Knives and needles. They’re the instruments of the plastic surgeons assigned to add synthetic beauty to women in the United States and abroad. And they do well – last year, the average plastic surgeon pulled in a cool $322,220.
According to the American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, cosmetic surgeries have increased by almost 200% since 1997. Roughly 9.2 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States in 2011, of which almost 8.7 million were women. The total cost? Almost $10 billion.
Why the surge in cosmetic procedures? There may be several, but one of the more predominant factors may be that older Americans are lingering in the work force. That puts them in direct competition with younger co-workers in a society that is admittedly obsessed with beauty and looks. Good-looking people get the job, the promotion, the benefit of the doubt. Or so we think.
There is nothing wrong with cosmetic surgery. But there’s more going on here than a tummy tuck to tighten a once sexy abdominal region come the warm days of summer. Case in point: just recently a mother in California took much criticism for providing Botox injections to her daughter.
The girl is eight years old.
That’s just wrong. And it underscores just how deep our infatuation with beauty goes, and the extremities we’ll undergo to look beautiful. It’s easier to pay for an external fix than it is to embrace a healthy lifestyle and nurture something that’s healthier, and frankly, more attractive: natural beauty.
Cosmetic treatments can make you look younger, but at what cost? Not only is it expensive and sometimes painful, it’s not real. And there’s often a stigma attached – a Canadian study found that women who used Botox were judged harshly compared to women who aged naturally.
You’re not wrong to want to look young and beautiful. And there are many cases when cosmetic surgery is an effective and more appropriate course of action. But more often than not, there’s a more natural, healthier route to the same destination.
There are natural alternatives to many of the most popular cosmetic procedures. Consider natural skin care, for example, which can treat wrinkles, reduce stretch marks, fade bags under and lines around the eyes and even reduce scars and produce a smooth complexion. We’ll cover that later.
Or think about natural breast augmentation. While it’s doubtful you’ll go up a full cup size, a natural breast therapy can reduce sagging, rejuvenate breast tissue, add lift. And at least one study suggests that some phytonutrients can even increase the volume of breast tissue, meaning, yup, larger breasts.
There are natural alternatives to the cosmetic procedures that Americans pursue in their endless pursuit of youth and beauty. They’re not only safer, in many cases they’re just as effective as the Botoxes, the tummy tucks, the dermabrasions and the cosmetic alterations we do to our bodies.
A surgical procedure is a permanent alteration to the body. Unlike injections, and non-invasive cosmetic treatments that can be done without hospitalization, this is surgery we’re talking about. The doctors, the OR, the scalpels, the real deal.
Liposuction is not a substitute for diet and exercise. If you’re interested in liposuction just to slim down, skip it.
In 2011, liposuction was the most-performed surgical procedure in the United States. Trailing that were breast augmentation, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), eyelid surgery and the breast lift. Two-thirds of the women who did breast augmentation chose silicone implants, which were banned for 14 years because of safety concerns. The ban was lifted in 2006.
Natural alternatives to cosmetic surgery, while not an instant fix, are an ongoing commitment, formulated with herbals and botanicals. In the case of natural breast enhancement, the process works with phytoestrogens.
The natural solutions mentioned in this article are less intrusive than going under a surgeon’s knife, for a noticeable improvement and emphasis on natural beauty. There is no natural alternative to weight-loss surgery. However, the procedure is so popular – and presents such health risks – that we’ll discuss it regardless, and when and if it’s right for you, if at all.
A wildly popular cosmetic procedure, liposuction removes fat deposits from specific regions of the body. It’s done to improve contour and body symmetry.
How it Works: A stainless steel tube, called a cannula, is attached to a suction pump that literally sucks out fatty tissue through small incisions made throughout the body.
Typical Patient: Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, can be performed on both men and women. The patient struggles with excess flabbiness that does not respond to diet or exercise. Liposuction is not recommended for smokers or patients with a life-threatening condition. Ideally, the patient has resilient skin, to reduce the scarring that often develops.
Related Procedures: Abdominoplasty, better known as the tummy tuck, which flattens the stomach and removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal region. Often done to reduce post-pregnancy sagging.
Risks: Liposuction is an invasive surgery. The more fat that is sucked out, the greater the risks. Complications include infection, skin damage, organ damage, burns, fluid imbalances, contour irregularities and more. A 2004 study published in Dermatologic Surgery cited the major complication risk at 0.14%.
Your Natural Alternative – Liposuction is not a substitute for diet and exercise. If you’re interested in liposuction just to slim down, skip it.
Instead, stop looking for a quick fix and watch your plate. Regular exercise is good, but diet is by far the most influential factor in that flab that shows up in unflattering ways. If you’re not prepared to make such a change, ask yourself if it’s worth diabetes, heart disease, higher health insurance premiums and your positive self image.
Consider lowering your carbohydrates to no more than 20% of your daily calorie intake. Swap processed foods for fruits and vegetables. Get your tail in the gym and stay with your new program of healthy diet and regular exercise. Give it at least two years. Is flab still a problem? Only then should you even consider the thought of liposuction.
Also called mastopexy, this tightens the skin surrounding the breast tissue, raising the breasts and with reduction of sagging. Costs typically run between $3,800 and $4,800.
How it Works: Performed while the patient is anesthetized, a surgical team cuts excess tissue and over-stretched ligaments and relocates the nipple-areola complex higher within the breast hemisphere.
Typical Patient: The average breast lift patient is younger. Most surgeons cite the end of breast development as the ideal time to perform the surgery. However, it can be performed postpartum. And it can be performed at any age, which may help women with breast ptosis – sagging breasts from the process of aging.
Related Procedures: Breast augmentation, be it for enlargement or restructuring the breasts via mammoplasty, are common surgical treatments to modify the breasts.
