A diligent skin care routine and good genes can only go so far when fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, sagging skin and dark spots come calling.
Since there's no such thing as a miracle in a bottle, more women — and men — are turning to noninvasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures to erase signs of aging.
Botox smooths frown lines between the eyes, at the corners of eyes and on the forehead. Fillers plump up cheeks and lips. Fraxel, Pearl and other laser resurfacing procedures diminish brown spots, hyperpigmentation and acne scars. Skin-tightening techniques define the face.
Coolsculpting is a noninvasive procedure to reduce fat on the legs and stomach. Ultherapy, an ultrasound treatment, lifts and tightens skin on the neck and under the chin, and lifts the brow. And that's just a few of the procedures and treatments available to men and women who want to put their best face forward.
“These procedures don't permanently prevent us from aging, but they do slow down how quickly we get there,” said Kristy Murrow, a board-certified physician assistant at Mariposa MedSpa in Edmond.
Botox and dermal fillers were the top two minimally invasive procedures performed in 2012, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Chemical peels, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion round out the five most performed procedures.
Facial rejuvenation procedures saw the most growth, as 2012 marked the highest number of botulinum toxin type-A injections to date, with 6.1 million injections.
Noninvasive procedures such as light and laser skin rejuvenation and ultrasound toning treatments are gaining in popularity, too. Typically, noninvasive procedures are those that do not break the skin. Both plastic surgeons and medical spas offer many of these procedures, including laser-assisted liposuction, which is still considered cosmetic surgery. By its very nature, liposuction is invasive.
Part of the appeal of Botox, dermal fillers and skin rejuvenation procedures is that they can be done in about an hour with little or no down time or side effects. Costs are less than cosmetic surgery, and the results are good and getting better every year.
Murrow said technology is more advanced, and results are much better than six years ago when she joined Mariposa.
Today, a liquid face-lift can be achieved using injectables, and the result is close to a surgical face-lift without cutting, bruising and bandages, she said. “It's a much easier way of getting that same, youthful look.”
But a surgical face-lift can give results for seven to eight years, depending on the patient. Most injectables last up to a year; Artefill results can hold up five to seven years.
Murrow said injectables account for about 50 percent of Mariposa's business. That includes all of the fillers and toxins, with Botox being the most common.