This never gets old…
Where to even begin…
This post has evolved so much since I started it over 2 years ago. Yea, I know, I’m a procrastinator and admittedly have been ‘blog-shy’ (facebook and insta I gave a little more attention). It began with the purpose of ‘detailing’ laser procedures, then it became my ‘detailed’ Clear and Brilliant (laser) experience, and during this time I became engrossed, scratch that, obsessed, in knowing as much as I could about all available procedures for making our lovely selves look even better. My immediate findings were that I didn’t know shit-which is when I decided to make it my mission to find out as much as possible with the purpose of being able to tell my friends what was worth it, and what wasn’t.
Since I started Beauty Detailed, I find myself fielding questions daily from friends, family, people I haven’t heard from since I was 12, and complete strangers. I absolutely friggin love it- I get excited about this, more than anything. It’s a combination of helping people cut through the bullshit and find something that makes them feel good about themselves- a little something that brightens their day, and prevents them from wasting money on overpriced and ineffective products, procedures etc. I hate that shit- clever marketing and merchandising for an unremarkable product. Don’t be fooled – laws allow them to do this. Cosmetic companies can literally put anything they want on a product- so seriously be aware! I rely on ingredients and reviews- which is hard, everyone is different and sometimes you never really know how a product will affect you compared to someone else. Companies will slap a catchy label on some garbage products/procedure with a good instagram page (oh look a cool font) and BAM it’s viral, after a celeb or handful of bloggers ‘supposedly’ like it. I can get fired up about this. I am right now actually….ok, lets keep going.
TRUTH: there is always more to learn, and in no way am I an ‘authority’ in this field, however experience and trial/error is definitely a version of education.
My take: lasers are the shit– but they are not new, and they are definitely not all thats out there in the world of aesthetics. That’s when I read an article from Vogue about micro needling like 2 years ago and realized that the message I want to get across is the importance of maintaining our skin- just like we do our body, nails, hair etc. We all have our own version of maintenance – a version of wash and moisturize, the occasional facial, or maybe just a splash of water, a makeup wipe and whatever moisturizer is in the cabinet.
What I want to ‘detail’ is the new way to maintain skin, that goes WAY beyond a good serum and should make you think twice before buying a new lightening cream or wrinkle smoother. No matter what stage your skin is in, early 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, there is a treatment out there that doesn’t involve going under the knife and can yield incredible results. Because seriously, who gets face lifts anymore? cue Jenner/Kardashian photos
Before I go on…
Lets get one thing out of the way... the idea getting a treatment done to look our best doesn’t have to mean you are vain or obsessed with looking young, it’s about feeling good in your skin. This matters more to some than others, and to me, its a biggie. When I am having a ‘good skin day’ much like a good hair day, I just feel better- my mood, my confidence, it just makes me a happier person. To be completely honest, where many people would feel great about being 10 lbs lighter, I would choose great skin instead. Its what people look at when they talk to you (usually 😉 and can reveal a lot about a person. My skin goal is to achieve a flawless face with no makeup on, but still will because come on, seriously, a day with no under eye brightener and blush? What if I run into someone? To achieve my flawless face, It will require yearly skin resurfacing treatments, supplemented by a good skincare regimen and at home micro needling, and neurotoxin injections. In 10 years, probably skin tightening treatments, all depending, but that’s just me 😉
Aesthetics Now, and then
What was once the norm when entering a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office (for aesthetic purposes), was to start off with botox, possibly some filler, throw in a microdermabrasion or a glycolic peel and a script for retinol, done, see you in 6 months to a year-is a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, all that is still great AND possibly necessary for some, but we have so much more at our disposal now! Plus, results from these treatments are nearly immediate, and we are all obsessed with getting what we want, when we want it.
