Many Americans are looking to enhance their appearance, but may not be comfortable with the financial commitment or permanence of plastic surgery. However, thanks to medical advances in the past few decades, there is a wider variety of options available to consumers than ever before. Alternative treatments have been steadily rising in popularity, with over 14 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures having been performed in the U.S. last year.
According to a recent American Society of Plastic Surgeons report, the top 5 procedures (from most to least popular) were Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser hair removal, and microdermabrasion. Below, you’ll find a quick-reference guide to the most in-demand nonsurgical procedures to choose from in 2016 that are much easier on your wallet than surgical options.
Dermal fillers & wrinkle relaxers: Both hyaluronic acid-based fillers and Botox can work wonders when wrinkles start to appear on the face. Also known as a “liquid facelift”, dermal fillers help temporarily fill in facial wrinkles, while Botox relaxes the muscles that cause facial wrinkles. Both can be used in order to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
Microdermabrasion: A series of microdermabrasion treatments can greatly minimize acne scars mild sun damage, and clogged pores. It works by exfoliating the texture of the skin with a stream of tiny crystals or a diamond tip, removing dead skin cells and improving circulation.
Chemical peels: A chemical solution (typically glycolic acid, lactic acid, or trichloroacetic acid) is applied to the face in order to create a controlled wound and stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin cells. Chemical peels can effectively improve the color and texture of the skin and correct wrinkles, sun damage, and hyper-pigmentation.
IPL: Intense Pulsed Light treatments apply broad-spectrum light to the surface of the skin, which causes blood vessels to constrict in the lower layers of the skin. Those with red, blotchy skin are the most likely to benefit from IPL, which can remove age spots and reduce redness or uneven pigmentation.
Nonsurgical facelifts: Ultherapy or Ulthera is an FDA-approved treatment that uses ultrasound technology to stimulate collagen growth. The results include lifted and tightened brows, neck, and chin area.
Skin tightening: There are a wide variety of treatments such as Thermage, Velashape, and Viora that can both firm up skin and reduce cellulite. Using either radiofrequency, near-infrared light, or a combination, skin tightening treatments can help improve the appearance of sagging skin in areas such as the thighs, neck, or arms although multiple sessions are often required.
Fat reduction: CoolSculpting treatments use cooling technology to target fat cells under the skin. After being crystallized, these fat cells eventually die and are eliminated naturally by your body, creating a sculpted, slimmer look.
While minimally invasive aesthetic treatments are on the rise and are generally more cost-effective than traditional plastic surgery, one must always keep in mind that surgery tends to yield more dramatic and longer-lasting results. But as we become busier each year as a society and with limited time – it makes a lot of sense to pursue minimally invasive options until we are ready to pursue surgery.
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