Let’s face it – literally. In an environment where women work hard, live hard and play hard, they want to stay looking as young as possible for as long as possible.
Women nowadays are healthier and fitter than ever. They want to look as young as they feel, to remain competitive in the career place and social environment. So they need to appear younger and fresher to hold on to their careers and self-confidence.
Thanks to non-invasive aesthetic procedures or ‘liquid facelifts’ with a combination of rejuvenation aids like Botox, fillers, volume enhancers, Fraxel lasers, ultrasound, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and skin resurfacing technology, surgical procedures like facelifts and mini facelifts can now be considerably postponed.
According to a New York Times report, the waiting lists of A-list plastic surgeons in the Big Apple have shortened from almost a year to a matter of weeks. Women are postponing ‘taking the cut’ thanks to non-invasive alternatives.
The good news is: unless your skin has lost all its elasticity, the knife can wait. But you will have to combine several procedures for the best, holistic rejuvenation results.
Two issues need to be addressed, says aesthetic doctor Alistair Clark of Sandton Aesthetic Institute (www.sandtonaesthetics.co.za) in Johannesburg, South Africa: loss of firmness and loss of volume.
Loss of volume is getting a lot of airtime at the moment. With age, the natural volume in the upper part of the face shifts downward, resulting in double chin, slack jowls and turkey neck. The face looks ‘flat’, having lost its sweet youthful curve, explains Johannesburg dermatologist Dr Pholile Mphofu.
The answer lies in a combination of Botox to iron out wrinkles, fillers like Restylane SubQ to repair loss of volume (cheeks, temples, lips) and a procedure like Ulthera ultrasound (which Madonna reportedly does) to stimulate collagen production and firm up features. Ultherapy can make one look 10-15 years younger, says Dr Natasha Chapman from Laserderm MedSpa in Sandton (www.laserderm.co.za) in Johannesburg and the results can last for two to five years.
One of the most exciting new treatments with Botox is its use for the so-called Nefertiti Facelift, relaxing the tight horizontal platysmal bands in the neck, softening horizontal neck lines and giving the neck and jowls a firmer, younger appearance says Dr Mphofu. Dr Nanita Dalton from Centurion (www.nanitadalton.co.za) says this is one of her favorite treatments for patients, because of marvelous results.
Other Rejuvenation Procedures
- Carboxy therapy helps to improve blood flow to an area, delivering oxygen and nutrients, and stimulating wound healing and collagen formation. In France, carboxy therapy is used in many major operations to speed up recovery.
- Fraxel laser treatments reduce and improve the appearance of marks and scars. They are very effective in removing sun damage and pigmentation. It can significantly reduce scarring after any plastic surgery, including facelifts, neck lifts, breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and even mole removal.
- Ulthera and Thermage can be used to help tighten loose skin.
- Chemical peels improve the appearance of the skin, particularly significant sun damage, fine lines, or poor texture. A peel increases cell turnover by removing layers of dead skin cells. As we age, our cell turnover rate decreases, leading to a build-up of dead cells, which makes skin appear dull, lifeless, and unevenly pigmented.
What it means
Botox: Botulinum toxin is a naturally occurring protein. When used as a drug it blocks the signals from the nerves telling the muscles to contract. It is used for expression lines like frowns and crows’ feet.
Fillers: Filler is a generic term for the 200+ products on the European market, of which about 10 are used in South Africa. The quality of fillers varies enormously and problems generally occur with inferior products and inexperienced injectors.
Fillers are a wonderful way to add volume, soften lines and take years off your age. The art of injecting fillers lies not only in the injecting technique, but also in being able to see what effect injecting fillers into certain areas will have on the patient’s appearance, says Dr Chapman.
Only reputable hyaluronic acid fillers should be used for lip and volume rejuvenation. There are hundreds of new hyaluronic fillers that have flooded the aesthetic market over the last few years. If cheap fillers are used and they are not FDA approved or are not a safe tried and tested filler that has stood the test of time, they could cause problems such as granulomas, keloids and infections.
Peels: Peels are generally acids that come in different strengths. Mid and deep dermal peels should only be done by doctors who are experienced.
Lasers: Laser treatments are suitable for hair removal, skin rejuvenation, skin resurfacing, treatment of pigmentation and melasma, skin tightening, acne scarring, vein removal, birth mark removal, wart removal, tattoo removal… the list is endless. Different wavelengths are used to treat different problems, and the laser operator needs to have a good understanding of laser physics and treatment protocols to avoid serious side effects. Certain lasers are not suitable for African or Asian skin, so do your homework beforehand.
Cosmetic and medical tourism is growing amongst the wealthy and emerging middle class in Africa and also those from the UK and Europe, says Lorriane Melvill, founder of Surgeon and Safari in Johannesburg. Well-heeled women from neighboring countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania are increasingly choosing to combine a South African ‘holiday’ with some cosmetic surgery. “Surgery in South Africa offers them value for money,” she says. Clients can choose whether they want to combine a Cape winelands and coastal experience with a nip and a tuck, or opt for a bush experience during recuperation and follow-up doctors’ visits. The most sought-after procedures for medical tourists are breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tucks amongst younger women, while facelifts and eyelid surgery are popular with women who are over 50.