By Malena Harbers (www.ellecanada.com)
Fat and cellulite: they are the reason most women dread swimsuit shopping and, aside from liposuction, have historically been the most difficult to target with cosmetic intervention. But new, less-invasive technologies are making it easier to blast away problem areas.
Best for…STUBBORN FAT: UltraShape.
You’re fit and healthy, but no matter how many hours you log at the gym, you have stubborn pockets of fat that won’t go away with diet and exercise. Sound familiar? UltraShape was designed with you in mind. This non-invasive treatment uses ultrasound technology to target and break up fat cell membranes and release the fat into the body to be metabolized by the liver. The hitch? You’ll need to exercise to mobilize the fat and get rid of it. “Think of it as if you were to eat a big steak,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist in Toronto. “You want to burn off the extra calories you ingested – otherwise, they will be restored in the body.” Results are permanent after about three sessions (about $1,000 each), with no downtime. Expect to lose two to four centimetres or go down a pant size, says Kellett.
Best for…ARMS, BACK AND KNEES: SmartLipo.
Recently approved in Canada, this treatment works by inserting a Yag laser (about the size of a strand of angel hair pasta) into fat tissue via a one-millimetre tube. Pulses of laser energy work to stimulate collagen (generating skin contraction) and “liquefy” fat deposits, which are removed through a syringe. While it may be a safer alternative to liposuction (it doesn’t involve major blood loss or nerve and tissue damage), you can still expect some bruising and swelling. Usually, only one session (from $3,000 to $5,000) is needed, and results are permanent. Count on a couple of days of downtime before you can return to normal activities.
Best for…CELLULITE: VelaShape.
Besides common problem areas, such as the buttocks and thighs, this new laser system can target cellulite on the arms and underside of the chin using a combination of infrared light and radio frequency waves. “The heat energy penetrates beyond the skin into the fat layers to change the structure and size of the fat cells, making cellulite less visible,” says Dr. Gerald Boey, a cosmetic physician in Vancouver. Four to eight sessions (about $125 to $200 each) are necessary, and there is no downtime. You’ll see results within the first three or four treatments, but maintenance sessions are usually needed every two months to stay cellulite-free.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are being used in a variety of new ways. The “15-minute nose job” involves filling the bridge of the nose with a hyaluronic acid filler, such as Restylane or Radiesse, to even out a side profile or create a softer-looking tip. According to Carruthers, these fillers can also be used to plump up thin earlobes, add girth to the backs of bony hands and reverse inverted nipples. Botox is also being sought after for its ever-expanding list of uses. “Traditionally, it has been used in larger doses on the upper half of the face to treat lines and deep grooves,” says Weksberg. “Now, it’s being injected in smaller doses on the lower half of the face to help reshape droopy lips.” As well, Botox is being used to smooth out lines on the neck and upper lips, and some dermatologists are injecting it into palms, feet and armpits to prevent sweating.
So long, padded bras and “chicken cutlets”! Macrolane, a hyaluronic acid filler developed by the makers of Restylane, is the newest way to up your cup size. Although not yet available in North America, it’s being used in Europe to contour the breasts, décolletage and buttocks and help correct improperly filled breast implants. Because the formula is made of much larger particles than typical hyaluronic acid fillers, it may last longer: recent reports claim that it stays put for up to two years or more.
Facelifts are so 2007. A “skull-lift” could do more to address sagging skin – at least, according to recent research at Duke University in North Carolina. The three-year study found that our skulls change shape as we age, causing facial bones to become less supportive of underlying tissues. Shifting facial bones could prove easier than the current facelift methods (which carry the risk of nerve damage) and would also involve less surgery.