Plastic Surgery Tourism: Buyer Be Aware

by Michael Yaremchuk, M.D.

Medical tourism is an established element of the international medical landscape. The major incentives for patients travelling abroad for plastic surgery are access to otherwise unavailable or perceived superior care, cost and, sometimes, a pleasant, vacation-like environment for early recovery. If all goes as planned, the treatment and recovery occur over a relatively short period — perhaps a one or two-week vacation.

But buyer beware: Plastic surgery tourism is a reflection of both the best and worst of our global society.

With easily accessible information and communication provided by the Internet, the savvy patient can find procedures that might be otherwise unavailable to them or a surgeon who has recognized expertise in the procedure they desire. If the cost is less and the environment is desirable, so much the better for the patient. If all goes well, as it usually does when patients do their homework and the objective is quality, everyone wins: Patients are rewarded for doing their homework and surgeon’s are rewarded for their expertise.

Yet, too often, and probably more often than we can document, the incentive for plastic surgery tourism is cost alone.

You get what you pay for.

Buying plastic surgery is not like buying a new car. A new Cadillac sold in New Haven is structurally no different than one sold in Providence. If you can get a better price in New Haven, all things being equal, why not go with the better price?

But when you are purchasing plastic surgery you are purchasing the unique training, expertise, experience and the commitment of the plastic surgeon.

We have only anecdotal data regarding the quality of plastic surgery performed on patients who leave the United States for plastic surgery. We are unable to calculate the rate of complications from these surgeries because we lack the necessary data. There is no registry for patients who suffered complications from surgery performed offshore.

However, personal experience would suggest that the incidence of complications is not insignificant. We have seen six patients in the last 3 months who have had complications from previous surgeries. Almost without exception, these patients did not know of the qualifications of their surgeon or the surgical facility: There was no informed consent, no records, no mechanism to contact the surgeon post-op. These patients who have had complications after elective cosmetic surgery often have no insurance and their complications are treated without payment to the hospital or physician.

Researchers reported a series of 8 U.S. residents who, in a 2 year period, were infected with Mycobacterium abscessus after having undergone body contouring (liposuction) procedures in a clinic in the Dominican Republic. By comparison, there were no reported incidences of Mycobacterium abscessus infection among 230,000 operative procedures over a 5 year period at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. This suggests that the known cases of complications in offshore procedures is just the tip of the iceberg.**

When seeking treatment in the US, remember that a plastic surgeon’s membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) assures an appropriate level of training, competence and ethical behavior.

Many of our offshore colleagues have obtained memberships in these societies based on their accomplishments in their own countries. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) is developing a program to set certification standards and recognize surgeons’ competency. This should have a significant impact on patients seeking cosmetic surgery throughout the world.

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Treatments Stars Live By

By Dr. Jennifer Walden for

For years, celebrities denied having plastic surgery, but these days, more and more stars are coming forward to admit their seemingly flawless skin is more about “good work” than pixie dust. Fairy Godmothers are really board-certified plastic surgeons who skillfully wield scalpels and syringes instead of magic wands.

Now that stars are finally talking, which procedures and treatments do they swear by? At the top of the list, Botox!

Botox: This injectable treatment seems to be a favorite among celebrities because it’s non-surgical, relatively painless, and results are evident in 3-4 days. Stars like Jenny McCarthy, Fergie, and Mariah Carey are a few who may have used Botox to look more rested and youthful. In one of many revealing moments on the hit E! Network series, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim Kardashian even received Botox treatments on camera.

Rhinoplasty: The attractive nose is often considered the most sought-after feature of the face, and some celebrities have what seem like flawless noses from birth. Some stars, however,  have discovered their features could be enhanced by a thinner, smaller or more symmetrical nose – think of stars like Alexa Rae Joel, Janet Jackson, Tori Spelling, and Jennifer Grey. And although some of these ladies declared their surgeries were due to a deviated septum (Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Ashlee Simpson), the end result was a cosmetically appealing external nose as well. 

