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As summer approaches, it's the perfect time to emerge with a tighter, fresher face, so your suddenly exposed hot body doesn't look like it's attached to the wrong head. And I've found just the kind of superficial yet rewarding procedures that have people leaving surgery clinics looking like CGI-created infants these days.
One recommended source—Dr. Robert Grant, chief of plastic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital—told me that facial work has become way subtler thanks to new philosophies about what to do and when to do it. It's so true; I've noticed a huge decline in the number of Joker and Catwoman scowls you see around town, New York becoming way less like a real-life Batman sequel.
"The big trend in facelifts," Grant said, "is less is more. The pendulum has swung back, and there's been a real turning away from that overly operated-on look, where the patients end up looking so artificial, they're stigmatized. You don't want to create imbalance or disharmony, where one part of the face looks so pulled and the rest of the face isn't. Incremental change is better than extreme makeovers. Extreme makeovers work on houses, but not on faces and bodies!
"It's not just about counteracting gravity," he went on about various types of facial work, "but also reinflating the collapsed envelope of the face. What makes a baby cute is the chubby cheeks, but as we age, we lose a lot of the fullness. People are starting a little earlier with less aggressive procedures."
It's funny that people will starve themselves to look skeletal, but then they'll sit still for a doctor to put some chub back in their face. That kind of bizarre contradiction is why I happen to love America and will always put a signed check in the collapsed envelope of this country's economy.
My sagging features got a second opinion by talking to Dr. Mark Warfel of the Warfel Plastic Surgery Center, and he totally agreed. Warfel—whom I know from the scene; he does some of the key players—said the newer lifts are not as invasive and can be done with local anesthesia as opposed to having to get put out with a tube down your throat. Also, it's a safer operation that heals more quickly and leaves a smaller scar.
If even that is too much for you, fat injections are back for the face, lips, breasts, or anywhere else you want to seriously "re-contour." For a long time, "fillers out of the bottle" overshadowed them, according to Warfel. Those fillers are simpler and cheaper, he said, "but they're temporary, whereas fat injections can be permanent, and fatty tissue is rich in stem cells. It turns out the fatty tissue rejuvenates all the tissue around it." So do it! When people kiss you on the lips, they'll be kissing your ass, too!
Or you can always go with that old muscle-paralyzing favorite, Botox injections. They're still a wildly popular way to temporarily erase wrinkles—every movie star gets them, including the Muppets—but insiders know they're not the only pulverizer in town anymore. Warfel said his patients generally prefer a competitor called Dysport "because it acts faster. Botox takes three days, and the full effect is two weeks. Dysport starts working the next day, and the full effect is a week or two later." Warfel says Dysport also creates a softer look, and his patients have reported that they don't get the tight feeling or the headache they got from Botox, plus the injections are less painful. So you decide how you want to spend your $650 to $900—or maybe you want to just stay looking like a mile of scratched linoleum.
While we're talking injections, let me say I'm thrilled to see a decline in those collagen-heavy pillow lips that filled the Sex and the City era, celebrities' mouths always entering a room three minutes before they did. Says Dr. Grant: "Collagen is pretty much for historical interest now. It's been replaced by Restylane and Juvederm because they last longer and have more predictable results, and you don't need the skin tests you used to need with collagen." (Collagen comes from cows, which can result in allergic reactions for the moo-phobic. That's the price of injecting barnyard animals into your face to look more like a babe.)
If you've obeyed every word in the above graphs, you should now look like Angelina, especially if you're female. But it's time to address the lower regions, so you can flawlessly complete your transition. Warfel says old-school lipo is still hot because the new procedures haven't dazzled as promised. But if you only have a small amount of tummy fat to exterminate, you can just do the squeeze and freeze! It's a newish treatment that puts the fat roll of your belly in a big clamp and makes it colder than a Real Housewife's forehead for an hour. For some reason, it only freezes the inner layer, but it does kill some of the fat cells—and fat-cell murderers are what a lot of us become this time of year.
And now that you're head-to-toe gorgeous, your face is not only able to be happy, it can actually look it. If you're still searching for gravity avengers, let me inform you that a recent plastic surgery convention in Vancouver had doctors buzzing that Sculptra, Fraxel, and Thermage are out, but the fractional CEO laser has become extremely popular. Got that? Or maybe just rub some Vitamin E oil into your pores and stop drinking.
Read more Michael Musto at La Dolce Musto