We live in an exciting era of medicine where you really can get instant results that make you look and feel better, without the downtime or hassle of surgery. In the Twin Cities, the Fountain of Youth may be as close as the nearest clinic or spa where local experts have a range of effective treatments and products to help you make the changes you desire.
Cosmetic medicine has evolved from painful procedures of the past that often required lots of downtime and offered results that didn’t always look natural or last long. Today, cosmetic medicine has become a routine choice for people looking to improve their appearance, or those with tissue or muscle trauma—like severe burns or sports injuries. They’re performed with cutting-edge technology to ease the pain and offer more options—making it more affordable now than ever before.
Easing the effects of aging continues to be the number one reason people seek cosmetic treatments, and those treatments have evolved. “In 2015, we saw our biggest growth in injectables—particularly longer-lasting injectables such as Voluma and Sculptra,” says Kristi Langemo, practice manager at Skin Rejuvenation Clinic. Gel-based Voluma and poly-l lactic acid-based Sculptra are injectables that plump sagging skin around the cheeks, eyes, and other areas affected by aging and weight fluctuation.
Medicine’s ability to repurpose the body’s DNA for natural therapies extends to injectables as well. “One of the biggest advancements in aesthetic medicine is platelet-rich plasma (PRP), where we use the patient’s own growth factors and cytokines to stimulate collagen and elastin production to make the skin look more youthful and vibrant,” says Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and medical director at Crutchfield Dermatology. After a blood draw, plasma is separated into PRP, which is then injected into the problem areas—plumping fine lines, fixing under-eye discoloration, or correcting tissue from a sports injury. “PRP has been used [in athletic injuries] for years, but we’re using it in the skin now with remarkable results,” Crutchfield adds.
At My Dermatologist, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Malinee Saxena says, “We use peels and a Micropen to improve skin texture and tone, and lasers to improve redness and skin tone.” The Micropen, about the size of an electric toothbrush, uses disposable cartridges, which contain small needles that prick the skin to boost collagen and elastin regeneration. The Micropen’s small size allows for precise targeting of areas like acne spots, scars, and fine lines.
Another procedure, ThermiTight, also boosts collagen and tightens skin, but in a different way. A small probe is inserted under the skin and radiofrequency energy is applied to targeted areas to stimulate collagen to tighten loose skin or wrinkles. Though results are immediate, it takes up to six months to see final results. Because ThermiTight works underneath the skin, it is an effective option for all skin colors.
For whole-face rejuvenation, Halo Hybrid laser therapy is appealing for its faster healing time than lasers of the past. “You can receive the benefit of an aggressive laser without having to go into hiding,” Langemo says. Though there is no downtime, redness lasts from two to five days, depending on the person and size of treated areas.
Comprehensive treatments that include a combination of injectables and lasers are also available, like the Liquid Facelift. “It’s lots of little treatments including Botox, fillers, platelet-rich plasma, light chemical peels, and laser treatments that have a dramatic effect on the skin that’s both long-lasting and rivaling results of some facelift procedures without any surgical downtime,” Crutchfield explains. Depending on your needs, the Liquid Facelift takes 20 minutes to an hour, and results can knock five to 15 years off your face.
Discoloration, crooked smile, and trauma to the mouth and gums from injury or teeth grinding are reasons people seek help from specialists like Dr. Thomas B. Morgan at Babcock & Morgan Family Dental. Store-bought teeth-whitening products can leave people with lackluster or short-lived results. “That’s when they turn to an experienced cosmetic dentist who can offer many options to enhance their smile,” Morgan says.
His most common makeover request is teeth-whitening treatments and procedures. These relatively simple procedures can reap fast and effective results. “Changing out old, discolored fillings for new white ones or switching out silver fillings for tooth-colored fillings can all make a huge difference,” he says.
Contouring isn’t just a makeup technique; it’s also a trending body treatment that eliminates stubborn fat and sculpts the body. “Coolsculpting is an excellent treatment to melt away unwanted fat in specific areas: the tummy fat under the belly button, love handles, the fat seen with tight sweaters that pokes out above and below bras,” says Crutchfield. Since fat is more susceptible to cold than muscle, Coolsculpting effectively freezes targeted fat cells, and over time those fat cells are metabolized and eliminated by the body. While it’s not recommended for weight loss, it does eliminate pockets of fat. Athletes who want to firm loose skin around muscles may also benefit from Coolsculpting.
Another way to banish fat is with Kybella. “An FDA-approved treatment for double chins, Kybella involves a 15-minute session in which a medication is injected [to the target area] that dissolves the fat under the chin,” says Dr. Adam Lokeh, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and owner of Twin Cities Plastic Surgery.
Everyone wants a quick fix, so reducing downtime and maximizing results continues to be a priority. “People are looking for treatments without going under the knife or having to take time off work, and procedures that don’t involve general anesthesia,” Lokeh says, adding that he’s seen an increase in requests for therapies like Tickle Liposuction, an in-office procedure in which a vibrating wand is inserted into areas of the body—like the abdomen—where excess fat is stored, and sucks out the fat. Lokeh adds that Tickle Lipo is low-risk and performed under local anesthesia, with immediate results. “It’s impressive,” he says. “When [we are done], I can show the patient a canister with 1 or 2 liters of their fat I’ve just taken out of them.”
For women, an emerging anti-aging trend is non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation. “There are several technologies on the market,” says Dr. Lisa Erhard, CEO and medical director at Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa. “We offer MonaLisa Touch, which offers relief from vaginal dryness, looseness, leaky bladder, and sexual dysfunction,” she adds. Women who have undergone chemotherapy or hysterectomies, which change the body’s chemistry, may also benefit. “MonaLisa Touch allows a woman to feel better and become more active again, and perhaps even invigorate her relationship with a significant other or spouse,” Erhard says.
Feeling your best is important, and all the experts echoed Morgan’s sentiments regarding cosmetic treatments: “When a patient comes back in after we’ve done some form of cosmetic enhancement, and they say they are no longer self-conscious, that is the most gratifying part of my job. Having the opportunity to make someone feel good and look their best is an amazing feeling.”
Dr. Lisa Erhard and Kristi Langemo share their product picks for healthy glowing skin.
Sleep on it. The slow-release retinol works as you sleep to keep skin looking youthful, as well as nourishing it with vitamins C and E. SkinTX 1% Retinol SR ($98), by VivierPharma, available at several metro-area clinics, including Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa, wayzataplasticsurgery.com
Fast fix. This serum absorbs into skin quickly, balancing tone and texture. VivierSkin C+E Peptides ($150), also by VivierPharma, from Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa
Sun warrior. This high SPF works on sensitive skin or someone who’s just had a skin treatment and needs extra protection. VivierSkin Sun Protection SPF 45 ($41), also by VivierPharma, from Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa
Undercover protection. This SPF/anti-aging cream is effective on its own or under makeup. Intellishade Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 ($52), by Revision Skincare, from several metro locations, including Skin Rejuvenation Clinic, skinrejuvenationclinic.net