Resurfacing/Chemical Peels: How do stars like Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry and Cate Blanchett maintain their sleek porcelain skin? Well, they are probably refraining from skin spoilers like smoking and prolonged sun exposure, but they’ve likely also been using exfoliating treatments. Resurfacing/chemical peels both work on sensitive, aging and photo-damaged skin. Most of these treatments use a salicylic, glycolic, or lactic-based acid to slough off dead skin and encourage new growth. The result is soft, smooth skin with fewer lines and wrinkles. Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Aniston (who admit to seeing a “skin facialist” on a regular basis) include these skin care procedures as part of their routine with other positive endeavors like yoga, Pilates or healthy eating.

Even though stars lead so called “fabulous” lifestyles, it’s good to know they still deal with cellulite, age spots and wrinkles just like the rest of us. Achieving similar beauty results may not be so difficult after all!

Top 5 Questions Plastic Surgeons Wish You’d Ask

When you’re researching plastic surgery online, it’s easy to find lists of questions you should ask a plastic surgeon before going under the knife. But are those lists complete? Is there anything your plastic surgeon particularly wishes you would ask?

I spoke with two board certified plastic surgeons from different ends of the country to see what they might say. Dr. Elliot Jacobs, a New York plastic surgeon, performs cosmetic procedures from head to toe for men and women and is considered a specialist in gynecomastia (male breast reduction) surgery. Dr. David Kaufman, a plastic surgeon in Sacramento, also serves a diverse clientele—offering both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery—and particularly enjoys performing plastic surgery after weight loss.

Here are some questions these two accomplished plastic surgeons like their patients to ask.

1) What results can I realistically expect?

Even though most patients claim to have reasonable expectations, you might be surprised how often people harbor dreams they perhaps didn’t even realize they had. Dr. Kaufman performs dozens of breast augmentations every month, and he enjoys the procedure for the joy it can bring women who have been unhappy about their skimpy curves. Still, he cautions, “You may have wanted bigger breasts for years, and after surgery, that’s just what you’ll have. You won’t qualify to be a swimsuit model, unless you were already well on your way before surgery.”

Dr. Jacobs adds, “After surgery, some patients micro-scrutinize the results—finding minor imperfections and focusing on those (some of which were actually present prior to surgery but never noticed), instead of looking at the major improvements that have been achieved. They should look at the big picture.”

Bonus points: Plastic surgeons especially appreciate it if you don’t ask them to replicate a celebrity’s body part. For one thing, molding your rear to look just like Pippa Middleton’s is easier said than done; for another, Pippa’s butt might not look right on you.

2) What factors will contribute to my surgical outcome?

Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Kaufman like their patients to understand that there’s a long list of factors that will influence your outcome, not just your plastic surgeon’s skill. These include your age, your skin’s elasticity, your smoking history, your nutrition level and more. Mother Nature is a very involved third party as well.

For instance, when you’re planning a facelift, know that while the surgeon will lift and secure muscles and skin into a more youthful position, a facelift will not improve the actual quality of your skin. You will still see the effects of smoking, the sun and genetics on surface tissues, and those issues will absolutely affect the final result.

Bonus points: Chances are, you will realize better results if you’ve taken good care of yourself over the years. Both Dr. Kaufman and Dr. Jacobs are fit and active and enjoy working with people who pursue good health.

3) What are the key things I can do before surgery to ensure a good experience?

Both plastic surgeons mentioned this question as a favorite. It allows them to reiterate specific instructions, such as preparing for general or sedation anesthesia with anti-nausea measures on hand, and more general instructions about which medications to suspend, when to stop consuming alcohol, to stop smoking and so on.

Best of all, this question helps indicate to your physician that you want to be a partner in achieving the outcome you seek and that you will do your part.

Bonus points: Take a notebook and write down your plastic surgeon’s recommendations. You may think you’ll remember everything, but you probably won’t.

4) During recovery, what should I be patient with, keep an eye on, or be alarmed about?

