My sister-in-law recently gave me a tutorial on the cosmetic procedures that are popular in Southern California, where she lives. It turns out that the marketplace for aesthetic improvement to our faces and bodies goes far beyond laser hair removal and Botox, and I truly had no idea. Within my circle of friends, this topic hasn’t come up, and, since my personal beauty routine is very low maintenance, I’ve never sought out the information on my own. In case you are as clueless as I am, I’m sharing the five, science fiction-y sounding, yet very real procedures about which I’ve recently learned.
What do you think? Which of these procedures have you heard of? Have you had any of them done, or would you consider it?
Microblading – This is a semi-permanent tattoo on your eyebrows. Sit back and relax as small blades etch tiny slits along your eyebrows to mimic the look of eyebrow hairs. The open slits are filled with tattoo ink that matches your hair color, and the ink sits on your brows for about two weeks to soak in and stain the micro-cuts as they heal (no getting your brows wet during this time). You’ll look more like Burt and Ernie than Brooke Shields while the ink works its magic, but the end result is supposed to be a natural-looking, on fleek brow (did I use that term right?) that lasts for one to three years.
CoolSculpting® – This procedure freezes fat cells and crystalizes them, so they’re reabsorbed into your body and permanently disappear — as in, “Bye-bye saddle bags.” After my sister-in-law described this one, I’ll admit that it sounds like a miracle procedure, and according to a friend who worked in plastic surgery, it is effective, but there’s always a catch, and, you’ll notice a theme here – it’s pain. After sitting with an apparatus attached to your body that actively freezes the fat under your skin, the treated area will be as hard as a stick of butter (another kind of fat!). A medical technician will then methodically massage that solidified fat stick until it disappears. This is the part that hurts. Your body is basically like, “Ouch. This is cold, and these crystals are sharp. Hang on, let me figure out what to do with this stuff.”
VelaShape® – If you got the chills thinking about CoolSculpting®, then VelaShape® might be for you. It uses heat and massage to create more collagen and less cellulite in targeted areas. A vacuum equipped with infrared light and bi-polar radio frequencies (I don’t know what that means, either) helps smooth the surface of the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite and generally tightening everything up. You’ll go in for multiple treatments, so plan to dedicate some time this endeavor, and it’s temporary (lasting six months to a year), so what you gain in comfort, you lose in permanence.
Voluma Filler for Cellulite – Those injectables that have commonly been used on the face to plump up lips and cheeks are moving to your butt and thighs to smooth out the appearance of cellulite. Initially after the injection, you might notice big lumps under your skin (eeks, don’t plan on wearing a bathing suit in public), but they’ll gradually disappear as the injection settles and spreads. The jury seems to be out on this one, with some people swearing by it, and others saying it’s a waste of money.
Vampire Facial® – I honestly thought my sister-in-law was making this one up when she described it, but it’s very real. Thousands of tiny holes are poked in your face and filled with components of your own blood. Yes, you read that right. Your blood is drawn and the plasma is separated. Then, the doctor runs a micro puncturing tool across your entire face and your plasma is poured all over it. This is supposed to stimulate collagen and elastin growth, rejuvenating your appearance from within. You’ll have to be patient to get that fabulous “After” pic, though. You’ll walk around for several weeks with a scabbed over face that will likely startle small children, even if you’re Kim Kardashian.
After my sister-in-law described all of these to me, I thought, “Perhaps, this stuff isn’t as popular in NorCal as it is to our south, and that’s why I’ve never heard of it.” Nope. Not the case. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are booked all over the Bay Area for many of these procedures, according to a fellow writer at Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog who works in pharmaceutical sales and calls on these practices. So, the next time little Johnny’s mom tells you she’ll be “traveling for work” over the next few weeks, take note of her fine lines and wrinkles. It may be the last time you see them.