Non-surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic treatments are in high demand. They’re effective, but they don’t require a long recovery time–which makes them ideal for places such as DC, where people want to look and feel their best but have careers that don’t allow for them to take a lot of time off.
Non-invasive treatments such as botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin); dermal fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma, Belotero, Radiesse, Sculptra); laser treatments for wrinkles, brown spots, and facial redness; and non-surgical tightening techniques can be combined to deliver beautiful, natural-looking results to slow the signs of aging and improve the skin’s appearance. There are pros and cons, however, as well as limitations of every treatment. It is important to get all the facts about these procedures before deciding on whether the treatment is right for you. Results–realistic results, not a photo of an air-brushed celebrity or model–recovery time, side effects, and cost–which needs to include how much it will cost to maintain the look–should all factor into the decision. Before you go in for a procedure, make sure you’ve asked the following questions so that you not only have realistic goals for your look, but also so you get the most bang for your buck.
Good questions to ask your physician during a consultation are:
1. Why do you recommend this specific treatment for me? This question helps to determine the reasoning behind the treatment recommendation. It’s best to see a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon who has multiple devices and procedures available for any given skin issue, not a single treatment that is recommended for everyone. One size fits all is not a good approach to rejuvenation.
2. What can I expect during the recovery period? It’s important to know what is a “normal” part of healing to decrease any anxiety over the treatment. Also, if a side effect should occur, early recognition and treatment is essential.
3. What should I be looking for during healing that would necessitate contacting my physician? This question zeros in on the most common side effects and complications of the procedure.
4. What are realistic results? Cosmetic procedure brochures highlight the very best results possible. Indicate to the physician you are interested in seeing “average” results to determine what the most likely outcome is for you.
5. What do I need to do to maintain the results? Since aging is ongoing, there will be a certain amount of maintenance and cost to keep the skin looking as good as possible. A candid discussion with your doctor upfront is important to reduce the possibility of miscommunication.
To maintain beautiful, youthful and healthy-looking skin takes some effort. Successful outcomes start with good communication between patient and doctor.
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi is Founder and Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington Medical Center.