Dr. Jacobs especially likes to hear this question from his gynecomastia patients as it gives him the chance to remind them that swelling may persist for weeks after surgery. He notes that men who choose to have gynecomastia surgery sometimes check their progress in the mirror many times each day and need to be reminded to give it time.

Dr. Jacobs also lets his patients know they should contact his office if they notice bleeding, asymmetric chest enlargement or significant pain, or if they have any other concerns.

Bonus points: Ask if there’s information on line you can access during your recovery or a medical assistant you can call. Although both Dr. Kaufman and Dr. Jacobs speak with patients regularly after surgery, they are sometimes busy with other patients and want to be sure you get answers right away.

5) What can I do to maximize and prolong my results?

From advice about wearing a surgical bra after your procedure to investing in good quality bras for the long run, from protecting your face from the elements right after facelift surgery to wearing sunscreen every day, both plastic surgeons are glad to tell their patients everything they know about prolonging the effects of surgery. They would be happy to welcome you back for another procedure in the future—a different procedure. They too want your results to last and last.

Bonus points: Again, write down what your plastic surgeon has to say. He or she will be gratified to know that you’re willing to invest your own efforts in the outcome.

When you ask questions like these during your consultation, you’re indicating that you’ve thought about your procedure carefully and that you’re willing to do all you can to ensure a good result. This is exactly what any plastic surgeon likes to know.

Faking it for real beauty


Former Miss Malaysia finalist Leng Yein thinks nothing about going under the knife as long as it enhances her looks. And she says she may have a fake face and fake boobs but ‘I have a real personality’.

THE first time model Leng Yein thought of going for plastic surgery was in 2003 when she was 18.

At that time she was Miss Pahang and a Miss Malaysia 2003 finalist and her boyfriend had betrayed her with a pretty girl.

“I was quite heartbroken, so I told myself if one day I could afford it, I would make myself look pretty,” recalled the 26-year-old model who grew up in Kuantan.

Beauty enhanced: Leng Yein is comfortable with her ‘modifications’.

Three years later, her wish became a reality. In an act which she described as “random”, she went under the knife in Beijing.

Leng Yein was in China to participate in Miss Tourism International 2006. After the pageant she extended her stay in Beijing.

“I went to a massage parlour because I was so bored.

“There was this girl with a red nose and I asked her, “Do you have a running nose?”

She replied, “No, I just did my nose.”

And I asked myself: “How come I did not notice she had a nose job” .

They became friends.

The next day the Beijing girl took her shopping.

“While shopping, she told Leng Yein that she wanted to say “hello” to her plastic surgeon.

“There were so many people lying down (at the clinic) cutting their nose. I could see that it was a dodgy place.

I asked, “How long to do the whole thing?”

I was told it took an half hour to 40 minutes.

“And there and then I did it (to make her flat nose sharper),” she said.

A few months later, while visiting Miss Thailand (whom she befriended during the Miss Tourism International pageant) in Bangkok, in another random act, Leng Yein went under the knife again. This time to stitch dimples on her cheeks and a boob job.

“Actually I have big breasts but they were just not that firm. I wanted them to be perky.

“And also I wanted them balanced (as one was slightly smaller than the other),” said the model who went from BC bra size to CD (one cup size bigger).

The boob job was painful. She could not jiggle them for two months or carry heavy stuff.

In 2008, she redid her nose (Her nose had an unnatural L-shape) in Kuala Lumpur. Plus the nose job was free as she was the ambassador of a plastic surgery company.

In Sept 2010, in Kuala Lumpur she made her lips (“they were really, really thin that when I smiled I couldn’t see them”) thicker.

Unlike most Malaysians who have undergone plastic surgery, Leng Yein has gone public about hers.

“I’m probably the only person in Malaysia who dares tell everyone that I went for plastic surgery. Maybe it is because I’m an Aries. I will write about it in my blog ( or Facebook (,” said the businesswoman, who owns a boutique, fashion accessories shop, nail & beauty salon, tattoo parlour and a mamak restaurant.

