A couple of weeks ago,I uploaded a post about body image and the repercussions of ageing. I said I would do some digging into the different kind of options available from surgery to less invasive treatments.

I have gathered some information after asking friends and doing my own research and, today I'd like to talk about what seem to be the best treatments that don't involve going through the knife. I don't claim to be an expert, I've only made myself somewhat less clueless, but this should be a good reference guide for you to check the procedures and do your own independent research. These procedures all have been used by many for a while and are well tested.

Chemical Peel: Many women have tried chemical peels, since they promise fantastic changes without going through surgery. An acid solution is spread throughout face, neck and hands for 2 minutes. The results depend on the individual, their type of skin and how deep the damage is. There are two types of peels: mild ones, that will take a few sessions for changes to be noticeable but your skin will recover quickly; and stronger ones -with phenol- that, because of the reddish sun burnt look and feel they leave, can take months to completely recover from.

Collagen creams or injections: Collagen is the main structural protein found in animal connective tissue, after a certain age, we start losing the percentage of collagen we have in our skin and wrinkles and loose skin make an appearance. There are two ways to go about this: either use masks and creams that help us restore our levels of collagen, or inject the protein directly into different patches of our face to fill and reduce wrinkles. The results are very noticeable straight away and can last between 6 to 9 months.

Botox: Probably the most popularised by the media. It can only be used in the upper area of our faces, forehead and eyes. The procedure is usually painless, a very thin needle injects botulinum toxin into a muscle to stop it from contracting and expanding, creating the famous eye lift or minimising a frown. It takes a couple of weeks to see results but, done well, it looks very natural, it can last up to 6 months.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic binds the moisture between cells. It's injected into our skin to produce a face lift effect without having to go through the knife. Unlike botox, hyaluronic acid does fill in the wrinkles and gives a smoother look. In certain cases it's also used to plum up certain areas in the face.

CO2 laser: This laser promotes the production of collagen directly into specific areas. It works with micro-beams to target very small patches of skin or bigger ones if you'd like to. It's also used in the treatment of scars and it leaves the skin looking homogeneous and refreshed minimising fine lines.

IPL: Or intense pulsed light. If you have removed hair in your body through laser in the last 10 years, you have probably heard of this. It's been discovered that this laser's wavelengths help reduce and remove wrinkles and damaged skin, it makes the skin peel itself to show a smoother and healthier layer. However, it takes several sessions to see results.

GentleWaves: It uses low intensity light emitting diodes to stimulate the skin's production of collagen and it also stops the enzymes that causes to lose collagen in the first place. A great method for people with sensitive skin since it's painless, quick, and it doesn't cause any swelling or redness. Between 6 and 10 sessions are advised to see good results.

Microdermabrasion: Colloquially called ''the instant facelift''. Tiny grains are sprayed into the skin to buff away the first layer, our body reacts by replacing it with smoother more youthful looking skin, with minimised pores and less tendency to produce unneeded oil. The results are fantastic and if you have up to 8 sessions spread throughout a few months they can last for a very long time.

Sculptra: Probably the quickest and most durable treatment if you have a lot of wrinkles in your face and don't want to go through surgery. It can last up to 2 years! Poly L lactic acid (a synthetic material our bodies generate when we work out) is injected in different parts of your face to not fill but add volume to the areas that have lost collagen.

Have you ever tried any of this treatments before? What was your experience? Do you think non invasive treatments are better than surgery?

Stay tuned for the second part of this where I talk about options in the surgery department.





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