So like I said, choices, there are a lots of lasers and treatments out there, depending on what our issue is (sunspots, crows feet, large pores etc). Not to mention, the market is growing rapidly, and innovative devices and treatments are being released regularly. For instance, everyone has probably heard of micro needling, but now there are devices that combine microneedling with Radio frequency, etc, that offer zero to minimal downtime, work on most skin types and deliver results normally accompanied by 3-5 days downtime. Oh- and that same device works wonders on cellulite too.
The options are VAST, and its hard to know what would be best for you- which is why its so important to pinpoint what you want to fix. Do a little research, pick a doctor that has a lot of options in house and can tailor a treatment just for you. I mean seriously folks, this is huge, the trick- start early.
…And now, the Breakdown!
The world of dermatology and cosmetic aesthetics began utilizing resurfacing CO2 lasers for the treatment of wrinkles in the 80s- which is pretty much what started it all. Over the last 30 years a lot of happened, but over the last 5, A LOT HAS HAPPENED. Lucky us 🙂
- Injectable neurotoxins for the treatments of wrinkles: Botox, Dysport, Xeomin have become the norm… tis true, even the goddess herself, Robin Wright admitted in an interview last year to a twice-annual “sprinkle of Botox,” adding, “Everybody f***ing does it.” High five First Lady, I mean Robin.
- Juvederm, Restylane, and Boletero… better known as fillers!(hyaluronic acid injectables) Think Bravo and Lohan’s lips (don’t really) Variations in these have to do with particle size- meaning one may be better for cheeks, laugh lines, lips, under eye area, chin structure, etc.
- Injectable implants that stimulate collagen production, the better filler… Radiesse (CaHA), Bellafill (PMMA) better known as the 5 year filler, and Sculptra(PLLA). This shit’s badass, look into it
4.Skin tightening devices like Solta’s Thermage, Syneron Candela’s Vellashape and Profound, Ulthera’s Ultherapy, Eclipse’s Firma. These devices utilize radio-frequency (RF), ultrasound energy, infrared light or direct heat to tighten skin from the inside out.
5. Non Invasive body shaping and sculpting: Fat diminishing devices like Zeltiq’s Cool Sculpting, Cynosure’s ScultpSure, Ulthera’s Cellfina, BTL’s Vanquish and Vanquish ME, Ultrashape and Liposonix. Utilizing different energies like ultrasound, laser, heat/cooling, radio frequency etc.
6. Kybella for the treatment of submittal fullness A novel injection that literally melts fat under the chin aka gobbler aka double chin eraser. The FDA’s approval of this was a big deal in the aesthetics world, and just happened a little over a year ago.
7. Microneedling / Dermarolling: Treatment can be done at a dermatologists office, by an esthetician or, at home. Tiny pricks from the roller act as canals for skincare ingredients to travel into the deeper layers of your skin – giving your skincare more of a fighting chance. Further, the tiny ‘wounds’ signal a response in the brain to cue collagen production at the site of the injury aka prick, which heals the ‘wound’ and in turn creates a healthy, youthful glow. (drop mic)
Besides collagen production, whats the point you may ask? Well, lets see what doesn’t it do…microneedling reduces pigmentation, evens texture, plumps fine lines and wrinkles and breaks down scar tissue. The thing is, in office they are able to get pretty deep, anywhere from 1-3mm. An at home roller is anywhere from .2-1.0mm. So, like most things, the greatest benefit will come from an in office treatment, HOWEVER, there are still results to be seen from at home maintenance in combination with serums.
In a refinery 29 article , Dr. Karyn Benjamin called at-home dermarolling one of the “most powerful and effective ways to stop early signs of aging and prevent new fine lines and wrinkles from occurring,” thanks to the uptick in collagen production. She adds it to nearly every facial she gives, and sends her clients home with a roller of their own to use with their favorite serums.