Her blog and Facebook followers’ response to her “confession” has been 65% negative (for example, do you want ending up like Michael Jackson?). But 99% of the private messages she received have been positive.

“Many are girls who want to go for plastic surgery but are afraid that people will think of them differently,” she noted.

So what does her hubby – who is quite a romantic (he proposed to her via a billboard in Petaling Jaya on 9-9-09) – think?

“He hates plastic surgery. But it (plastic surgery) was a random thing for me.

“When I did it and came home with stitches, he would ask ‘why do you keep cutting yourself?’ But he would respect my decision,” she said.

On Thursday, Leng Yein will fly to Seoul for probably her last plastic surgery as she doesn’t want to end up like Michael Jackson (who allegedly had a botched nose job).

She couldn’t resist the offer of free plastic surgery performed by South Korea’s top plastic surgeons.

In exchange of getting big eyes like Japan’s pop princess Ayumi Hamasaki, dimples (fake dimple last for a year), a new nose, she has agreed to be the poster girl of a Kuala Lumpur-based plastic surgery company.

At the end of the interview, the bubbly Leng Yein confided: “I might have a fake face and fake boobs but I have a real personality.”

Mid-life tune-ups popular

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald Staff Writer

Durangoans, who, according to conventional wisdom, are indifferent to sartorial elegance, could have a sensitive side, nevertheless. Dr. Denis Winder of Durango Plastic Surgery injects neurotoxin into the forehead of Lynn Swift, who works for Winder. Durango plastic surgeons see patients from the Four Corners and the Front Range, and small-town Durango allows patients a place to recuperate where it’s unlikely they will run into people who know them.

They turn to cosmetic surgery often enough to help support three plastic surgeons in town.

“I had my eyes done in 2008,” said a 62-year-old woman who’ll be known as Meredith. “Three years later, there’s no sagging. I’m very pleased.”

Despite her satisfaction, Meredith didn’t want to see her real name in print. Ditto a 61-year-old woman who had a tummy tuck.

The tendency to avoid the spotlight is typical in elective surgery, say Dr. Denis Winder of Durango Plastic Surgery and Dr. Ryan Naffziger at Animas Plastic Surgery.

The office of Dr. Ronald Ritz, a plastic surgeon in Durango, didn’t respond to a telephone call.

Plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, recognition given by the successful completion of a five-year residency following medical school. They do three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery.

Naffziger and Winder do reconstructive surgery, but cosmetic surgery is their bread-and-butter. Winder said that before the current recession, 90 percent of his business was elective surgery, Naffiger’s business is two-thirds cosmetic, one-third reconstructive.

An online consumer’s guide shows the total cost of plastic surgery – hospital, surgery (including surgeon’s fee), anesthesia and medications – ranges from $3,000 and $4,000 to $11,000 to $13,000. The prices are only estimates because cost fluctuates according to the individual, the guide says.

An assistant at Naffziger’s office said cost of surgery is discussed only face to face. Too many variables such as insurance or whether surgery is done in the doctor’s office or at a hospital make generalizations pointless, she said.

Surgical modification of the eyelid, such as Meredith had done, is called blepharoplasty. The procedure can be done when sagging lids impair vision or for vanity’s sake.

Rejuvenated eyelids can erase years of wear and tear, improving appearance and restoring self-image, but blepharoplasty isn’t the elective surgery most in demand.

Breast augmentation or reduction is still number one – as it is across the country – Winder and Naffziger said.

Breast surgery is followed in popularity by liposuction, the removal of fat by suction, and abdomnoplasty – the tummy tuck – in which the surgeon removes fat and skin and tightens loose muscle.

“It’s all about self-image,” Winder said. “But a woman who has breast surgery often says, ‘I don’t want it to be noticeable.’”

The injection of neurotoxins – marketed under such trade names as Botox – smooths wrinkles. But the procedure should be done by a medical practitioner or designated assistant, Winder said.

Patients hail from the Four Corners and the Front Range as well as Durango. People who spend the summer or winter in Durango can have surgery and recuperate where they’re unlikely to see familiar people.

“My philosophy is to make my patient look nice but not grotesque,” Winder said.

Meredith had eyelid surgery to smooth out creases.

“My vision wasn’t impaired,” Meredith said. “I just wanted to look younger.”

She went into surgery under general anesthesia at 8:30 a.m. and was out before noon. She wore butterfly bandages for a couple of days to stabilize the incisions and took pain pills and then an across-the-counter analgesic.

Meredith did research before choosing a surgeon. She asked friends familiar with the process for recommendations, and she assessed the risks.

Just the right amount of fat must be removed from the eyelid, she learned. Too much, and you can’t close your eyes.

Literature from plastic surgeons says that although it’s uncommon, bleeding, infection, scarring or blindness can result from blepharoplasty, Meredith said.

“My husband was a little hesitant,” Meredith said. “But I was confident.”

Meredith said someone who didn’t know her well recently guessed her age at 50.

“I look better than ever before because the surgery took off 10 to 15 years,” she said. “I think I look like my photographs of years ago.”

Far more women than men have cosmetic surgery, Naffziger and Winder said. But the opportunity to shed pounds or smooth wrinkles is catching on with men, who frequently want enhanced pectoral or calf muscles.

Winder and Naffziger said new technology, improved safety of anesthesia, less down time after surgery and more affordable prices have increased the popularity of elective surgery.

“You can have surgery for less than the cost of a week’s vacation,” Naffziger said.

Patients tend to confide their secret only to family and close friends, the surgeons said.

Women in post-childbearing age often want their abdomen and breasts restructured, Naffziger said.

“It’s the mommy makeover,” Naffziger said.

The 61-year-old woman, whom we’ll call Francine, had a tummy tuck in 1999 after the birth of a child when she was past her 40th birthday.

“I was self-conscious because I put on weight and had three little rolls of fat on my midriff that just wouldn’t go away,” Francine said. “I exercised, but my surgeon said exercise alone probably wasn’t going to do it.”

Francine restricted her activities for about three weeks after surgery. She wore a catheter for about a week to drain liquid from the incisions into a small bag worn on the body.

While she had some post-surgery discomfort, she didn’t take any heavy pain medication, Francine said.

The surgery did wonders for her self-confidence, Francine said.

“I think I could wear a bikini – although I haven’t,” she said. “But I use a sunsuit when I go to the recreation center pool with my grandson.”

Experts look at new high-tech, at-home beauty devices

New home-care beauty devices include teeth whiteners, hair removers and anti-aging systems. Here’s what they do, what they claim and what the experts think.
By Alene Dawson Special to the Los Angeles Times – July 24, 2011

Imagine having the fountain of youth as close at hand as the bathroom. We’re not there yet — but there’s a burgeoning number of at-home, high-tech beauty gadgets that claim to smooth wrinkles, whiten teeth and remove hair without the need to invest in pricey beauty treatments at the spa, dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office.

Some of these gadgets are so high-tech the Food and Drug Administration considers them medical devices, so approach the world of cosmetic gadgetry with caution. If a gadget has been approved by the FDA, it shouldn’t cause damage if used correctly.

We checked in with experts about some of the newest home-care devices. Our virtual panel includes Dr. Ronald Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, UCLA professor and past editor in chief of the Dermatologic Surgery journal; Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, DDS, UCLA professor and consumer advisor for the American Dental Assn.; Kate Somerville, founder of the skin-care line that bears her name; and Dr. Carolyn Jacob, a cosmetic and laser surgeon, Northwestern University Medical School clinical instructor and director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.

