Cosmetic therapy

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Cosmetic therapy

Ahhh… the fountain of youth. Looking old is so last century. Forget middle age hitting around 40, Sharon Stone and Madonna are just two examples of how women in their 50s (ok, so Mads is still a month shy) can defy gravity and retain their youthful glow.

With more examples of elegant ageing than ever, it’s only natural that we all want to look as good as we can, whatever decade we find ourselves in. So while some of us will turn to the surgeon’s scalpel eventually, many of us are embracing non-surgical cosmetic therapies for plump, glowing complexions.

But the question is where and when to start? There’s a fine line between looking youthful and turning into a carbon copy of those celebrities who sport frozen expressions and blown-out pouts.

Knowledge is power, of course. And in the name of beauty, bh invites some of Australia’s leading dermatologists to share with us the latest and best options in non-surgical cosmetic therapies. Hold on to your lipstick. 

Dermal fillers

This is the hottest ticket in town when it comes to turning back time. “Dermal fillers can push up wrinkles and replace the volume which is lost with age,” says Dr Geoffrey Heber, a leading authority on skincare and health and the principal of Heber Davis, which specialises in non-surgical cosmetic medicine. “Nothing else can do this, not even surgery.”

But if you are interested in cosmetic surgery, dermal fillers can delay the need. As Dr Heber says, “It’s been shown that facial fat volume loss precedes sagging of the cheeks and jowls by around seven years. Fillers can replace this lost fat and support the skin before it sags.”

Dr Tanya Gilmour, fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists agrees. “Dermal fillers give a very natural look and are very useful in softening lines of the face. The most common dermal fillers used in Australia are hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane® and Juvederm®. These fillers last for about nine months.”

The Australian College of Dermatologists says dermal fillers can be used anywhere on the face, and a range of substances can be used. The choice of natural or artificial substances is based on a combination of factors including the type of cosmetic problem being treated, its location, the duration of effect (some injections need to be repeated regularly to maintain the benefit), cost, inconvenience and individual preferences. Products include collagen, hyaluronic acid, dermal grafts, autologous fat transfer (that’s fat harvested from elsewhere on the body) and Gore-tex®.

All dermal fillers are prescription-only medicines so it is illegal in Australia for beauty therapists to administer them. It is also illegal for registered nurses to administer them without an individual medical prescription. Check out www.cosmeticphysicians.org.au for more information. 

Laser treatment

According to Dr Gilmour, the most exciting advance in skin treatments is the new fractionated laser.

“The original fractionated laser is Fraxel,” she says. “There are also Sciton Profractional Erbium and the new CO2 Fraxel. These lasers have revolutionised acne scar treatments and can help with the skin pigmentation disorder melasma. They will possibly help with fine wrinkling too and the consequences of ageing.”

Laser resurfacing has similar beneficial effects to chemical peels and is used by many dermatologists to treat wrinkles, age spots and scars, along with benign, cancerous and pre-cancerous skin growths or lumps.

“These fractionated lasers have less downtime (meaning less redness, swelling and time off work) compared with the traditional resurfacing lasers,” Dr Gilmour advises. 

Microdermabrasion

While there’s nothing new to report in terms of innovation, microdermabrasion is still used extensively and effectively to maintain healthy, glowing skin. Microdermabrasion stimulates skin renewal and also allows the penetration of active ingredients applied to the skin immediately following a treatment.

“After microdermabrasion, it has been reported that 20 times the amount of vitamin C penetrates the skin compared to normal skin,” Dr Heber comments.

Microdermabrasion can resurface the skin to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and fine lines. “With effective skincare it is likely it would delay and improve loss of elasticity in the skin,” he adds. 

Botox

Ok, so it may be known as the main cause for expressionless faces, but Botox is certainly a very popular treatment. The Australian College of Dermatologists explains Botulinum toxin (known as Botox and Dysport), is used to reduce what they call dynamic wrinkles. These wrinkles are due to the repeated contraction of facial muscles and include crows feet and frown lines.

Carefully placed injections temporarily paralyse the muscles that create these lines or wrinkles, reducing the appearance of these grooves with time. What most people don’t realise is Botox is only temporary. Injections usually need to be repeated every three to six months for maximum benefit.

Chemical peels

Again, there is nothing vastly new when it comes to chemical peels, but the benefits to the texture and look of your skin when applied by a qualified dermatologist or therapist cannot be ignored.

Facial peels are divided into superficial, medium and deep. Very superficial peels, such as the ones performed by beauticians, only remove the top layer of dead skin cells and usually have a short period of minor cosmetic benefit.

Stronger superficial peels performed by dermatologists generally need to be repeated on several occasions for a noticeable improvement in signs of ageing. A variety of medium depth and deep peels may also be used by dermatologists to treat greater textural irregularities, uneven pigment such as age spots and freckling plus deeper wrinkles, some types of acne scaring and pre-cancerous skin lesions.

All chemical peels work by removing different layers of the skin. Deeper peels allow damaged cells to be removed and replaced during healing. That’s why deeper peels can offer significant and longer-lasting benefits, especially for deeper wrinkles. But always remember, a deeper peel means a longer recovery time and greater potential for problems.

Finally…

As always, it pays to do your research and proceed with caution when considering any cosmetic treatment. And remember, after any non-surgical cosmetic treatment skin will be highly sensitive.

That’s why you might like to switch to a 100% mineral make-up like id bareMinerals or Inika Mineral Cosmetics, which are designed for sensitive skin and made from pure minerals with no additives. The formulations even skin tone, protect the skin from the environment and add a natural radiance.

– Claudia DeBono

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