For some people, the start of summer fills them with joy. The thought of balmy weather, poolside lounging, beach vacations and airy summer attire is cause for celebration. Others shudder at the thought of exposing their dimpled thighs or flabby arms and shaving their legs and armpits daily. Also, the notion of the magnifying summer sun on brown spots, fine lines and errant chin hairs may cause some to avoid direct sunlight altogether.
While many of us realize that it’s likely that no one cares whether we have cellulite – about 90 percent of women do at some point in their lives — or love handles, there are procedures that can help you feel your best, or at least better, and more confident about your appearance this summer.
CU Plastic Surgery’s Cosmetic Clinic and Dermatology’s CU Cosmetics both offer a variety of non-surgical, aesthetic and surgical treatments near the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The Visage Center provides facial plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures in Lone Tree.
Here’s a rundown of some issues that may give you pause this season and the surgical and non-surgical procedures available at UCHealth to address them.
Been a while since your legs have seen the sun? Are you reluctant to expose your pallor to the world? Instead of baking your body in the sun like we used to do (remember those days?), Theresa Pacheco, MD, director of CU Cosmetics suggests using a self-tanner instead.
“In dermatology, we are strong advocates of sun protection. We don’t think any tan is a healthy tan,” said Pacheco. “But it’s ok to use topical products that self-tan you or a spray tan.”
You can pick up a bottle of MD Soleil Souffle, at CU Cosmetics, a natural product that comes with mitts so you can safely rub it on your body and face to give your skin a natural glowing tan, without skin-cancer causing sun exposure.
“I agree with using self-tanner/bronzer as a solution. It is safer than tanning beds, which we want to avoid at all costs, and can be a great solution to this issue. To some extent, we can also try embracing our natural skin tone. This can be easier said than done, but part of this is accepting who you are and the skin you have,” said Dr. Rebekah Zaluzec, a plastic and reconstructive surgery expert at UCHealth Cherry Creek Medical Center.
Fine Lines and wrinkles
It’s hard not to squint and smile in the summer. But those repeated expressions cause crow’s feet and other lines to form on your face. Your first line of defense is a good skincare regimen that includes vitamin A products such as Retin-A.
“I recommend continuing with Retin-A or vitamin A products,” Zaluzec said. “These products can be very skin sensitizing; these solutions could irritate the skin, and even more so with sun exposure, so we must wear good sunscreen and practice responsible application when using alongside these creams. Some individuals may need to decrease use with sun exposure, Zaluzec said.
Botox can help soften these fine lines and wrinkles.
“We try to use them gradually so patients still look natural and like themselves. Additionally, the gradual injection processes retain the patient’s emotional expression and facial movement while softening the deeper wrinkles. In contrast, fillers are best for volumizing the face and can help with some wrinkles; the go to product for wrinkles is Botox,” Zaluzec said.
It is harder when wrinkles are deeper, Zaluzec said, but fillers can still aid in volumizing the skin.
“Fillers help replenish lost volume rather than treat wrinkles. Laser resurfacing of the skin does wonders for permanently reducing fine lines and wrinkles by ‘buffing’ them out, which results in a longer-term solution for wrinkle reduction and resurfaces the skin where wrinkles are, Zaluzec said. “The term for this treatment is ablative resurfacing. We also love vitamin C serums which work synergistically with the vitamin A products.”
Unwanted body and facial hair
Whether you shave, pluck or wax throughout the year or not, you’ll need to step up your game in summer when you’ll most likely be sporting shorts and tank tops regularly. And, who wants to do that? Laser hair reduction treatments can reduce or thin out the unwanted hair on your face, legs, chest, back, underarms and bikini line. Pacheco notes that this laser treatment has become quite popular with men.
“A lot of men come in for hair removal on their back and chest. Society is pretty hairless right now,” Pacheco said.
The best time to eliminate hair, however, is in the fall or winter, when most of us don’t think about it since we are usually covered up. No matter how covered up and diligent about sunblock we are, we are likely to get an inadvertent tan hanging by the pool or hiking.
Pacheco said that laser hair reduction devices target dark pigments on the skin and if you have a tan the device may cause a burn. When you’re ready to start these treatments, expect it to take three-to- six treatments spaced about six weeks apart.
Red or brown spots
There are a variety of lasers to fade red or brown spots, even out skin tone and minimize large pores and fine lines. All UCHealth clinics carry a variety of lasers, but not all of them carry the same ones. Lasers come in two varieties: non-ablative, which uses heat to treat brown spots, wrinkles and minor scars; and ablative, which treats the same issues but is a more intense treatment with more dramatic results that “ablates” or injures the skin.
A laser-like treatment called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which is technically a light therapy and not a laser, helps fade dark spots and discoloration. But, like hair removal lasers, which are often the same ones used on the skin but used on a different setting, many of the skin laser treatments are best used after your tan has faded.
“Filtered light treatment is recommended for patients with skin discoloration or dark spots, but we must take into account those with any history of skin cancer, Zaluzec said. “We want these patients to get a full dermatologist skin workup before we try to erase any pigments. This is important to be certain we don’t accidentally mask any cancerous areas, and it is safe to do beforehand.”
Whether you were born with a double chin or earned one through poor diet choices, there is now a simple way to dissolve excess fat under your skin. Kybella is an FDA-approved treatment to reduce fat under your chin. A mild acid is injected into your chin that, over time, eliminates your fat deposits. There is usually some swelling and redness for a few days after the treatment, and you will most likely need several treatments to achieve your desired result.
Lumps and bulges
If you have a bit of a bulge or a few lumps that you could do without but are not ready for surgery, have the time for recovery or don’t need dramatic results, there are two non-surgical treatments available at UCHealth. Both the Plastic Surgery clinic and the Visage Center offer CoolSculpting, a procedure that helps eliminate unwanted fat on your stomach, arms, legs and back. CoolSculpting freezes fat cells causing them to die off over the course of about three months. CU Cosmetics offers Lipoxonix, which also kills fat cells but with radiofrequency waves. Both treatments are relatively painless with minimal side effects and no downtime. There is also a CoolScuplting attachment that treats chin fat as well. Neither non-surgical method results in weight loss. Multiple sessions may be necessary, depending on your desired results.
Saggy or flabby
You fill in the blank. Whether its saggy breasts, flabby arms or a flabby stomach and saggy buttocks that keep you covered up, plastic surgery is an option. A Mommy Makeover includes a tummy tuck, liposuction and breast lift or augmentation. Or, you can concentrate on a single area. But if you have a beach vacation booked, you’ll need to plan your surgery several months out. French said that you should think about taking tone to two weeks off work to recover and about to two-to- three months to be released to full activity.