Look Good, Feel Good

Botox? Fillers? The Lowdown on Cosmetic Procedures

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

Have you ever thought about getting a cosmetic procedure? Maybe you know someone who has had something done. Or perhaps you’re against things like Botox or fillers because you believe they aren’t healthy or natural.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 15 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures were performed in 2016, up 3 percent from the previous year.

If you are interested in cosmetic procedures, Alison Boucher, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Henry Ford Health System, lays out the facts to common questions many people have.

Q: What are some of the most common cosmetic procedures?

Dr. Boucher: There are a few minimally invasive procedures that we perform often. These include:

  • Botox: Wrinkles on the face form from repeated use of the muscles of expression (those used to talk, smile, laugh, etc.). Botox is an injectable product that softens this muscle movement to stop lines and wrinkles from becoming ingrained. It’s typically used between the eyebrows, around the eyes or in the forehead, and lasts for about three months. Patients getting Botox for maintenance may only need it twice per year.
  • Soft-tissue fillers: Soft-tissue fillers are gel-like substances that are injected under the skin to volumize the face. As people age, they may lose volume in the cheeks, lips or around the nose, and fillers help remedy that. Depending on the filler type, they typically last between six months to one year. In addition, studies have shown that fillers actually help the body produce its own collagen and promote its own anti-aging process.
  • Laser resurfacing: Laser resurfacing uses heat to create small channels of injury to the top layers of the skin. This promotes the body to heal itself by producing new collagen to help reverse the effects of aging. It can improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, large pores, age and sun spots, and more. While nothing can stop the aging process, laser resurfacing can help reverse its effects.
  • CoolSculpting®: CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive body contouring procedure that works to diminish and smooth pockets of unwanted fat. The device suctions on to areas of fat and cools them down, causing fat cells in the area to permanently die. The number of fat cells in the body is set in adolescence, and you never create more – so once these cells die, they never return. It’s important to note this isn’t a weight loss procedure – it’s helpful in reducing the size and appearance of “trouble areas” but won’t help you lose weight.

Q: What age do people begin thinking about having work done?

Dr. Boucher: People can begin to notice signs of aging in their 30’s. While the decision of what type and when to have a cosmetic procedure is completely personal, to get a jumpstart on preserving the look of your skin, we start to see patients in their late 20’s.

Q: Are there any health risks?

Dr. Boucher: For non-invasive procedures like these, there are no detrimental health risks.

More and more, people are wanting products that are totally natural. What many don’t know is that a lot of these procedures are natural. For example, Botox is made by a bacteria, and soft tissue fillers come from hyaluronic acid – one of the building blocks of skin. Many of these procedures harness the body’s own ability to repair itself and return skin to a younger appearance.

Q: What is the recovery process like?

Dr. Boucher: For some procedures like Botox, there is actually no recovery period at all. You may experience minor bruising from soft tissue fillers, but again, there is often no downtime. Laser procedures can leave the skin looking red or irritated, almost like a sunburn, for a few days to a week, but often you can cover this with make-up.

Having a good skin care routine helps your skin recover faster. And any time your skin is recovering from a peel, laser resurfacing or other procedure you should always avoid the sun and wear sunscreen and a hat. (Of course, we prefer you always do this!)

Q: What are some myths surrounding cosmetic procedures?

Dr. Boucher: These treatments aren’t as scary as many people think! Many procedures can be done during your lunch break and require no recovery time.

Another big myth is that you won’t look like yourself. People are worried about looking over-inflated, frozen or just plain fake — and while that may have been true when these procedures were first used, we now have a better understanding of the aging face. We know that aging is caused by multiple factors, and we focus on improving each of these facets to rebalance the face so you look like you – just younger and more well-rested.

Interested in the cosmetic procedures offered by Henry Ford? Visit the Center for Cosmetic Surgery or call 1-844-432-6763 to learn more.

Dr. Alison Boucher is a board-certified dermatologist who sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Centers in West Bloomfield, midtown Detroit and Troy.