By Jana Soeldner Danger
City & Shore Magazine
The ultimate luxury may be something you do just for yourself. A treatment or procedure that makes you look better may not be a necessity, but it may boost self-confidence and make life more fun. Here are a few to consider.
A Firmer Jawline
Facetime, selfies and social media postings may be a constant reminder of a sagging neckline or a double or weak chin. “We’re seeing ourselves at many different angles at all times of day, so we’re more conscious of neck wrinkles,” says Dr. Jacob Steiger, a facial plastic surgeon in Boca Raton.
Necks and chins hang down for three reasons, he says: extra fat, loose skin and loose muscle. When a double chin is caused by too much fat, liposuction – a procedure in which excess fat is suctioned off – can create a firmer jaw line. Injections of Kybella, a formulation of deoxycholic acid, can gradually melt fat cells in the neck and chin. So can CoolSculpting, which freezes fat cells so the body discards them over weeks or months. “Liposuction is the quickest and most efficient,” Dr. Steiger says.
Ultherapy uses high frequency ultrasound to lift and tighten loose skin. ThermiTight produces similar results with radio frequency. With Ultherapy there is usually no downtime, he says; ThermiTight can cause temporary swelling.
For excessive loose skin and muscle, the solution is a neck lift, Dr. Steiger says. He makes incisions behind the ear and under the chin, tightens muscles and ligaments and removes excess skin and fat. The outpatient procedure can be done under local anesthetic or with twilight sleep and takes about two hours. A patient can expect about a week of downtime.
A “weak chin,” the result of a small chin bone, can create the appearance of facial imbalance. This genetic feature can be corrected with a chin implant, Dr. Steiger says. The doctor makes a small incision under the chin and places an implant made of hard silicone. “It gives structure, defines the jaw line, defines the neck much better and feels like part of you,” he says.
A Dazzling Smile
White teeth are an important part of a great smile. Tooth whitening can help, but it can’t get rid of all discolorations. Veneers can be an answer, says Dr. Jose Amador, a dentist in Hollywood. Veneers can also camouflage small chips or gaps and minor misalignments, as well as correct mismatched tooth size. “It’s an easy way to get a nice smile,” he says.
The dentist takes a digital photo of the patient’s mouth and then superimposes options for color and shape so the patient can get an idea of what the result will look like. Wax facsimiles are made based on the patient’s preferences, which a lab then makes into a permanent veneer of porcelain. It is important for the patient to express preferences, Dr. Amador says. “The bolder you are about it, the better the result.”
One mistake patients make is insisting on a color that is too white, Dr. Amador says. “Teeth that are too white look fake,” he says.
When it is time for the permanent veneer, the dentist cleans the patient’s tooth and then removes a very thin layer of enamel from its face and bottom. The permanent veneer is then bonded to the tooth. While veneers can be done throughout the entire mouth, they are usually confined to teeth that are readily visible, Dr. Amador says. A veneer can last 10 years, depending on care.
Sculpting with Laser
Some areas of fat, such as the abdomen, thighs and back, often don’t seem to respond to diet and exercise. SculpSure, a process that uses laser energy to safely eliminate fat cells and contour the body, can come to the rescue, says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, a dermatologist in Boca Raton.
Depending on need, between one and four of the laser devices are placed on the targeted area. The energy heats the fat cells, which the body then safely eliminate over eight to 12 weeks. The procedure takes about 25 minutes. It is painless, requires no anesthetic and is free of side effects, Dr. Herschthal says. “There’s no downtime,” she adds. “You can go back to work immediately.”
Expensive Skin Care Products?
Buying expensive cosmetics and skin care products in upscale department stores and doctors’ offices can make you feel pampered. But do they perform better than lower priced ones in drugstores? Maybe, maybe not, says Dr. Lisa Danielle Grunebaum, a facial plastic surgeon at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The important question: Is the product backed by science? “How much research and development are the skin-care company doing?” Dr. Grunebaum says. “Does the company have studies to back its claims?”
Retinoids and retinols are chemicals that can help rejuvenate skin by boosting collagen and encouraging growth of new cells. Topical Vitamin C can make sunscreens work better and brighten skin. But amounts may vary in different products, and chemicals may break down if they are not properly stored.
Unlike prescription products, those categorized as cosmeceuticals do not have to go through FDA trials, but some have better research and development behind them than others, Dr. Grunebaum says. Do scientific studies show a particular product actually increases collagen? That it reduces wrinkles? Helps get rid of acne?
A consumer should research a product before buying, Dr. Grunebaum says. One advantage of purchasing one in a physician’s office is that he or she may have already done the research. “Many doctors will spend time talking to the companies and looking at the research,” Dr. Grunebaum says. But ask instead of taking it for granted.
A new skin rejuvenation treatment at the Holy Cross medical spa in Fort Lauderdale delivers exfoliation, cleansing and serum infusion simultaneously, says Spa Director Isabel Fugate.
Dermalinfusion removes dry, damaged skin cells, extracts blackheads and other impurities and delivers serums that address specific concerns – such as fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, dryness, oiliness and roughness – all in one step. The technician can treat any area of the body, including face, neck, elbows, shoulders, knees and décolletage, in either a 30-minute or 50-minute procedure. “The treatment is very relaxing,” Fugate says.