Tired of Shaving? Laser Hair Removal May Be the Best Solution

Years ago, there were limited options for dealing with unsightly face, underarm, leg, and bikini line hair.  In fact, the majority of people relied on, and still rely on, shaving to remove unwanted hair.  While shaving certainly does the job, it’s often cumbersome and expensive over the course of time.  Most people will tell you that they don’t like dealing with the creams, razors, and other tools required for their weekly (if not more than weekly) shave.  The inconvenience and the costs often lead people to consider alternatives like tweezing, waxing, and electrolysis, but these hair removal solutions are incredibly painful and only deliver short-term results.

If you’re truly fed up with shaving and ready for a permanent solution to your excess hair woes, now is the perfect time to consider laser hair removal.  Should you start your treatment right now, you could have smooth, hairless skin just in time for summer.

What to Expect during Your Laser Hair Removal Treatment

The expert providers at Dr. Shah & Associates use the Lightsheer Diode Laser Hair Removal System, the gold standard in laser hair removal.  This specific laser targets hair for a permanent result, with little to no pain. During these treatments, targeted flashes of light will be applied to your skin to prevent the regeneration of hair follicles and you may feel a snapping or pinching sensation or minor discomfort.  After your session, your skin may appear a little red or swollen; this is normal and will only last a few hours.

Unlike electrolysis where only small areas of skin can be targeted, the Lightsheer treatments target numerous hair follicles at once, allowing our practitioners to cover large areas of skin quite effectively.  Once your session is complete, the unwanted hair that has been bothering you will be gone!  In fact, it’s reported that 90% of people achieve permanent hair loss just after 3 to 5 treatments.

Laser hair removal sessions may last only a few minutes or over an hour.  The length of your sessions will depend upon the surface size that is being treated.  It’s important to remember that the number of sessions you’ll need will also depend upon the kind of hair that is being treated as well as the area of skin that is being treated.  When you speak with our practitioners, they’ll be able to come up with a custom treatment program so you’ll have a better understanding of the time commitment involved as well as possible results.

The Long-Term Benefits

There are numerous laser hair removal benefits including:

  • No more shaving.  You can finally say good bye to your razors and overwhelming shaving cream choices and hello to smooth, radiant skin.
  • Softer skin.  An excellent advantage of laser hair removal is that patients often report their skin is softer after treatments, not to mention smoother.  When you shave, annoying stubble reappears after a few days; that’s not the case when your hair is removed with a laser.
  • Less ingrown hairs.  If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair, you know it’s extremely painful and can leave you with ugly bumps and swelling.  The great news is that after laser hair removal, you reduce the amount of hairs that you have, which means you considerably decrease your chances of having ingrown hairs.
  • Money savings.  Over time, the costs associated with shaving, tweezing, and waxing the various areas of your body add up.  Laser hair removal is a one-time investment that delivers permanent results which will lead to significant, long-term costs savings.

What’s Causing an Uptick in Facial Plastic Surgery? Selfies!

It’s estimated that, in 2013, one and four people were using social media around the world and a large percentage of those users were young women and men.  What’s perhaps more staggering is a recent claim by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) that social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are causing a recent uptick in facial plastic surgery procedures.

Recently, the AAFPRS disclosed that 1 in 3 plastic surgeons have seen a spike in requests for facial plastic surgeries due to “selfies”; self-portraits usually taken with camera phones that are then posted to social media sites.  Selfies have become so popular that a Google search for “take perfect selfie” yields 121,000,000 results that include in-depth articles, blogger tips, and even video tutorials on YouTube.

When asked about the increase in requests, surgeons reported to the AAFPRS that 13% of patients said that sharing photos on social media outlets led them to feel dissatisfied with the way they look and caused them to explore facial plastic surgery options.  Compared to 2012 and earlier years, more young women and men looked into procedures like eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, and even hair transplants to improve their appearance in 2013.  In fact, the AAFPRS reported that 50% of the plastic surgeons that participated in their survey said candidates seeking facial cosmetic surgery and/or injectables like Botox® were age 30 and under.

