I must admit before I started to do research into the various cosmetic procedures available, my knowledge of cosmetic or plastic surgery was largely limited to those horror stories you hear on TV about how someone with a breast implant was poisoned because her implant leaked. Botox parties were all the rage for a while and I must admit it did get me all curious and so I decided to delve in and do some research and put it all down here for you explaining what each procedure entails and what the risks are. Naturally you are best advised when you visit your doctor but the following information will give you some idea about the cosmetic procedures so that you aren’t completely in the dark about it.
Cosmetic Surgery Procedures performed on your skin (usually the face)
If you don’t already know, this is short for botulinum toxin. And yes, it is a neurotoxin ie it affects your nerves – how it works is that the neurotoxin actually results in a type of flaccid paralysis ie your muscles go all floppy and relax. Cosmetic surgeons have utilized this relaxing property of botox to achieve a localized effect on your facial muscles and surrounding tissues to smooth out wrinkles, crows feet and forehead furrows. Advantages of botox – it’s quick and works quickly with minimal recovery time. Comparatively inexpensive if you are after a quick fix. Possible side effects of botox – allergic reaction and you usually get some bruising in the area which usually dissipates after 2 days. Disadvantages of botox – It doesn’t last long, usually 3-4 months so you will need to return for another course if you want to maintain that wrinkle free look.
This cosmetic surgery procedure involves an application of a blend of different types of acids (depending on what you are trying to get rid of) to your face, then wipes it off after a certain time. Your skin then blisters and peels off in the next 24 hours leaving you with a ‘new layer’ of new skin. It is usually use to treat acne scars, wrinkles, skin unevenness and pigmentation. Advantages of a chemical peel – it is relatively inexpensive and it can successfully treat a lot of skin conditions. Possible side effects of chemical peels – risk of skin burn (overzealous application of the acid, or it’s been left for too long), scarring, allergies to the acids, facial swelling. Disadvantages of chemical peels – you are going to look terrible for that 24 hours and it’s not very comfortable – kind of like a bad sunburn except all over your face. It’s not pain free as you are likely to experience stinging, redness, itching for that first 24 hours after the peel.
Similar to sandblasting except done on your skin using a corundrum powder (which is aluminium oxide). This cosmetic surgery procedure is done utilizing a fine instrument to blast these little crystals over your skin surface and then uses abrasion and suction to slough off the surface layer of skin. With the top layer of skin sloughed off, fresh layers emerge. Usually used to remove light scars and pigmentation spots. Advantages of microdermabrasion – it’s fast (so much so that proponents have dubbed it the lunchtime facial!), does not require an anesthetic, and is pretty much pain free. Possible side effects of microdermabrasion – if performed properly by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, it is relatively free of any side effects. Disadvantages of microdermabrasion – it’s only effective for minor skin problems, does not solve deeper acne scars or deep wrinkles. It may require a few sessions for fine wrinkles and skin pigmentation problems.
Uses radio frequency waves to break down the skin layer by layer. This cosmetic surgery procedure involves placing a layer of solution on your skin and then an electric current is applied to this fluid which essential causes the skin to break down layer by layer. Advantages of cold ablation – it is effective against fine lines, acne marks and age spots. Less aggressive than laser skin resurfacing. Possible side effects of cold ablation – chance of burns, redness, pigmentation changes. Disadvantages of cold ablation – It’s expensive. Deeper acne scars will require more treatments.
High intensity pulsed light therapy
Affectionately known as the photofacial, this cosmetic surgery procedure utilizes an intense pulse of light focused using a prism and aims at addressing the problem at its heart. Advantages of high intensity pulsed light therapy – It is very effective against sun spots and has the added benefit of actually ‘plumping’ up the skin so it looks better. Possible side effects of high intensity pulsed light therapy – it is not pain free. Some experience sharp stinging pain on application. Blistering and scarring is a possibility as are pigmentation problems. Disadvantages of high intensity pulsed light therapy – the pain has got to be a turn off but some do say that they only feel a slight warm sensation only and nothing else.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
also called ablative laser therapy, it utilizes a laser light beam to take off the surface layer of skin. This cosmetic surgery procedure is used in conjunction with anesthetic on your skin and your skin gets ‘blasted’ bit by bit. Advantages of laser skin resurfacing – Your skin looks taut and wrinkles are smoothed out. It can be used to treat other skin conditions such as moles, tattoo removals, spider veins and unsightly birth marks. Possible side effects of laser skin resurfacing – burns and redness. Some people experience skin pigmentation changes. Disadvantages of laser skin resurfacing – It’s a bit on the expensive side and there is some prickling sensation and the odor of burning flesh during treatment which can be a turn off for some.