Changing Face in a Matter of Minutes

Charlotte Schirmer was starting to see time catch up with her. Wrinkles around her eyes and brown spots stared back at her from the mirror.

She wanted to do something, but couldn't afford the recovery time it takes for a surgical facelift or harsh chemical peel.

"I do work every day so I didn't want to be out," Schirmer said.

Women like her have changed the face of the cosmetic medicine industry. Dr. Stacy Weeks of Cotton-O'Neil Clinic said changes can now be made without any downtime.

Microdermabrasion is the best example. Dr. Weeks said fine, sharp aluminum oxide crystals are shoot at the face, and then vacuumed up. The crystals remove a layer of dead skin, and the vacuuming stimulates it. The procedure can be done over the lunch hour, and people can immediately return to their normal routine, makeup and all.

Microdermabrasion can help remove fine wrinkles, age spots, areas of uneven color and small acne scars. It can't help deep scars or wrinkles. For those, you may want to consider botox injections.

"Botox relaxes the muscles, so in three days the wrinkle is gone," Dr. Weeks said. The downside? "In three months, it's back when the botox wears off."

New procedures go beyond the face. Dr. Weeks also does sclerotherapy, a way to remove those little veins that pop up in your legs.

Don't like doctors at all? New anti-aging vitamins fight off time from the inside out, and of course there are all those vitamin-enriched products.

Dr. Weeks says vitamins do play a role. She said products that contain Vitamin A help the skin's rejuvenating process, leaving the skin more soft and supple. She said Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which will protect skin against further damage. Dr. Weeks also said having enough Vitamin C in your diet helps with your skin's elasticity.

As for what you eat and drink, she said drinking water isn't a myth.

"You want your skin to be hydrated," she said. "If it's dry, it's more prone to damage."

Charlotte opted for microdermabrasion. Three treatments later, she's glad she did.

"My skin is much softer," she said. "I don't notice as many wrinkles around my eye. Some spots are gone."

Beauty does still come at a price. Microdermabrasion runs about $125 a treatment, and a minimum six treatments are recommended. Botox will cost around $250 a shot.

For more skin care information, go to the American Academy of Dermatology's web site at www.aad.org.


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