Thats some pretty powerful stuff. I myself have taken up derma rolling the last 6 months, and the results don’t lie. It literally plumps the skin – not in a ‘I had an overindulgent weekend’ kind of way, but rather imitating the skin I had at age 21. Its been 13 years for me now, the difference is sadly obvious. Every 2 or 3 nights, I cleanse as normal, and ‘roll’ the needles over my forehead and cheeks with slight pressure. After a minute the skin you ‘rolled’ turns pinkish red, almost like a sunburn. I then pat a few drops of CE ferulic (skinceuticals) on my skin (see dupe below) and a hyaluronic acid serum or lite retinol and by morning I’m fresh faced and glowy. More recently I read an article about using it under eyes to get rid of dark circles and crepey skin, however I am trying this with extreme caution (given my experience in eyecare) as to not get too close to my eyeball. The thing is- its working. Im currently using a 1.0 needle roller, and its nearly impossible to use in smaller areas (nose, lip), so I got something a bit smaller, which works great! If you are considering getting into it, here are face/eye/body kits available. I really have to stress caution with this technique, I only ‘roll’ on the ‘hollow’ part of my under eye, with very delicate pressure. Be Careful ladies, don’t go poking your eye out.
8. Acne Scars and treatment devices: Nd: Yag, Er: Yag, ND Q switched Yag, Pulse dye lasers, IPL, BroadBand Light devices, Pixel Radio Frequency and sublative radio frequency. Examples of devices: Spectra and Clarity, LightPod Neo, eMAtrix, Harmony XL Pro, vShape, Joule, Isolaz, Vbeam etc. These devices differ in method of action and have different indications, but all of them provide tangible results in treating acne and acne scars. For instance, eMatrix is a radio-frequency fractional laser that creates fractionated thermal ablation to the dermis and epidermis to denature collagen and resurface the skin. The Venus Viva, a new nanofractional radio-frequency device, is said to be even more powerful than eMatrix, with the ability to treat larger areas of scarring. The Spectra is a Dual-pulsed Q-switched Nd: YAG, with 4 wavelengths to provide a wide range of clinical options for treating patients. It is the only laser on the market FDA cleared to treat melasma, and can effectively treat redness caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
9. Hair Removal: less painful, larger treatment areas and permanent! Clear and Brilliant’s Pelo laser system is a newer device for permanent hair reduction (fastest/largest treatment area). This is just one, there are a crazy amount of hair removal devices, instead of listing, I will just provide the company name: Lumenis, Alma, Cynosure, Sciton, Syneron Candela, Fotona, Solta. I would suggest looking up or calling the office to see which they are using to make sure its a not an outdated device. Also- you can get a pretty good deal on laser hair removal now- don’t overpay. I recently started using an at home device (thanks Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!) Its too soon to tell but reviews are great!
The number of cosmetic procedures performed in 2015
In 2015, Americans spent more than 13.5 billion dollars on combined (surgical and nonsurgical) aesthetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). A 1.5-billion-dollar increase from 2014.
The top five cosmetic surgical procedures in 2015 were:
- Liposuction (396,048 procedures)
Breast Augmentation (305,856 procedures)
- Tummy Tuck (180,717 procedures)
- Eyelid Surgery (169,708 procedures)
- Breast Lift (148,967 procedures)
The top five nonsurgical procedures in 2015 were:
- Botulinum Toxin (4,267,038 procedures)
- Hyaluronic Acid (2,148,326 procedures)
- Hair Removal (1,136,834 procedures)
- Chemical Peel (603,305 procedures)
- Microdermabrasion (557,690 procedures)
Botulinum Toxin (including Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) remained the most frequently performed noninvasive procedure (over all age groups) with a 15.6% increase resulting to 2.5 Billion spent on injectables alone, and 1.9 billion on skin rejuvenation (LASERS etc!)
*Statistics compliments of the American Society for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery
10.SKINCARE!! Including spa grade chemical peels. There isn’t enough time- but obviously skincare has come a LONG way!
11. Lipo, Laser lipo, smart lipo. You would be surprised at how popular Liposuction still is. I heard a statistic- that patients ‘add on’ liposuction when going through with another procedure at a rate of 90%!! There have been a lot of advances in the procedure, utilizing ultrasound and radio frequency to make the procedure less invasive, more effective and result in less bruising.
