7 Beautiful Reasons to See a Dermatologist
Check out these safe procedures that can freshen skin, reduce fine lines and add definition in all the right places
En español | Self-acceptance is our mantra, so toss the judgmental attitude aside. If you think you would look better without that mole on your chin or you would feel fresher without the brown spots or frown lines — there's no need to hold back. There are many new procedures that are safe if done by a board-certified dermatologist who knows how muscles work and mature skin behaves, as well as how much to do (or not to do) with the right medical equipment. Here are several tips from dermatologist Robert Anolik, of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.
1. Turn mad lines glad. Frown lines (deep vertical creases between the eyebrows, also called "the elevens"), along with other forehead wrinkles, can make you look angry all the time. Who needs that? Botox or Dysport helps smooth those lines by "blocking the nerve to muscle communication,” Anolik says. The cost varies from $340 to $1,500, and final results may take a week or two to kick in. Anolik notes that more men are Botoxing such lines. "Guys want to look great, too."
2. Lift lips up. Whether lips are thin or full, shapely or losing definition, a downward crease at the corners makes them look like a constant frown. "Botox subtly injected at the outer edges of lips changes your mouth expression from sad to serene," Anolik says.
3. Erase cigarette lines. If you were a smoker or have a history of sucking soda through a straw, your upper lip may have a frame of tiny lines (a magnet for lipstick bleeding). "A combo of Botox to relax the lip from pursing and filler to plump up the lines can be a great solution," Anolik says.
4. Delete a double (or triple!) chin. Extra padding due to genetics can be addressed with a new product called Kybella, which dissolves fat under the chin, Anolik says. “The procedure stings a little during the brief shot. But within one week to 10 days, you'll have a contoured jawline." The procedure costs about $1,000, depending on where it's done.
5. Banish brown spots and sun damage. Tired of dotting on opaque concealer every day? "The Fraxel Dual laser, which is nonablative (meaning it heats up skin tissue but requires less recovery time than old-school lasers), is used to resurface sun-damaged skin and eliminate brown spots. You'll look very sunburned and red — even swollen or bronzed and sandpaper rough — for a few days before your new skin emerges, which it will," Anolik says. This procedure requires trust and patience and a week to 10 days of transition. Your complexion will look clearer and cleaner, and you can wear lighter face makeup. The downside? It costs $800 to $2,000, depending on the extent of work and where you live. But add up all the lightening and brightening face creams you'd buy over a decade, and it's worth every penny.
6. Boost your cheeks. Remember how you used to smile, and your cheeks were way up there? With age and gravity, cheeks drop nearer to lips than eyes. “Loss of fat in the midface contributes to deep lower-face creases and saggy skin,” Anolik says. “Injecting the upper cheeks with filler can restore volume so that cheeks get back a plumped-up, firmer appearance. Filling cheeks [with products like Juvederm and Restylane] in turn smoothes out the lower-face nose-to-mouth creases, called the nasolabial fold, without injecting there."
7. Remove raised moles. A flesh-tone mole on your chin or cheek is not a "beauty mark." If you don't like it, removal is possible. First, get a skin cancer check to make sure it's harmless. A seasoned dermatologist can shave it off via incision by using a local anesthetic and small scalpel.
For more beauty and fashion tips, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50, as well as AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine (available on iPad).