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Cosmetic Procedures: Injections, Fillers, Lasers and Peels

Cosmetic procedures, also known as aesthetic procedures, are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people seek to improve their appearance and boost their self-confidence. These procedures can range from non-invasive treatments like Botox injections and chemical peels to more invasive procedures. With advancements in technology and an increase in the availability of these procedures, more individuals are now able to enhance their physical features and achieve their desired look. However, before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, it is important to understand the risks and benefits involved, as well as to have realistic expectations about the outcome. This article will explore the different types of cosmetic procedures available, the reasons why people choose to undergo these procedures, and the potential risks and benefits associated with them.

What are the Different Types Of Cosmetic Procedures?

Botox injections

Botox is a brand name for botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When botox is injected into a muscle, it causes temporary paralysis of that muscle by blocking the transmission of nerve impulses. This can be used for cosmetic purposes to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as for medical purposes such as reducing muscle spasms and excessive sweating. The procedure typically involves injecting small amounts of the toxin into specific muscles using a fine needle. The effects of the treatment usually last for several months before the muscle function returns to normal (1).

When Botox is injected into a muscle, it acts on the nerve endings that control the muscle fibers, preventing them from releasing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that activates the muscle (2). This results in the temporary paralysis of the injected muscle, which can be used to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines by relaxing the underlying muscles that cause the skin to crease.

When the botulinum toxin ends up in your muscles, thanks to a protein – degrading enzyme, it gets inside the nerve terminals communicating with the facial muscle. From there, it inhibits the release of acetylcholine which in normal conditions is responsible for the muscle contraction; therefore inhibited acetylcholine = no muscle contraction = no wrinkles since wrinkles are formed because of repetetive facial muscles contractions.

The procedure is usually performed by a trained medical professional, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, using a fine needle to inject small amounts of the toxin into specific facial muscles. The treatment typically takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless, although some people may experience minor side effects such as redness or swelling at the injection site.

The effects of Botox typically last for several months before the muscle function returns to normal, at which point the treatment can be repeated to maintain the desired results. It is important to note that Botox is only approved for use in certain facial muscles, and should not be injected into other areas of the body.

Cosmetic Dermal Fillers

The so – called “dermal fillers” are basically hyaluronic acid injections (3). They can be safely performed at miscellaneous sites of our body – wherever one needs volume increase and a more ‘plumpy’ or ‘juicy’ look.

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally present in our skin. Chemically speaking, it is a very big glycosaminoglycan molecule which has a very high amount of biding sites. At once, one hyaluronic acid molecule can bind tens of water molecules – imagine how much water can be gathered in one place if there are hundreds of hyaluronic acid molecules (4). This is what happens during the procedure – immense amount of water is being bound to the injected hyaluronic acid, increasing the volume of the injected area.

The duration time of the effects really do vary from 9 months to one year and even longer depending on the injection site and the concentration. In some cases, you can prolong the results by massaging the treated area.

Since hyaluronic acid doesn’t affect the nerves nor the muscles, the possible side effects are limited to eventual skin irritation, redness, pain or swelling.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a common procedure in cosmetic dermatology that involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the outer layers of skin to peel off. This can help to improve the appearance of the skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars, as well as improving the tone and texture of the skin.

There are different types of chemical peels that can be used, and the specific peel that is best suited for a particular patient will depend on their individual skin type and concerns. Chemical peels are classified based on the depth of the peel, with lighter peels only affecting the outermost layers of skin and deeper peels reaching the deeper layers of skin.

Chemical peels are usually performed by a trained medical professional, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, in an office setting. The procedure may involve the use of a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area, and some patients may experience minor side effects such as redness, swelling, or sensitivity to light after the treatment. It is important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by the medical professional to ensure the best possible results.

Such peels, microdermabrasion, give a great boost to your skin and when done regularly, they can really help with e.g. acne, hyperpigmentation or skin – aging.

Photodynamic Therapy

It has been proven in multiple studies that light of various wavelengths can do wonders to multiple skin ailments like acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. During the first step of the procedure, a photosensitive agent is being administered and later transported through blood to the specific cells of your skin. Then, the agent is being activated so it can absorb the health – giving light. If you worry that the light might disturb your healthy skin cells, you can stay calm – the agent has strong affinity for the abnormal cells and the light itself does not affect the cells without the agent.

Photodynamic therapy is a long – term treatment with promising results. Among its advantages you can surely find that it is safe and that the light can always be altered to the needs you have at the very moment. Normally you have to repeat the sessions every week so it may pose a problem to some patients.

Lasers

Lasers are commonly used in cosmetic dermatology to treat a variety of skin conditions and imperfections. Different types of lasers can be used depending on the specific treatment being performed, and each type of laser has its own unique set of characteristics that make it suitable for certain procedures.

Some common uses for lasers in cosmetic dermatology include:

  • Resurfacing the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars
  • Removing unwanted hair
  • Reducing the appearance of spider veins and broken blood vessels
  • Improving the tone and texture of the skin
  • Removing age spots, freckles, and other types of pigmentation
  • Reducing the size of enlarged pores

Laser treatments are usually performed by a trained medical professional, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, and can be done in an office setting. The procedure may involve the use of a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area, and some patients may experience minor side effects such as redness, swelling, or sensitivity to light after the treatment.

Cosmetic injectables and fillers, exfoliating and laser treatments

Cosmetic dermatology is a great ally to delay the aging process. Wrinkles and facial blemishes, sagging skin, and loss of volume are the main symptoms of skin aging. Although aging is a natural process, it is possible to delay or reduce its expression with a healthy lifestyle.

Facial wrinkles and expression lines can appear by 2 mechanisms: First, the natural loss of skin volume, this occurs due to the decrease in the production of substances such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin, secondly, the action of environmental factors, such as sun exposure and free radicals.

