We think you look beautiful as you are! That said, we know that there are people with areas of their appearance they wish to change. And nonsurgical beauty procedures are on the rise. In fact, the 2014 annual survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery shows that nonsurgical procedures have increased by 508 percent since the association started tracking them in 1997. What's more, people are searching online for information on these procedures and their benefits and risks. For that reason, we decided to investigate the PROs and CONs as well as the risks. To gather information we relied upon a site called RealSelf.com, to find out if their community deems these procedures worth the risks or not. Read on to find out about laser hair removal, Botox, chemical peels and more -- and whether they're right for you.
1. Nonsurgical Face-Lift
Nonsurgical face-lifts combine fillers and neurotoxins to give a fuller, more youthful face with skin resurfacing, such as chemical peels or laser treatments, to remove signs of aging. “Nonsurgical face-lifts are ideal for [people] who start to show the changes of aging, such as hollowness and wrinkles,” says Dr. Dana Khuthaila, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York. However, since nonsurgical face-lifts often include a number of procedures at once, patients can risk looking overdone or unnatural, says Khuthaila. Plus, if your doctor uses a permanent filler that remains in one place as the natural aging process continues around it, you can be left with unappealing results. REALSELF.COM RATING: 93 percent worth it.
Related: Check out RealSelf.com
2. Neurotoxins (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin)
The No. 1 nonsurgical procedure since 2000, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Botox and other neurotoxins are paralyzing agents injected into the face to block the movement of the muscles under the skin. While neurotoxins are temporary and usually only last about three months, they generally yield best results in the forehead, glabella (skin between the eyebrows) and crow’s-feet, suggests Khuthaila. Yet misplaced injections can lead to undesirable results, such as eyelid droop, crooked smile, excessive tearing or dry eye. Overuse can also create an emotionless, unnatural look. Although unlikely, there is the possibility that the botulinum toxin might spread to other parts of the body, leading to muscle weakness, trouble breathing and vision problems. REALSELF.COM RATING: 79 percent worth it.
Related: The Stiletto Workout
One of the latest ways to eliminate love handles, back fat and arm flab is with CoolSculpting. This nonsurgical procedures works to battle stubborn trouble spots by permanently reducing targeted locations of body fat by freezing the fat cells, thereby destroying them and reducing the total number of fat cells in your body. On the upside, the procedure has no downtime and can spot-reduce fat in trouble areas like the abdomen or underarm. Complications are rare, but it is common to experience soreness and some mild bruising from the treatment. REALSELF.COM RATING: 63 percent worth it.
4. Hyaluronic Acid Fillers (Restylane or Juvederm)
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally between skin cells where it provides moisture, firmness and plumpness, but over time your natural hyaluronic acid diminishes. That’s where temporary synthetic hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane or Juvederm can lend a helping hand. “When injected properly and for the right patient and area, [hyaluronic acid fillers] can have excellent results,” says Khuthaila. “They may be injected in small areas like under the eyes for the hollowness and dark circles in young women to reduce the appearance of tiredness." Unnaturally plump lips is often the tell-tale sign filler use. Plus, the injection sites may experience swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness or areas of hardness in the treatment area. REALSELF.COM RATING: 77 percent worth it.
5. Nonsurgical Nose Job
A nonsurgical nose job uses temporary, semipermanent or permanent injectable fillers to straighten the bridge of the nose, smooth out a dorsal hump or contour the bridge of the nose. A nonsurgical nose job is a quick procedure that can offer immediate results with little downtime. It is successful at helping to smooth out a dorsal hump and, if temporary fillers are used, to provide a preview for those on the fence about getting a real rhinoplasty. Still, the procedure can only address the bridge of the nose and can use either temporary or semitemporary fillers (which lasts eight to 18 months and will require upkeep) or permanent fillers (which can not be reversed if you are not happy with the results). REALSELF.COM RATING: 95 percent worth it.
