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April 20, 2012

Lunchtime Tune-ups

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Get an eye-, face-, or neck-lift

The treatment: Radiofrequency (Pellevé, Thermage)
What it does: "Radiofrequency goes beneath the skin's surface and works by heating the dermal layer to tighten and build collagen," says Marmur. "This causes collagen fibers to contract instantly—like wool tights that shrink up in a hot dryer—and produces a controlled injury that stimulates collagen production. I love Pellevé to tighten and lift the delicate skin around the eyes and shrink bags underneath, and to firm the laugh-line and jowl area. And it feels like a warm massage." Thermage, which is stronger and penetrates deeper into the skin, isn't a pain deal-breaker, either. "New Thermage units use lower energy, so you don't need pain medication," insists Alster.
Time commitment: 20 to 60 minutes (depending on the area being treated).
Maintenance: Pellevé requires a series of three to five treatments; Thermage, one or two treatments.
Cost: A Pellevé series is $1,000 to $1,200; Thermage, $1,200 to $4,000.

The treatment: Ultrasound (Ulthera)
What it does: Ultrasound technology works just like radiofrequency, but its wavelengths go deeper, translating to superior lifting and tightening--but also increased pain. Some sensitive patients have compared it to childbirth! (Perhaps an exaggeration, but still ...) While some derms recommend Rx painkillers for the treatment, others say just pop an aspirin. "Half of my patients don't need any pain medication for Ulthera, or they tough it out with a couple of Extra Strength Tylenols," says Isaac. She uses the device for the upper face (from the cheekbones up) and the lower face and neck. "You'll see maximum results in three to six months [as skin heals], but you get an initial tightening right away."
Time commitment: 30 minutes for each half of the face.
Maintenance: It's a one-shot deal.
Cost: Full face is typically $3,500; half is between $1,500 and $2,500.

Erase lines and wrinkles

The treatment: Neuromodulators (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin)
What it does: This procedure is practically a drive-through dermatologist special! "Our most common treatments are injectable toxins or fillers," says Alster. Neuromodulators like Botox block receptors at the junction between the nerves and the muscles to relax them, resulting in an unfurrowed brow and vanishing crow's-feet. You can take 10 years off your face in 10 minutes. Note: Even if you skip the numbing cream (most toxin diehards do), be sure to add in a few minutes to take off your makeup and put it back on again. And pack a good concealer—some people do bruise.
Time commitment: 10 to 15 minutes.
Maintenance: Touch up in three to six months when you notice lines returning.
Cost: $300 to $750, depending on size of area treated.

Plump and lift drooping features

The treatment: Injectable fillers like hyaluronic acid (HA, aka Restylane, Perlane) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
What it does: Fillers restore volume to deflated or drooping areas like the cheekbones or under the eyes to bring back a youthful plumpness, strengthen the facial structure, and diminish fine lines. "The latest breakthrough is known as 'vampire filler' because it's custom-made from your own blood," says Isaac. It's actually not as macabre—or time-consuming—as you might think. "We draw some blood, separate the platelets in a centrifuge for 15 minutes, then inject it into the skin. Those platelets are packed with natural growth factors, and the golden color of the serum gives a luminescent quality to the skin, especially under the eyes." To minimize bruising from injections, Wexler gives her patients strict instructions: "No multivitamins, vitamin E, omega-3's, aspirin, Aleve, ibuprofen, or red wine a week before the procedure."
Time commitment: 15 to 30 minutes.
Maintenance: Results typically last six to 12 months.
Cost: $500 to $1,500 per syringe for HA fillers; for PRP, approximately $400 to $600 per vial.


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