Risks: Like most forms of surgery, bleeding, infection and scarring are among the more common risk factors for this common cosmetic procedure. By most standards, it’s relatively safe, though care should be taken to manage bleeding and minimize risk of infection. And it can be painful.
Your Natural Alternative – Total Curve, a natural breast enhancement therapy drawing much praise from women who want to reduce sagging without the whole can of worms that is breast surgery.
While it’s doubtful you’ll go up a cup size, Total Curve is a daily supplement and a lifting and firming gel. The former is a series of safe and natural phytoestrogens, herbals and antioxidants that naturally mimic the effects of estrogen. The latter is formulated with Volufiline, which is clinically proven to increase breast size by up to 8.4% in just 60 days.
Total Curve is a natural alternative to breast lift surgery, for a noticeable and, many women would say, healthier reduction in sagging, for firm and more youthful breasts.
These are the temporary, yet common treatments that American women pursue in their quest for beauty. Less invasive than surgery, they can sometimes be done without a doctor.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Botox treatments are the most often-performed non-surgical cosmetic treatment in the United States, followed by hyaluronic acid-based fillers (for wrinkles), laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments to treat complexion.
Such treatments slow the aging process. They’re also expensive, sometimes painful and the anti-thesis of natural beauty. Let’s start at the top…
This is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium clostridium. In large amounts, it can cause a neuromuscular disease called botulism. Cosmetic Botox is used most often to treat wrinkles of the forehead, crow’s feet and laugh lines.
Notably, Botox does not treat wrinkles related to sun damage.
How it Works: Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. This relaxes the skin fibers and prevents the muscle contractions that develop into wrinkles. Administered as an injection, the effects last four to six months.
Typical Patient: Botox is very popular with women, beginning in the 40s. However, in a disturbing trend, many younger Americans are now turning to Botox – many are younger than 30 before their first set of injections. And then there’s the eight-year old, which, frankly, is just wrong any way you look at it.
Related Procedures: Filler injections of synthetic collagen. Though a different mechanism of action than Botox, filler injections are a popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure to treat wrinkles.
Risks: Here’s something you can tell folks the next time you’re at a cocktail party. Botox is a cosmetic form of the most powerful neurotoxin known to man. Four kilograms of the botulinum toxin, if evenly distributed, would be more than enough to kill every man, woman and child on the planet. Ouch.
Granted, we’re talking about very small doses of the stuff. No deaths are linked to cosmetic Botox, but side effects include headache, nausea, bruising and weakness of the facial muscles. Botox is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a neurological disease.
Your Natural Alternative – Instead of Botox, try Kollagen Intensiv, an anti-wrinkle cream from the Skinception line of skin care products that blends skin-friendly antioxidants and botanicals with patented peptides such as SYN-COLL, which is clinically proven to stimulate collagen production in healthy human fibroblasts by up to 354%.
Unlike Botox injections, which simply freeze the facial muscles, a natural anti-wrinkle cream like Kollagen Intensiv is designed to treat wrinkles regardless of origin, and thicken the facial skin with gentle ingredients.
Natural skin care advocates should note that Kollagen Intensiv is formulated with shea butter, retinol vitamin C, green tea leaf extract and hyaluronic acid.
Comparable results at roughly a tenth of the cost of Botox injections. No catty judgements passed among your friends either.
Microdermabrasion, or skin-planing, is a process in which the skin is frozen and ‘sanded’ away for new skin to take its place. Done to remove skin irregularities and for better complexion, the process is minimally invasive and can be performed in a spa.
Microdermabrasion can be done on the face or the body, but due to the delicate nature of facial skin, is more often performed on the body.
How it Works: Microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin with tiny crystals that are applied to the affected area and removed with a diamond-tipped wand.
Typical Patient: Mostly women with skin irregularities and who wish to improve their complexion. At $90-$250 per treatment and with less down-time than more invasive cosmetic procedures, it’s pursued by women of many demographics.
Related Procedures: The more intrusive dermabrasion, in which a high-speed rotary instrument with an abrasive brush blasts away at the outermost layer of skin. Usually performed in a surgeon’s office.
Risks: Fewer with microdermabrasion, but hyperpigmentation and scarring aren’t uncommon. Add bleeding, infection and substantial recovery time for dermabrasion, which may require up to two weeks for the patient to recover.
Your Natural Alternative – Watch Skinception over the next few months. They’ve just released their scar remover, Dermefface FX7, which reduces scarring, and it’s caught on quickly with consumers. Now there’s rumor that a skin lightener may be on the way.
If there’s truth to these claims – and knowing Skinception – the product will probably blend botanicals and antioxidants like niacinamide with patented peptides that stimulate production of collagen.
A traditional skin brightener should work with the skin’s natural regeneration process and should interrupt the tyrosinase enzyme that causes hyperpigmentation. The process often takes at least three months, during which damaged skin is exfoliated and replaced with healthy, bright skin cells from below.
Watch Skinception over the next few months. They’ve just released their scar remover, Dermefface FX7, which reduces scarring, and it’s caught on quickly with consumers. Now there’s rumor that a skin lightener may be on the way.
The caveat with many skin lighteners is that they’re often formulated with hydroquinone and mercury. The former is linked to higher risk of cancer. Mercury can cause vision and hearing problems, organ damage and birth defects.
Look for a natural skin lightener, with niacinamide and plant-based sun filters, without hydroquinone or mercury and you’re in good shape to achieve that lighter, blemish-free complexion that many women crave to the extent that they’ll literally sand away at their skin for that air-brushed effect.
Watch Skinception closely, for a natural skin lightener. If the rumors are true, it should be an affordable, convenient and effective way to great, blemish-free skin…