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By Shannon Leeman
Beauty rituals can be daunting. From learning which chemicals are in our cosmetics to researching the safety of dermatological procedures, there’s a lot of information – and misinformation – out there. I make it my mission to bring the best information to you I can by consulting with the world’s leading experts. From plastic surgeons to dermatologists, I have witnessed them all in action over the past decade or so, and I’ve learned first hand which professionals have the most talent and knowledge – and which ones could do better. I’ve seen first hand the results of many treatments and interventions, and can honestly say which ones are worth the money, time and pain, and which are a waste.
Here, I’ve answered the first three questions that were sent to me by Eluxe Magazine readers. If you have a question you’d like me to answer for you, please just email [email protected] with Shannon as the subject heading.
Does that fat taken out with liposuction ever return?
This is a question I get asked a lot. The short answer is no and yes. You will never gain weight in the same way again in the area that has been treated with liposuction, but without a change in diet you may gain the weight back in unexpected areas.
Dr. Ash Ghavami, the renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and one of the innovators in fat transfers, explains liposuction in this way: “After puberty is complete, we do not grow any more numbers of fat cells. With liposuction a certain number of these cells or volume of fat is removed. In that area there will never be new cells to regrow to replace those taken. Maintaining a moderate weight is still vital and it is possible although more difficult to regain the lost weight.” Ghavami continues: “While difficult to do, if someone really lets themselves go and gains weight, the remaining cells left after liposuction can grow in size but not in number. This is uncommon particularly if thorough liposuction is performed. An excellent technique also involves blending or feathering adjacent areas so that in the event that fat cells do grow in size, there won’t be irregular contour.”
I usually tell my clients to think of their bodies as a tube of toothpaste. When you squeeze one area the volume is pushed into another area. If you gain weight following liposuction you will see fat in new areas. Typically, my clients have reported weight gain in any area not treated with liposuction, such as the arms or back. The moral of this story is that liposuction isn’t a weight loss program, but rather a spot reduction procedure. No amount of surgery will make up for a bad life style or a poor diet.
Is laser hair removal really permanent?
If the idea of waxing, sugaring, plucking and threading leaves you cold, you may want to invest in laser hair removal. But is it really permanent?
Clinics and doctors should never advertise permanent hair removal with laser treatment, but rather permanent hair reduction, as at present there is no guarantee of permanent hair removal. Lasers emit a highly concentrated beam of light that delivers energy in millisecond bursts which penetrates the skin and destroys hair follicles, but leaves the surrounding skin unaffected. Hair growth has living cycles, which means the laser must hit at the appropriate stage of growth. You may need up to 12 treatments to catch the three stages of hair growth. Again, this must be classified as a reduction, rather than the misleading permanent hair removal often advertised.
Can lasers cause cancer?
This is an excellent question, particularly with fears of radiation exposure from X-Ray radiation which may cause cell mutations leading to cancer. Consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS member, Mr. Reza Nassab, explains the difference: “Laser light has a different wavelength compared to the UV radiation that causes skin cancer. They also do not penetrate deep beyond the skin to cause any injury to deeper structures. Lasers commonly used for hair removal and cosmetic treatments have not been shown to cause cancer.”
Whilst there seems to be no danger of cancer, caution must still be used when choosing appropriate treatment. I have seen burns, irritation, scarring and discolouration stemming from improper treatment. Every year the rise in non-surgical laser treatments from both qualified and less qualified practitioners means the incidence of alarming outcomes. Unfortunately, lasers are not considered a “medical treatment’ and as such are unregulated.” Best advice? seek a recommended, experienced, licensed practitioner for all cosmetic procedures. Your face and body are precious assets and the time you invest in research will pay dividends in the long run.