Are you ready? Spring is here, and we’ll soon be revealing more skin as we switch to lighter clothing and spend more time lounging by the pool. If you have problem areas that could use a little improvement, you’re in luck. A panel of local experts offers advice from head to toe to help you welcome warm weather by looking your best.
Put Your Best Face Forward
An array of approaches to freshening the face for spring, from erasing fine lines to skin tightening, is available. Dr. Brock Ridenour of Ridenour Plastic Surgery and Professional Skin Care often steers patients to radio-frequency (RF) devices for nonsurgical skin-tightening procedures.
“When radio-frequency energy is applied to the skin, heat is generated as molecules are set in motion. Collagen is immediately tightened in the dermis and the superficial fat,” he says. “The heat also initiates a three- to six-month process of skin remodeling and the building of new collagen and elastin.”
Several RF devices are available, each offering a slightly different outcome. “These devices provide a great deal of range in terms of outcomes so it’s easy to connect patient goals, risk tolerance, downtime and budget with a device that will deliver the desired results,” Ridenour says.
For beauty below the neck, start by treating your body right from the inside out, advises plastic surgeon Dr. Michele Koo. “Improve your diet by cutting way down on carbohydrates, including fruit, which can have a significant amount of fruit sugars that continue to make you hungry through the glucose-insulin cycle,” she says. At the same time, “increase your cardio workouts; and use light weights, such as ankle and wrist weights, while working out to increase calories burned.”
Even if you have a good overall diet and exercise plan, you still may notice stubborn fat deposits, especially on the abdomen, waist and thighs. “Then it’s time to turn to minor body contouring with minimally invasive liposuction. I only perform the kind of liposuction that actually removes the fat to truly give noticeable contour changes,” Koo says. “I perform minor liposuction to isolated areas in the office to give my patients a ‘jump start’ and a psychological boost into spring and summer.”
Koo adds that men may feel more confident after contouring the chest, removing the droopy fat deposits sometimes known as ‘baby-fat breasts’ or ‘man-boobs.’
Making the Most of Your Swimsuit Figure
Speaking of chest contouring, breasts are of primary importance to some women. “Loose breast skin, misshapen breasts and small breast size are hard to hide during swimsuit season,” notes plastic surgeon Dr. Judith Gurley. “A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you realize the abnormality so that an appropriate treatment plan can be designed to improve your appearance.”
Gurley notes that breast augmentation, reduction, lifting and shaping are popular procedures that “can now be accomplished with shorter scars, minimal downtime and FDA-approved products.” She advises patients to view multiple before-and-after photos of the surgeon’s work, “making sure that you have adequately addressed your desires so that you are comfortable with your treatment option.”
Not Loving the Love Handles
If fat around your middle is your swimsuit nemesis, there are a number of treatments available to address trouble spots. Among the more popular treatments available in his practice, Dr. Richard Moore, medical director of The Lifestyle Center, reports good results with Venus Freeze, which uses radio-frequency and magnetic pulses to tighten skin.
“We have found the Venus Freeze to be the most comfortable and effective treatment for skin tightening,” he says. “Clients also can see a reduction in fat cell size and hence circumference. The duration of results is going to be dependent on lifestyle choices and genetics.”
Tickle Lipo is a slightly more invasive option used to shrink love handles, Moore says. “This treatment results in a longer, shapely waistline with greater definition of the upper curvature of the buttocks. In addition, the results are permanent since the fat cells are removed.”
No More Visible Veins
One of the most common concerns of swimsuit season are visible varicose and spider veins. Removing spider veins—the tiny, purple veins that often appear in clusters on the legs—can be accomplished a couple of different ways, says Dr. Vidal Sheen, medical director of the Sheen Vein Institute.
“The topical laser involves using a pulse laser to fire laser energy through the skin surface into the veins in hopes of burning the spider veins closed,” he says. “This method, unfortunately, is not only moderately painful, but is also minimally effective when used on the legs. Sclerotherapy, on the other hand, is considered the ‘gold standard’ in the treatment of spider and reticular veins. This technique involves the use of a small needle and syringe to inject a chemical ‘sclerosant’ directly into the abnormal veins. The sclerosant chemically burns the inside of the varicose veins resulting in a closure of the treated vessels. The end result is a disappearing vein.”
The number of treatments needed varies depending on the individual; however, Sheen notes that patients should make sure that all visible veins are treated, including the bluish-gray veins that crisscross the legs. “The physician should address all of these problematic veins and not just inject one or two spots,” he says. “Keep in mind, your vein structure is all interconnected. Therefore, failing to address all aspects of this abnormal vein structure can often lead to treatment failure.”