Thinking about getting a cosmetic procedure? Well, you aren’t alone. As per a survey done by the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, 52% of consumers are considering a cosmetic skin procedure. In fact, dermatologists were the physician of choice for many of the cosmetic procedures.There are many great non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures available that can help with skin tightening, treating wrinkles, removing scars, tattoos and birthmarks, lip augementation, getting rid of fat/bodysculpting. However, before you get any treatment, it is very important to considerthe following 5 tips.
- Think about what your goals are.Give some thought to what you are looking to achieve. Is it the softening of some wrinkles, removal of red/brown spots, or reshaping your nose? Knowing what you are looking for and being able to articulate it will help define the next steps to take.
- Set up a consultation.Once you have a sense of what you are looking to do, go in and speak to a physician with expertise in the type of procedure you are looking for. The majority of lasers, device and non-invasive procedures such as Botox and filler injections were pioneered by dermatologists, whereas a procedure like a rhinoplasty (nose job) or breast implants would be more in the domain of plastic surgery. The consultation gives you an opportunity to discuss the procedure, the risks, expected downtime, and expectations for results. It also gives you an opportunity to see if you like and trust the physician. Always ask who is performing the procedure. Confirm that your physician is not just “board certified” but has formal training in dermatology or plastic surgery.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.If you are told a procedure has no side effects, it probably doesn’t work or the person consulting with you does not have enough experience to understand that any procedure that gives results, comes with potential side effects. Now that doesn’t mean that many procedure can’t be done very safely and with minimal downtime, but a proper informed consent includes a discussion of even the most uncommon of potential side effects that may be serious. Even a procedure as common as laser hair removal comes with some serious risks that can be avoided by an experienced provider.
- Less is more.If you are unsure of what you want to do, don’t feel pressured to undertake or do any procedures. Remember these type of procedures are elective, and should only be done, if you feel confident in the plan you have made with your physician. If you have not done any cosmetic procedures, start slow. Non-invasive procedures like lasers and injectables can give you a refreshed and rejuvenated look and be subtle enough that no one will be able to tell exactly what it is that you have done. My happiest patients are those who come back and say their friends tell them how great they look but aren’t able to tell they had any work done.
- Safety first.Beware of choosing to have a procedure done at a medical spa or office solely because of price. Low prices may sometimes be an indicator that the office lacks proper training, or is not busy enough. Just because a medical spa has a laser does not mean that it provides the equivalent expertise that one would get at a physician’s office. One interesting FACT that most people are unaware of is that 75% of recent lawsuits involving lasers/devices occur in the hands of non-physician operators and predominantly in a medical spa setting. Feel free to look for the best deals possible when you shop for clothing but do not gamble with the health and safety of your skin. The best upfront price does not always equal best value.
Dr. Omar Ibrahimi is the founding medical director of Connecticut Skin Institute. He is a Harvard trained dermatologist and a world leader in skin cancer, laser and cosmetic surgery.