Some things don’t change…
The two most popular injectables, botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid both saw continued growth, typically.
And now, drum roll, LASERS!!
So here is where I break it down… (part 1, aka teaser!!)
Laser skin resurfacing remove layers of skin, plain and simple, as does chemical peels and microdermabrasion. As the skin heals, new and healthier-looking skin emerges. What differentiates the various resurfacing methods is the way in which the skin’s layers are removed or altered. The most common and the original skin resurfacing laser, carbon dioxide (CO2), removes skin layers by vaporization.
There are two main types of lasers:
Ablative lasers and Non Ablative
Ablative: vaporize the surface layer: treats anything and everything on the skin, DRAMATIC. Basically a non-surgical facelift. The complete overhaul, Think Samantha from Sex and the City when she got that chemical peel and was scaring children on the street.Ablative lasers were the first type of laser to be used in laser skin resurfacing. They vaporize the top layer of your skin, physically removing (destroying) any skin damage you want to treat and allowing healthy skin to grow back. Old school CO2 laser resurfacing is an example of an ablative procedure. Nowadays, ablative lasers (not fractionated, which is explained below) are rarely used for the face because of the long downtime. It takes months to recover and multiple ablative treatments to get desired results. Some people are also subject to a high risk of scarring and hyper/hypo-pigmentation.
Non-Ablative: Non-ablative lasers penetrate into deep layers of skin without removing the top layer of skin. Therefore, they can treat skin issues without damaging the surface of your skin. These lasers are a significant improvement over ablative lasers because of the large decrease in recovery time. Many non-ablative lasers claim to have “no downtime” and are even advertised as “lunch-time” procedures. However, in my experience, even with a non-ablative laser, you will still experience side effects. But you will be able to go back to your normal life far more quickly than with an ablative laser treatment. Good for sun damage, age spots and irregular pigmentation, spider veins, redness such as rosacea, acne and unwanted hair
Ablative and Non ablative are then broken down into subcategories, i.e. CO2, Pulse dyed, Yag..
from there are broken down further into manufacturer, bc each one tends to be slightly different.
To complicate things even more, some cosmetic lasers aren’t even real lasers. These “light-based treatments” are called “lasers” in the field of aesthetic medicine simply because they treat similar cosmetic issues that real lasers do. Because there is such an immense variety of devices, researching the best laser or light-based treatment for your skin and what you want to treat can get confusing really fast.
Laser therapy, or laser facial procedures, work by targeting a wavelength of high energy light on a specific area of the skin. The light is produced by different mediums: gases (i.e. carbon dioxide), liquids (i.e. dye) or solids (i.e. alexandrite). Because different wavelengths treat different skin conditions, numerous models of cosmetic lasers have been developed. One model might penetrate at a certain wavelength to treat skin pigmentations, while another must operate at a higher or lower wavelength to rejuvenate the skin. This is why there are so many different kinds of skin lasers out on the market.
Fractional: While non-ablative lasers were less invasive than ablative lasers, they proved to be weaker. Because of this, fractionated cosmetic lasers were developed. Fractionated, fractional, or fractionally means that a laser beam is split into hundreds of tiny beams (a bunch of dots) instead of one solid beam. Therefore, when a fractionated laser penetrates your skin, it penetrates in a scattered way, treating some skin while leaving skin in between alone. The untreated skin surrounding each column aids in healing and generating collagen. In other words, your skin is only fractionally treated with a laser because the laser beam has been split up (think string cheese instead of a block of cheese). Instead of getting one solid dose of laser in a specific area of your skin, you get a spread out dose, receiving the same benefits minus the downtime. The first fractionated laser was Fraxel, but any type of laser can be fractionated – fractionated ablative lasers, fractionated non-ablative lasers, fractionated carbon dioxide lasers, fractionated nd: yags, etc.
Second part of laser education coming ASAP!!! Its a beautiful summer night, sorry folks. Tons more info to follow!