looks. The desire for a face lift has been replaced with something less extreme. A lot of millennials, for instance, prefer a more natural look to match their active lifestyles.

Still, there is concern as we start to wrinkle and discoloration sets in.

People age differently, and a multitude of factors can rearrange fat in the face and body, including:

  • Genetics
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Extreme athletic activity
  • Medications and overuse of supplements
  • Certain diseases, like thyroid disease, that can change the upper eyelid.

Two common areas of concern for patients are the lines around the lips and the neck.

What’s the Latest in Cosmetic Procedures?

Non-invasive procedures now rival plastic surgery as go-to methods of treatment.

Current advancements in the field focus on:

  • Improving the tone and color of the skin
  • Removing sun, age and liver spots
  • Bringing a sheen back to the skin.

 

We accomplish these things in several ways, including:

Radio frequency devices

By using radio wavelengths to heat the skin’s deeper layers, we can promote collagen and elastin production to remodel the supportive structures to the skin.

Fillers

These gel-like substances are injected beneath the skin to restore facial volume and reduce the appearance of creases or wrinkles.

Botox

Botox is a brand name for the popular injectable substance that has been in use since the 1970s.

Although it belongs to a class of drugs called neurotoxins, don’t let that scare you. Used in its highly purified form and with techniques honed over decades, the substance temporarily relaxes muscles, decreasing unwanted lines and creases. 

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Also known as photorejuvenation, this procedure erases mild sun damage, freckles, irregular pigmentation and light brown spots on the face, neck and chest. It also constricts vessels below the epidermis, reducing redness and age lines.


Although these procedures are not entirely painless, there is usually no downtime needed and you can immediately return to your normal activity.


What are the Pitfalls?

  • Some patients look fine for two years or so, but the change may not stand the test of time as the face changes with age and hormones.
  • There are some procedures that can make you look worse. When you see people with stretched skin, eyes too hollowed out, or a “joker-like” smirk, their procedure was likely overdone, or the skin was not mobilized in a way that allowed them to age with the procedure.
  • Attempting to overcorrect asymmetry in the face can remove unique facial features, especially in animation.
  • In the case of fillers, be careful with full correction requests. Fillers take three to four weeks to settle, possibly expanding or holding water over time. Refills around the mouth, particularly in the lips and below the mouth, can cause a bloated look if overfilled. 
  • Other aggressive procedures on the lips can distort the volume, as well as the space between the nose and upper lip.


What about the cost?

The cost of non-invasive procedures is minimal compared to plastic surgery. Insurance will not cover procedures that are purely cosmetic. But for cases deemed medically necessary, your insurance may be able to help offset the cost.


Examples include:

  • Laser treatment for birthmark lightening
  • Blepharoplasty for lid lag
  • Breast reduction

 

What’s Your First Step?

The best plan of action starts by answering these questions:

  • What type of skin do you have?
  • What do you want?
  • Why do you want it?
  • What is the sustainability of that look?
  • If you do this to one part of the face, what would happen with movement on the rest of the face, and with your overall presentation?


Before any procedure is initiated, we promote making natural changes first. I suggest the following:

  • Enroll in a water aerobics class
  • Hire a personal trainer for four sessions
  • Focus on good posture
  • Eat healthy


Our community is rich in community centers that are great resources for nutrition, personal training and socialization. A youthful glow can start there. And Shawnee Mission Health also has a robust offering of fitness and community education classes.


Generally, we are here to help improve the quality of your life. In most cases, we will have options for you. But I like to tell my patients (only partly tongue-in-cheek) that my only caveat is that if they are asking to look 28 again or trying to enter the federal witness protection program, I will want to discuss this further.


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