Experts

Best non-invasive treatments

Without the commitment – and pain – of surgery

From tightening a sagging jowl to tackling stubborn fat deposits, cosmetic sciences have on offer an array of highly effective treatments that require almost zero downtime and don’t carry with them the weight of the complications that come with full-blown plastic surgery. Some give near-permanent solutions, others need to be repeated at regular intervals, while yet others even allow you the freedom of a trial run.

INSTABREAST

What: New York-based plastic surgeon Dr Norman Rowe offers what he calls the ‘Instabreast’. The procedure is surprisingly simple and takes as much committment as a test drive; if you don’t enjoy it, you’re not stuck with it. It adds a little more volume and fullness temporarily by injecting a saline solution into the breast. The body naturally absorbs the solution in 24 hours, and your breasts return to their original size. 

How: The saline is injected into a designated site at the edge of the nipple area after anesthetising it. The needle is manoeuvred in at different angles until the desired shape and fullness is achieved.   

Ouch Factor: The entire process takes about an hour and the procedure itself under 20 minutes. There are no known side-effects and physical discomfort during and after the procedure is minimal. 

IV COCKTAIL FACIAL

What: Science may have come close to discovering the fountain of youth: a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, naturally produced in the liver and lungs. Ageing and lifestyle factors like stress, exposure to pollution, trauma, infection and a poor diet, slow down its production. And we know what the absence of antioxidants can mean to the body’s fight against free radicals. This treatment aims to replenish the body’s supply of glutathione to ensure an overall healthier you. One of its side-effects is fairer, lighter, more even-toned skin. 

How: Glutathione is injected into the body intravenously. Some doctors prefer to mix in vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, while others have paired this with a facial that lets you relax during the drip, so you leave the clinic looking refreshed and rested. Wellness clinics in the west offer custom-blended drips depending on your complaint. “Injecting glutathione is not without risk, though,” warns New Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia. “It can cause kidney failure, skin rashes and allergies. So while glutathione may possibly be effective, the side-effect profile cannot be ignored. If you really want to try it, go 
to a senior doctor, and make sure your blood levels are being monitored while on it.” 

Ouch Factor: If you’ve ever experienced what an IV drip feels like, then you’ll know exactly what to expect. The entire procedure takes no more than 30 minutes.  

COOLSCULPT

What: The USFDA-approved CoolSculpt could possibly be the answer to the age-old muffin-top predicament. “It works on the principle of ‘cryolipolysis’ or fat-freezing, and targets the areas that no amount of exercise or diet seems to affect. Technically speaking, it’s for people who are already at pretty decent fitness levels, eat healthy and work out. It isn’t an alternative to liposuction,” explains cosmetic physician Dr Jamuna Pai. 

How: The treatment works by cooling fat cells to such a low temperature that they die. These dead cells are then flushed out of the body over the next couple of months through the body’s lymphatic drainage system. Results are visible within two months after treatment.

Ouch Factor: The suctioning action of the machine can cause a little discomfort. Expect a numb/sore feeling for at least four to five days after the treatment. 

HEEL FILLERS 

What: As a more long-lasting fix to pesky heel inserts that never seem to stay in place, doctors are now using the same fillers they use to plump lips and cheekbones, as a solution to aching, high-heel feet. Dermatologist Dr Rekha Sheth explains, “Dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid molecules, found all over the human body. So they pose no threat to practically any area that they’re injected into.” 

How: The fat pad in the ball of your feet acts as a shock absorber, and when you wear high heels the fat pad is disturbed, causing discomfort to the bone. Dermal fillers protect the bony surfaces from friction and discomfort. However, as dermatologist Dr Abhijit Desai warns, you need to ensure your aches are not an orthopaedic issue before opting for fillers.  

Ouch Factor: Your doctor will first apply a topical anesthetic to the area before injecting the filler. Secondly, new-generation fillers come with an inbuilt numbing agent that make the injecting process a lot easier. Like with any filler injection, results can last upto a year and the procedure is completely reversible. 

VAMPIRE FACIAL 

What: Despite its scary name (clinically, it’s called Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy), this is actually one of the most natural forms of rejuvenating treatments available. It stimulates collagen and stem-cell growth in the skin, making it look younger and brighter. Dr Lohia is of the opinion that since it’s your own blood being used, chances of side-effects are non-existent. 

How: The doctor will draw your blood and centrifuge it. Using only the plasma-rich part, which can be enriched with FDA-approved stem-cell growth agents, they will inject it back into the area with tiny pricks. The treatment can be done anywhere, including under the eyes, on the décolletage, on the hands and even on the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

Ouch Factor: The process isn’t painless. So a lot of doctors use a topical numbing agent before injecting the area. “It’s a whole lot of tiny pricks all across the area we’re treating, so a little discomfort can be expected,” explains Dr Pai.    

You may also want to read: #ELLETriesIt: Salt Escape

TAGS: