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April 20, 2007

Cosmetic Surgery Lowdown

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DESIGNED FOR: People with superficial wrinkles, fine lines, and sun damage.
HOW IT WORKS: A chemical solution wounds a layer of skin and then destroys the damaged cells. As the cells slough off, fresh new skin emerges. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the best for fine lines; salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acid can also be used but don't work as deeply.
DOWNTIME: About a week of peeling and flaking.
PROS: A 20- to 30-percent-strength TCA peel will also fade sunspots and improve skin texture. Repeated peels are believed to boost your ability to produce collagen.
CONS: You'll feel a burning sensation during the peel, which bothers some people more than others. You could be scarred if the solution is too strong or left on too long, warns Dr. Victor, so seek a dermatologist experienced with peels.
COST: About $800 for a 20-percent TCA peel. Results should last one year.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: Murad Skin Renewal Treatment Set, $113, with antioxidants and retinol to reduce the look of age spots and to smooth skin texture.

TREATMENT: Injectable fillers.
DESIGNED FOR: Radiesse (made of tiny synthetic calcium spheres) has been used to plump out nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and deep crow's-feet. Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, used in absorbable sutures) is used for filling hollow cheeks.
HOW IT WORKS: HA, collagen, and silicone work in the face just as they do in the lips.
DOWNTIME: Up to a week of swelling and bruising.
PROS: Results from both may last for years — so far, no other filler can claim that. Sculptra is believed to trigger your own collagen production over time.
CONS: Because these fillers last longer, any complications — such as bumps near the injection site — will, too. Both substances are thick and must be injected with a larger needle, so you'll have more downtime, says Dr. Romo. And you're gambling a bit on the longer-term effects, as they have not been studied as extensively as other fillers'.
COST: About $900 to $1500. Radiesse lasts up to two years; Sculptra, up to three.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: Fusion Beauty LiftFusion Micro-Injected M-Tox Transdermal Facial Lift, $140, or Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment, $150-or try a healthy attitude about life's little imperfections and what comes with the privilege of aging.

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