If you’re thinking about the upcoming holiday season in New York City, and getting “a little something” done to improve a particular aspect of your face, there are plentiful options available that offer real results with little down time. Here are a few of the many possibilities.

1. Botox® and Dysport™. Both compounds are neuromuscular agents that paralyze muscles. When used in targeted areas in the face, they can prevent muscle contraction that leads to wrinkles. The forehead, crows feet and neck are commonly treated areas. The result: smoother skin and prevention of wrinkles from animation (wrinkles produced by muscle contraction, as opposed to wrinkles that exist even with the face at rest). How long do results last? About 3 to 6 months, requiring repeat treatment for persistent effect. After multiple treatments, the frequency may be reduced so you don’t have to visit your doctor as often. Downtime? Minimal. Some swelling and bruising in the affected area.

2. Restylane®, Perlane®, Juvederm®. These injectables, or fillers, are derivatives of hyaluronic acid (HA), naturally occurring compound in human tissue. They are used to correct depressions such as wrinkles or scars, add volume to thin lips, and fill in creases such as the nasolabial folds (from the side of the nose to the corner of the mouth) and marionette lines (parentheses or lines from the corner of the mouth to the chin). Unlike Botox® and Dysport®, these fillers to have an effect on static wrinkles (those which are present when facial muscles are at rest and not contracting). Hyaluronic acid fillers are not permanent, as they are gradually replaced by a person’s own scar tissue. How long do results last? At least 6 months or longer, and may be cumulative with repeat treatments. Downtime? Minimal. Although more painful than Botox® or Dysport®, there may be mild redness, swelling or bruising at the treatment areas.

Autologous fat: This is used for similar indications and in much the same way as HA fillers, but requires harvesting from a donor site and processing. A person’s own fat may last longer than using other types of injectables, although occasionally repeat treatments or touch ups may be necessary.

3. Skin resurfacing: Chemical peels, Microdermabrasion, Dermabrasion, Fraxel and other lasers. There is an abundance of choices from the most mild to the most intense. All of these modalities have a smoothing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. In general, the stronger the treatment, the longer the downtime, and the greater the improvement in the texture and appearance of the skin. Chemical peels using fruit acid or lactic acid usually achieve a subtle improvement but usually only cause mild transient redness, whereas fractionated lasers which caused the skin to slough while healing may require 2 or more weeks for recovery, although the results are much more dramatic.

Before proceeding with any treatment, do your research about New York City plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists. Make sure your physician is board certified by a legitimate board (e.g. the American Board of Plastic Surgery) and has experience using Botox®, Dysport™, HA fillers such as Restylane®, Perlane®, and Juvederm®, and performing skin resurfacing procedures. Ask questions so that you’re comfortable with the physician and the procedure before undergoing any treatment.

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