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If you’re looking to enter the new decade with your absolute best face – and body – forward, take some advice from an expert. Obvious surgical enhancements are so last decade! Natural-looking results are where it’s at in 2020, says Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum, a plastic surgeon at West County Plastic Surgeons.

“From a cosmetic surgery standpoint, we are seeing a trend towards much more natural results,” she says. “For example, women opting for breast enhancement surgery are requesting smaller, more natural-looking breasts, rather than large, augmented breasts.”

Tenenbaum also finds that many women today want a more athletic appearance. “We’re doing more fat transfers and fat grafting,” she notes. “This involves removing fat from unwanted areas and placing it into areas that could use extra volume, such as the face, breasts, buttocks or hips.”

Current fat transfer procedures are much safer and more predictable than earlier techniques, although Tenenbaum says additional research is needed to truly perfect the operation. She points to the evolution of fat transfer surgeries as one of the biggest advances in cosmetic surgery during the last decade.

“[Fat transfer] has changed the game in terms of aesthetic and reconstructive enhancements,” she says. “Also, there have been many technological advances with regard to skin resurfacing, as well as cosmetics, topicals and skin care products that offer medicinal elements that promote anti-aging.”

Despite the improvements in products and procedures, Tenenbaum cautions women and men alike that cosmetic surgery is still not a panacea. “A common misconception is that plastic surgery is somehow magical,” she says. “For example, people sometimes think that we can remove scars or perform surgical procedures without scarring. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case.”

However, attitudes toward cosmetic procedures have evolved along with technologies in the past decade. Tenenbaum notes that some people continue to incorrectly assume that plastic surgery is all about vanity. “We see that for many women and men who choose to undergo an aesthetic procedure, it is for a confidence boost in their professional or personal lives,” she explains. “Such procedures may also improve their overall health.”

Surgery isn’t always necessary to achieve noticeable improvements, however. Tenenbaum is a fan of microneedling, especially with the addition of platelet-rich plasma. The procedure uses small needles to prick the skin to generate new collagen and skin tissue to help treat facial scars and wrinkles or minimize the appearance of large pores. The desired result is smoother, firmer, more toned skin.

“Good, basic skin care also is important,” she says. “This includes using sunscreen, a retinol and antioxidants.”

However, instead of just grabbing items off the drugstore shelves, she stresses the importance of talking with a qualified professional who can assess your skin, discuss your goals and help create a personalized plan. “A tailored, at-home skin care regimen is a must. In the office, we offer facial filler injections, microneedling, intense light therapy and laser resurfacing. Skin-tightening devices also are used for certain individuals.”

Below the neck, nonsurgical options include CoolSculpting, as well as a new device called CoolTone, both produced by Allergan, which help decrease fat and tone muscles by freezing and subsequently destroying fat cells. However, for many people, surgical options such as liposuction or abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” will produce much better results, Tenenbaum says. But again, she stresses that a professional assessment is key due to the wide array of options available to meet individual needs and goals.

“Take care of your skin; take care of your body,” Tenenbaum concludes. “Exercise, eat clean food – mostly fruits and vegetables – and drink plenty of water. Additionally, see your practitioner for regular skin care maintenance to maintain your youthful look. This is much more effective than waiting to seek treatment. It’s much more difficult to correct the effects of aging.” 

West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University, 1020 N. Mason Road, Suite 110, St. Louis, 314-996-8800, westcountyplasticsurgeons.wustl.edu

Connie, a native of St. Charles and graduate of the MU School of Journalism, is a freelance writer and editor who contributes to print and online publications for clients throughout the region. She enjoys travel, hiking, kayaking and drinking good coffee