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Beauty basics

By: Verne Maree

Are lines appearing faster than you can say “pass the serum”? Unhappy about unsightly bat-wings, stubborn saddle-bags or a spreading waistline? Here are a few high-tech treatments to consider when a healthy diet and regular exercise aren’t doing the whole job.

A tiny prick of vanity goes a long way
A tiny prick of vanity goes a long way

 

Problem: Lines and Sagging
Solution: Botox
Administered by injection, Botox is a minimally invasive treatment. It’s not a permanent fix, yet that’s an advantage in a way: if you don’t like its effect, you don’t have to live with it for too long.

If you do opt for Botox, it’s vital that the right amounts are used, in exactly the right places. And if you start treatment on dynamic lines early enough, you can prevent them from becoming entrenched and permanent.

How it works:
Your face has some muscles that pull upwards and others that pull downwards. Botox contains a neurotoxin called botulinum that partially paralyses the small muscles associated with lines. By injecting small amounts of it into the downward-pulling muscles, we prevent them from working so well, thus allowing the upward-pulling muscles to do their job far better.

On the forehead, the downward-pulling muscles are located in an inverted pyramid from the hairline to the middle of the brows. Injecting them enables the upward-pulling muscles above each eyebrow to work more effectively, opening the eye-space beautifully.

For around the eyes, Botox can relax the muscles associated with the formation of crows’ feet, to achieve a lifting effect. Although it’s nice to have smile lines, Botox every now and then helps them from getting too deep!

Recovery:
Any prick-marks can be concealed with makeup. You’ll see the effect from about 48 hours, and it will last for a good four months.

Problem: Loss of Facial Volume
Solution: Fillers
Human DNA has not caught up with the truism that 40 is the new 30, and 50 the new 40. As we age, we naturally lose facial volume as collagen production slows, elasticity is lost and youthfully plump cheeks migrate south to form ageing jowls.

Ageing, together with exposure to the sun and other damaging elements, causes the naturally present hyaluronic acid (HA) in our skin to diminish. As a result, the skin loses structure and volume, and lines and wrinkles form.

How it works:
Dermal fillers such as Juvederm Voluma, Restylane SubQ and Radiesse are injected to lift and contour facial features in a gentle, natural way that also reduces lines and wrinkles and improves the appearance of eye-bags. It takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the amount of filler required.

As dermal fillers are composed of HA, they restore the skin’s youthfulness and elasticity by replacing what the skin has lost. What’s more, aside from smoothing out lines and creating a lift, fillers can also be used as a nonsurgical way to remodel the nose or augment the chin.

Recovery:
The effect is instantaneous, and there’s no real downtime – you can go straight back to your normal activities. Expect some short-term swelling, and perhaps slight bruising that makeup will cover.

Problem: Fat Arms
Solution: Tumescent Liposuction
America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, has put sexy, shapely arms firmly in the spotlight, showing off her own to good effect in sleeveless tops and dresses. We all want arms like that – especially in warmer weather, where there’s no way and nowhere to hide unsightly flab.

To effectively remove stubborn fat deposits that are resistant even to rigorous exercise and strict dieting, tumescent liposuction is a good option. Apart from the upper arms, it’s good for the abdomen, waist, upper back, hips, thighs and calves. It’s also ideal for men who want to have unattractive fat removed from their chests.

How it works:
First of all, large volumes of very dilute anaesthetic (such as lidocaine) containing a capillary constrictor (such as ephedrine) are injected into the fat, causing the targeted area to become tumescent, or firm and swollen. Then, a stainless steel micro-cannula is inserted into the target area through a small incision to draw out the fat. Because the micro-cannula is so small – just three millimetres – it gives a smoother result than ordinary liposuction with a standard cannula. Best of all, it leaves no scars.

Recovery:
Bed rest is recommended on the day of surgery, and painkillers will be prescribed to alleviate any discomfort. You can shower the next day and go back to your normal activities by the third day, but you’ll need to avoid swimming or any other immersion in water for a week or two to allow the small wound to recover.

And remember – always wear sunscreen!

What the letters mean: UVA (Ultraviolet A) rays have longer wavelengths than UVB rays and penetrate deeper into the skin, accelerating skin ageing, wrinkling and initiating and exacerbating the development of skin cancers. UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays have shorter wavelengths than UVA rays; they penetrate the superficial layers of the skin and are responsible for sunburns. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) refers to the amount of UVB protection a sunscreen offers. Note: SPF does not refer to UVA protection.

Tips for buying sunscreen:
* Choose a sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30. If your skin burns in 10 minutes without any sun protection, then a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will provide protection for up to 300 minutes (30 x 10 minutes) before sunburn occurs. A higher SPF level may offer more protection but the increment in protections tapers sharply at higher levels.

* Look for a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection.

* Those with sensitive skin should avoid sunscreen that contains alcohol, fragrances and chemicals like PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid and benzophenones), which can irritate the skin.

 

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