The winter months are perfect for hibernation, but once the warm weather hits, our social calendars start picking up again. Summer is the peak season for social engagements like weekend BBQs and weddings. While there are a number of cosmetic procedures that are not recommended during the summertime (mostly because they can cause sensitivity to sun exposure), there are five treatments we highly recommend to put your best foot forward.
Body sculpting, also known as body contouring and body shaping, is a treatment that removes fat deposits under the skin. There are many types of treatments that fall under the body sculpting umbrella, but some are more invasive than others. For instance, liposuction is a surgical procedure that permanently removes fat cells and has a longer downtime. Because of its invasive nature, liposuction often requires patients to wear a compression bandage for several weeks to aid the healing process. Fortunately, there are other body sculpting alternatives that will allow you to bounce back quicker and squeeze in more beach time.
Non-surgical body sculpting treatments include technologies like CoolSculpting®, SculpSure®, and UltraShape®. Instead of surgically removing the fat, they work by freezing fat cells or administering intense heat by means of ultrasound or radiofrequency. Like liposuction, they can be used to reshape a variety of areas, like the stomach, thighs, love handles, butt, or upper arms. There is a minimal recovery period though many patients experience some redness and swelling afterward.
Each body sculpting procedure does something different. For instance, cryolipolysis devices, such as CoolSculpting®, destroy excess fatty tissue but do not do much for skin tightening. Radiofrequency devices like Ultherapy® and Exilis® are skin tightening procedures that do not remove much fatty tissue.
“Many patients do a combination of both the fat reducing and skin tightening modalities to hit both issues to improve body sculpting for the summer,” board certified plastic surgeon Roger Tsai, MD, shares. “As far as which is better than the other, they are all fairly comparable and will depend on each person's individual goals.”
It is important to keep in mind that the treatments can take 12 to 16 weeks to see full results and that results will be significant but not as strong as a surgical procedure like liposuction. So make sure to plan ahead – you won't see overnight results.
For non-invasive body sculpting treatments, it can take at least two to three treatments to get the desired results. “Although there is significantly less downtime and patients can go back to normal activities right away, it is not quite as powerful and sometimes takes longer to get the desired results due to the number of treatments it takes to get there,” Dr. Tsai explains. “If the surgical route is performed, this will provide the most powerful sculpting and is done in one shot. However, depending on what is actually performed, it could take one to three months for the body to heal.”
Unlike a lot of other facial treatments, like chemical peels, injectables do not have negative interactions with the harsh summer sun, making it a perfect treatment for summertime. Injectable dermal fillers are soft tissue fillers that restore volume and smooth out fine lines. They work quickly to reduce signs of aging and have minimal downtime, and last anywhere from six months to two years. Which means you can get back to your summertime activities in no time.
Board certified dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, recommends dermal filler during the summer because it does not matter if you are exposed to the sun or not. “Filling up a little hollowing under the eyes can make one look very refreshed for the summer,” Dr. Karcher says. “Putting a little filler where the lips turn down can make one look refreshed and happy.”
There are many types of dermal fillers, but the most common include hyaluronic acid (e.g. Juvéderm®, Belotero® or Restylane®), collagen, calcium hydroxylapatite (e.g. Radiesse®), and PPLA (e.g. Sculptra®). Dr. Karcher recommends any of them for use during the summer.
Similar to dermal fillers, Botox® is another non-invasive way to smooth out unwanted facial lines and wrinkles. Botox® is a brand name for the generic drug botulinum toxin, which works by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles.
In addition to reducing signs of aging, it can also slim out the face, making it the perfect alternative to more invasive facial slimming procedures. Botox® gets injected into the muscle responsible for chewing, called the masseter muscle. It relaxes that muscle, rounding out the jawline and slimming down the cheeks. Dr. Karcher recommends Botox® in the crows feet to help keep from squinting or in the frown lines keep from looking upset. It can also be used in the armpits to help curb excess sweating.
There is no downtime with Botox®, and sun exposure does not affect it. “There’s no special skincare needed after Botox®,” Dr. Karcher says. “You can continue whatever skincare process works for you.”
It can take around two weeks to see noticeable results and its effects will last around three to four months, giving you a slimmer looking face all summer long.
If you are looking for something a little more impactful than Botox® or fillers, Ultherapy® might be a good option. The procedure is different than traditional laser treatments because it uses ultrasound energy which stimulated collagen production. As a result, it tightens and lifts the skin, giving its patients a more youthful appearance. Similar to a facelift, it treats loose skin around the neck and chin and smooths out unwanted lines and wrinkles around the chest.
Ultherapy® is a non-invasive treatment so its results are not as strong as a traditional facelift, but it is a great alternative for those who are not ready to commit to a surgery or who want a speedier recovery.
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