Medical techniques and anti-aging treatment options are in continuous progress, seeking better results. Cosmetic dermatology has been recognized for its minimally invasive treatments and effectiveness in reducing facial wrinkles, with short-term results and lasting effects.

Also see cosmetic microneedling.

Cosmetic Dermatology Treatments

Cosmetic Injectables and fillers

Dermatological injectable fillers are the most used treatment for wrinkle management, this procedure is minimally invasive with a high percentage of effectiveness.

This treatment in injections directly on wrinkles and facial expression lines previously marked, the needles used are extremely thin, an anesthetic cream can be applied to reduce discomfort in some cases, usually they are short punctures.

After the procedure, redness may occur in the treated areas, to reduce it is recommended to apply cold compresses.

FDA-approved injectable cosmetic fillers

  • Collagen

Collagen is a protein produced naturally by the body, this protein composes the structure of the skin and other tissues, aging can reduce its production. These injections are made based on organic collagen. The application of collagen favors the filling of facial wrinkles while increasing the production of organic collagen (5).

  • Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid, elastin, and collagen form the basis of the skin, these compounds are the dermal support, and their function is to maintain the firmness and volume of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is the natural compound responsible for retaining skin moisture. The hyaluronic acid treatment produces deep hydration of the dermal tissue.

  • Calcium hydroxyapatite

Calcium hydroxyapatite is a substance present in bone tissue, its synthetic version is applied in gel form, the effect of calcium hydroxyapatite is to stimulate the production of collagen, it helps to improve the lower sagging areas such as the neck and the lower face.

  • L-polylactic acid

L-polylactic acid is an injectable filler of synthetic origin with biodegradable qualities and compatible with organic tissues, this compound does not cause adverse reactions, the treatment of acid-l-polylactic is used to produce wrinkle filler and soft tissue harmony facial

  • Injection filling time

All injectable cosmetic fillers are resorbable substances because their effects have a limited duration, the average time is 6 months to 1 year, after this time it is necessary to repeat the procedure.

  • Exfoliation

Exfoliation involves the removal of dead skin cells accumulated in the skin, this is a process of renewal that occurs naturally, accumulating these dead cells on the surface does not allow proper nutrition of the skin, also creates an opaque appearance and thickened, accentuating facial wrinkles and expression lines.

Another type of treatment for improving esthetics is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection.

COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY-Injections-fillers lasers and peels infographic

Exfoliation process can be done through two mechanisms:

Physical exfoliation or microdermabrasion

To perform physical exfoliation abrasive elements such as sugar, salt, clay, sponge brushes, among other materials are used, these produce a skin scan, eliminating dead cells. This type of exfoliation can easily be done at home, its reach is only up to the superficial layer of the epidermis.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a process that is performed with dermatological equipment, this process can reach the middle layer of the epidermis. The microdermabrasion removes dead cells, also decreases or eliminates fine wrinkles or expression lines, this procedure can eliminate facial blemishes and scars.

Chemical peel

Chemical exfoliation is one of the most used dermatological treatments, its process consists of exfoliating the skin through the application of chemical substances, usually acidic substances, the most used compounds are phenol, glycolic acid, salicylic acid and combinations with other substances as ethanol.

The choice of chemical substance will depend on the type of peeling (soft, intermediate, deep) and skin type (dry, oily, sensitive). Intermediate and deep chemical peels can reach the dermis layer. Chemical peels can be used to treat deep facial wrinkles.

Recovery time between each exfoliation

Exfoliations help to remove the cellular waste tissue, for this reason, it is necessary recovery time and cell formation after each exfoliation, the time may vary depending on the type of exfoliation.

Homemade scrubs can be repeated once a week or twice a month, depending on the skin type and the treatment used.

Dermabrasion can be performed for several sessions per month, depending on the objectives to be achieved with the treatment.

For chemical peels, the peel must be a minimum of 5 to 6 weeks in duration between sessions. An intermediate chemical peel can be repeated between 3 to 9 months after the first session, and deep peels should be done only once.

The skin may be sensitive and red after exfoliation, after this procedure you should use moisturizers, cold packs and rest in a cool environment to reduce discomfort. It is necessary to use sunscreen for the skin.

Laser treatment

The laser treatment uses the energy of the amplified light, this photon activity is capable of generating biological responses, stimulating the production of collagen and changes in skin pigmentation. The types of light usually involved are infrared and ultraviolet light.

Laser skin resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is an exfoliation made with light energy, this type of treatment is possible to eliminate facial wrinkles and scars, thanks to the fact that it stimulates the production collagen, generating a tensor effect on the skin, significantly improving its appearance and texture.

Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are light beams of different filtered wavelengths, this treatment is indicated in the management of sunspots, small moles, small vascular spiders, expression lines and facial wrinkles. IPL therapy helps the production of collagen, improving the hydration and volume of the skin.

Ultrasound therapy

Ultrasound therapy in specific areas is indicated for the treatment of sagging skin and loss of volume. This therapy is useful to recover the facial contour, improving the lower edge of the face (mandibular edge) and the neck area, it can also be used to raise the eyelids and decrease sagging. Ultrasound therapy favors blood circulation, stimulation of collagen and elastin.

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a cosmetic procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. It is also known as cryotherapy or cryoablation. In cosmetic cryosurgery, the procedure is typically used to remove skin lesions, such as warts, moles, and skin tags. It can also be used to treat conditions such as actinic keratosis (precancerous lesions caused by sun damage) and acne.

Electrodesiccation

Electrodesiccation is a cosmetic procedure that involves the use of a high-frequency current to destroy tissue and stop bleeding. The procedure is typically used to remove skin growths such as warts, skin tags, and moles. It can also be used to treat superficial skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, and to smooth out rough skin texture.

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