You may get more value by seeing a doctor for beauty solutions than by shopping for treatments at the department store. Stores can charge between $300 and $600 – and even as much as $1,000 — for topical, volumizing, anti-wrinkle creams. But a similar amount spent on the right treatment at your doctor’s office can often give you better, longer-lasting results.
It is true that beauty products have never been better. The jars and bottles on drugstore shelves and on sale at your doctor’s office or spa actually offer more than “hope in jar” these days. Retinols, glycolic, antioxidants, and a host of other cutting-edge ingredients can help to smooth and perfect your skin as well as slow down the signs of aging. But a trip to a skilled physician can actually turn back time – at least when you look in the mirror.If you think that doctors have nothing to offer you because you don’t like Botox because it is “toxic” and you don’t want a frozen look, think again!A little Botox can work wonders to smooth out a few creases or get rid of permanently “angry” or “tired” expressions. A skilled injector won’t make anyone look frozen. If you see someone with a frozen look, they either like that look – and some women do – or they did not choose their doctor well. A skilled injector can even out the creases and still leave plenty of “emotion” in your face.The same can be said for dermal fillers. In the hands of skilled injector, fillers can take years off your face. But get the wrong doctor and you may end up looking like a cabbage-patch doll.Injections are just a part of what you can find at your doctor’s office today. I recently chatted with Dr. Miles H. Graivier, a top board-certified plastic surgeon in Atlanta about Pellevé and other new treatments that are available to make your skin look fresher, younger, or even tighter and firmer.I even tried Pellevé, one of the newest non-invasive skin-tightening treatments. Pellevé uses radio frequencies to heat the underlying layers of the dermis, where the skin and fat layer come together. The heat causes the collagen bundles to contract. This stimulates the growth of new collagen over time. The result is firmer, tighter skin. Best of all, there is no down time or pain!I was interested in trying it, as I had tried Thermage, another radio frequency firming treatment years ago. I was surprised that the Pellevé treatment was so relaxing, even pleasant. Thermage had been very painful. The Pellevé treatment even helped to banish the headache I had felt coming on from driving in Atlanta traffic.I laid back and relaxed as Babette, the skilled RN at North Atlanta Plastic Surgery and Day Spa, focused on “lifting and contouring” my face. Babette carefully monitored the temperature of my face and moved the Pellevé wand before it became too hot or uncomfortable.Dr. Graivier, a recognized expert in aesthetic surgery told me “we don’t have to hurt people to get results”. (This should reassure anyone who is afraid of pain or squeamish about treatments.) Dr. Graivier explained “it’s more effective to do gentler treatments more often. We recommend two to four (Pellevé) treatments a week apart.”Dr. Graivier told me he was able to use Pellevé in his practice to help his patients get the look they want. He explained that even after a perfect facelift, the skin can still need rejuvenation. “As we age we lose volume and treatment like Pelleve can help rebuild collagen and plump the skin so it looks better.”The treatment covered my entire face and neck. Babette paid special attention to the areas of my face that bother me – my lower jaw line and under my chin. She also worked around my eyes to tighten and lift the lids and brows.Dr. Graivier described Pellevé as “non-invasive, even pleasant, treatment for correction of fine wrinkles, periorbital and around eyes and fighting of skin at the eye brows, as well as some neck and jaw facial skin toughening.” According to Dr. Graivier, patients can see some tightening after one treatment, but they can improve the results with two to four treatments, one or two weeks apart.Botulinal Toxins and fillers are often added to enhance the results of skin tightening. It became clear in speaking with Dr. Graivier that a doctor’s expertise can be the key to a happy outcome for any cosmetic procedure. Dr. Graivier explained that “expectations have to be managed… often a patient will come in asking for a procedure that isn’t right for them or won’t give them the results they want – or expect.”I had two Pellevé treatments. The results are subtle, but discernable. I like the way it softened the little lines around my eyes. I also noticed a subtle firming.Pellevé is not a substitute for a facelift. It won’t replace fillers and Botox for most women, although women who are adamantly anti-injection may find it a good option on its own. It is a wonderful treatment to tone and firm your face and soften light lines.Dr. Graivier recommends Pellevé for patients in their late 30s to early 50s, as well as for his post surgical patients, age 40 to 60, to give the skin a better texture and additional tightening.I was surprised to hear that Pellevé is even effective for smoothing out bumps from fillers or acne. Dr. Graivier told me that he has been able to help patients with those issues using Pellevé.Don’t assume that treatments at a doctor’s office aren’t for you; they have lots to offer. New treatments and injectables are coming out all the time. Choose your doctor carefully and the results will be subtle and natural looking. Ask to see photos of his or her work, and check out your doctor’s qualifications. Dr. Graivier and I agreed "you can’t teach aesthetics." Photos can tell you if you and doctor have the same taste, and how well the doctor is able to execute the procedure.Darlings, with a good beauty régime, healthful habits, and a little help from the right doctor, who says you can’t slow down the aging process?