TRIA Laser Hair Removal System ($395,

What it is: With looks that conjure a hand-held retro sci-fi weapon, this laser takes aim at unwanted body hair by targeting the hair’s dark pigment and using heat to disable the follicle so hair doesn’t grow back. The device is designed to work only on fair to medium skin tones (there’s a skin color chart on the site) because if skin is too dark, a laser potentially could burn. And it doesn’t work on gray, blond, or red hair. The TRIA website states that the device is not to be used on neck, face or genitalia.

The claim: “The TRIA Laser Hair Removal System is the only FDA-cleared home laser hair removal system that provides permanent, hair-free results.”

Expert feedback

Jacob: “The pros are that the diode wavelength has been shown to work. Also, if you’re too dark, it won’t let you treat yourself — it has a safety mechanism so that you won’t be able to hurt yourself. The negatives are that it’s a very small applicator size. We call it a spot size. It’s pretty darn small, so if you were doing tiny little areas like … your underarm, that would be feasible. But it would really take a very long time to treat, let’s say, your legs or your arms because that treatment spot size is so tiny. I prefer [it] as a touch-up device for people to have at home after they’ve had laser hair reduction at a dermatologist office.”

Palovia Skin Renewing Laser ($499,

Palovia Skin Renewing Laser

What it is: An at-home anti-aging system with a device that pulses laser light into skin around the eyes. The user applies a gel, then holds the laser device to the skin around each eye briefly.

The claim: “The first FDA-cleared, at-home laser clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.”

Expert Feedback

Jacob: “This is a non-ablative fractional device similar to a very low-level Fraxel. … The pros are you can stimulate some collagen, and for some people with very fine lines it’s probably useful, but it takes many treatments. There is also some swelling after each treatment…. Also, I think that it could cause a lot of pain on the thinner areas of skin…. In the doctor’s office, you have to have a topical anesthetic with a non-ablative fractional such as Fraxel. I’ve had it done on my chest before and, wow! That hurts! And you literally look like you have a light sunburn.”

DDF Revolve 400X Micro-Polishing System ($95,

What it is: Included in the box are the hand-held DDF micro-polisher tool, two foam-applicator attachments, a deep cleansing brush attachment, polishing crystals and batteries. For a microdermabrasion treatment, you’re instructed to massage the crystals into the face with the micro-polisher tool with the foam applicator, then rinse and wash.

The claim: “A breakthrough device that delivers microdermabrasion results that are as effective as a professional treatment… After just one microdermabrasion treatment, see immediate improvement in pore appearance, skin tone and evenness, fine lines, skin clarity and brightness, and radiance.”

Expert feedback

Jacob: “I think it would help to unplug pores and remove dead skin cells, however it may be a little too rough for people with very sensitive skin or rosacea.”

Somerville warns against possible post-microdermabrasion patches of hyperpigmentation developing with sun exposure.

Moy says that the device may improve some of signs of aging, “But when people are trying to do it for wrinkles, they can overdo it.”

The Tanda Regenerate Anti-Aging Starter Kit or Acne Kit ($250,

What it is: An FDA-cleared New-Age-looking light therapy device that glows red if you buy the anti-aging kit, blue for the acne kit. After you cover your face with the serum or gel, you hold the device for three minutes over each targeted area.

The claim: “A light therapy device combining proven light therapy and botanically-based, light-optimized topicals to provide natural, non-invasive, scientifically proven solutions for common unwanted skin conditions.”

Expert feedback

Jacob: “The regenerative red light-emitting diode has been shown in studies to stimulate collagen production. But it does it in such a microscopic way that you may not be able to notice anything macroscopical or in a photograph. Also, the Tanda is such a small device…. It takes several minutes to do just part of your face, and then you’re supposed to do it several times a week for the best results.”

Somerville: “With the blue light [for acne], you may see some results, just because it does kill what we call P-acne cells, which cause breakouts, but it’s going to take you a long time to get there.”

Go Smile Whitening Light System ($169, and GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device ($275,

What they are: The Go Smile Whitening Light is a small device with a light that you shine on your teeth after applying the hydrogen peroxide-based serum. To use the GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device system, apply the lip-care product and tooth gel, then insert the mouthpiece, which shines a light.