6. Laser Hair Removal
The third most popular nonsurgical beauty treatment of 2014, laser hair removal is a fairly affordable and painless way to get rid of hair. Patients can opt for in-office treatments or DIY home devices, such as the Tria Laser Hair Remover, that work by directing concentrated beams of light toward the hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorbs the light, which destroys the hair and damages the follicle enough to slow or even prevent future growth. Laser hair removal is suitable for almost everywhere on the body and can be performed on the legs, arms, hands, underarms, bikini area, back, toes, upper lip and chin. Most areas will require three to six treatment sessions, but, because laser hair removal works best for patients with light skin and dark, coarse hair, people with light skin and light hair or dark skin and dark hair may have little to no results. It also carries a risk of burns from the laser, post-treatment hyperpigmentation or lackluster results, most of which can be avoided by going to a well-trained professional. “[Technicians] need to assess the skin type and dial in the appropriate strength for the skin type, otherwise the results can range from ineffective to burns,” says Khuthaila. REALSELF.COM RATING: 81 percent worth it.
7. Chemical Peel
In the top five most popular treatments for 2014, chemical peels work to renew and resurface the skin by damaging the outer layers, allowing them to slough off and forcing the body to repair itself with the creation of new skin cells. Chemical peels range from mild OTC glycolic acid pads to medium peels, such as those using salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid (TCA), to deeper ones like phenol peels that should only be applied by a trained doctor. Mild peels could help brighten your skin, tighten pores, lighten hyperpigmentation and smooth fine lines. Deep peels can truly resurface your skin, eliminating acne scars, wrinkles and sun damage, but your skin will be sensitive and red after a chemical peel and may, as the name suggests, actually peel like a bad sunburn for seven to 10 days following, especially with medium to deep peels. Whatever type of peel you get, make sure it’s from a trained technician. “Peels should be done by an expert in a medical office, otherwise complications like burns or hyperpigmentation can occur,” warns Khuthaila. REALSELF.COM RATING: 75 percent worth it.
Latisse is a prescription treatment for hypotrichosis (the condition of having inadequate or not enough lashes) that helps patients to grow longer, darker and fuller eyelashes. “[Latisse] really works great,” says Jonathan Kaplan, MD, MPH, of Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery and BuildMyBod.com. “It truly does thicken, lengthen and darken the lashes and starts to work in about four weeks.” Latisse can also be used to increase eyebrow growth as well. Beware of self-application, however. According to the Latisse website, hair may grow on skin that the product repeatedly touches, so careful application is paramount. Another common risk is the darkening of skin around the eyes. As for the story about Latisse making blue eyes turn brown? For the most part it’s untrue. Instead of carefully painting it onto your lashes, you’d need to pour the entire bottle directly into your eye to risk that dramatic of a change. REALSELF.COM RATING: 81 percent worth it.
9. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
IPL uses high-intensity pulses of light to improve a number of skin conditions, including sun damage, rosacea, freckles, age spots, broken capillaries, melasma and others. IPL can also be used for hair removal, but is often not as effective as laser hair removal. (IPL delivers many wavelengths in each light pulse instead of just one wavelength as with a laser.) IPL treatments require little to no downtime, but three to six treatments are recommended. Most patients will experience a reddening and slight soreness after the procedure. Rare side effects include blistering, bruising, the creation of dark or light patches on the skin or hair loss. REALSELF.COM RATING: 65 percent worth it.
10. Double Chin Removal
One of the latest additions to the nonsurgical beauty toolbox is Kybella, an FDA-approved injection that destroys fat cells in the chin (or submental area). Kybella offers a surgery-free way to eliminate a double chin without any scarring. Since the results are gradual, patients don’t have to explain a dramatic change. When injected properly, all other cells are left healthy and intact, but “it can also destroy the skin if inadvertently injected into it,” says Khuthaila. Patients may need multiple injection treatments, so the results are not immediate. The most common side effects of Kybella include swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness and areas of hardness in the treatment area, but it can also have serious side effects like nerve injury in the jaw that can cause an uneven smile or facial-muscle weakness and trouble swallowing. REALSELF.COM RATING: Not enough data for a rating.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever gotten any of these treatments? We want to hear about your experience! Share your story in the comments below.