The claims: Go Smile — “The powerful whitening light is specially designed to work together with our whitening ampoules to bring dentist-quality whitening into your home while eliminating sensitivity.” GLO Brilliant — “The patent-pending Guided Light Optics technology radically redefines the teeth whitening experience by using heat and light to accelerate and stabilize the whitening results… GLO whitening goes beyond the professional whitening you would get at the dentist’s office.”

Expert feedback

Hewlett: “They both use hydrogen peroxide, which is what virtually all whitening products use that are supplied by the dentist or available from other means. So there is every expectation that by using these products…your teeth are going to get whiter.”

But as for light accelerating the whitening activity, “it’s still widely debated if light activation has any effect on the whitening process,” he says. But “GLO Brilliant claims that the light actually provides some heat as well.… Heating the peroxide can actually hasten the activity of it.”

Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System ($185,

What it is: The makers of the popular Classic and Mia cleansing tools branch out with their Opal Sonic Infusion System, a tool that massages serum directly into the skin.

The claim: “The Opal is specially designed to help build skin’s resilience over time and prevent future damage around the eyes.”

Expert feedback

Moy: “There’s no good evidence that this is better than putting on some Tretinoin cream, Renova, Retin-A, stuff like that.” He adds that some glycolic acids, DNA repair enzyme creams and peels also have good scientific data proving their effectiveness.

The bottom line on the new wave of high-tech gadgets? Some are worth trying, but it’s always good to do some research first.

“The beauty industry is really good at exaggerating… marketing a fancy bottle or a fancy gadget,” Moy says. “But if a company has good scientific data that include proven and published placebo-controlled clinical studies, the company makes those studies accessible on their website. If instead they have 22 reviews of people who anecdotally say it works great, that could have been their mother and their grandmother and employees saying that.” //


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Why are more boomers getting plastic surgery?

Madeleine White
Globe and Mail Blog

What would you do if you saw a 65-year-old woman walking down the street with perky, F-cup-sized breasts?

You’d probably do a double-take.

Well, that is exactly what Joan Lloyd wants. She is one of three women over the age of 50 the Daily Mail interviewed in piece about “silver surgeries” – the trend of boomers getting cosmetic surgery after they’ve squarely gone over the hill

Ms. Lloyd says she wanted to have her breasts augmented after her husband passed away because she needed the confidence to help her find love again. Why a F-cup, you ask? “I decided to get maximum impact, so I chose a F cup,” she says in the article.

Ms. Lloyd is not alone out there in wanting to improve her look during her golden years. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that in 2010, there was a 2-per-cent increase in the number of patients, both male and female, who were over 55 that had a cosmetic procedure.

In fact, according to a report in the Washington Post, men had 1.2 million cosmetic procedures in 2010. The same survey showed that most men are opting for face-lifts and liposuction
Okay, so, body-image pressures are being applied to both male and female boomers. And to an extent, these kinds of silver surgeries have been normalized by celebrities who openly talk about changing their aging bodies, like Sharon Osbourne. Even celebrated old lady Betty White admitted to procedures back in the day.

But what is troubling is that most of the ordinary people interviewed are quick to say that they were unhappy with how they looked, so they changed it. Age had nothing to do with, they say.

Granted, everyone’s physique has flaws. Nobody’s body is perfect. But after 55-plus years living with your imperfect body, shouldn’t you be able to accept it? Isn’t adulthood suppose to help us understand the pressures that make us think our bodies are inferior, and help us resist them? Don’t boomers know that no matter how much silicone or Botox you inject into your body, it’s not the same as drinking the fountain of youth?

Ms. Lloyd insists that changing from an A-cup to a F-cup wasn’t a desperate attempt to feel young again. But she was worried about what her kids would think.

“I was worried my children might be aghast,” she writes. “But my daughters said: ‘Go for it, Mum. You deserve it.’ “

What would you do if your mom or dad decided to undergo a cosmetic surgery?