When asked about these new findings, the president of the AAFPRS claimed that social platforms are entirely image based and that these outlets forced individuals to, “hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before.”  After people post selfies to their social media accounts, they not only have to deal with their own inner-critic, but also the feedback of others whether negative or positive.  Put all of these factors together and it is not surprising that younger people are becoming increasingly self-critical and dissatisfied with the way they look.

However, even though the recent figures are alarming and even controversial, an article from the Washington Post says that we shouldn’t take the numbers too seriously.  Out of the many plastic surgeons that participated in the AAFPRS survey, only 69 answered the big selfie question:

“Have you seen an increase in requests for plastic surgery stemming from people being more self aware of their looks because of social media? If so, estimate the percentage of requests for each procedure.”

Selfies Don’t Capture the True Picture

We’ve all heard the saying “the camera adds 10 pounds.”  When it comes to selfies, pictures that are primarily of your face, a similar rule applies.  Camera phones have wide angle lenses and they can distort the way you look.  Add into the mix that most people hold their phones up at an odd angle to capture their self-pictures, poor lighting, and the closeness of the camera, and what you have is a recipe for inaccuracy.  So, before you become overly critical after taking your latest selfie, take all these factors into consideration.  If you still feel unsatisfied with the way you look, consider speaking with a facial plastic surgeon at Dr. Shah & Associates who can give you an objective opinion before you commit to any surgery. 

Which Type of Breast Surgery is Right for You?

Your breasts have a significant effect on your overall appearance. The size and shape of your breasts affects the proportions and curves of your body, which can be a big boost to your self-esteem, or a major deterrent.  Love them or hate them, your breasts are front and center on your body, making them hard to avoid or cover up. If you’re unhappy with your breasts for any reason, it might be time to consider cosmetic breast surgery.

The first thing you need to decide when considering enhancements to your breasts is just what type of surgery you would like to receive. At Dr. Shah and Associates, we offer three types of breast procedures: breast augmentation, breast lifts, and breast reductions.  Below, you’ll find descriptions of these different types of breast surgery as well as what each procedure can help you achieve.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is the most common form of cosmetic breast surgery. With breast augmentation, you can give yourself fuller, shapelier breasts that improve the look and proportions of your entire body. At Dr. Shaw and Associates, we offer both silicone and saline breast implants. Saline implants are filled after they are placed, which allows for a smaller incision and minimal scarring. Silicone implants have a more natural feel then saline implants, but they require a slightly larger incision.

Your surgeon can help you decide which type of implant would be best for your specific body type and desired outcome. Before your breast augmentation surgery, your surgeon will work with you to help you decide what size implant will be most attractive and comfortable for you. This is one type of cosmetic procedure in which having a highly skilled surgeon makes all the difference.

Breast Lift

Breast lift surgeries are becoming increasingly common for a number of reasons. Unlike augmentations or reconstructive breast surgery, breast lifts work with your natural breasts to help you regain the shape, feel, and perkiness that you once had. There are no implants in a breast lift. Instead, this procedure helps your breasts look and feel their very best on their own.

Breast lift procedures are particularly well-loved by mothers whose breasts have been significantly altered by childbirth and breast-feeding as well as women who have gained or lost a significant amount of weight and women who would like to slow down the natural aging process. A breast lift can be done in combination with an arm lift or thigh lift in order to rejuvenate the whole body.

Breast Reduction

If your natural breasts are large enough that they cause you pain, medical trouble, or embarrassment, breast reduction surgery can help. Oftentimes, women with unusually large breasts suffer from trouble breathing, back pain, neck pain, and of course, breast pain. Breasts that are too large can also have a negative effect on a woman’s appearance and self-confidence. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too big.

If you’re uncomfortable with the size of your breasts, a breast reduction surgery can help relieve your pain and give you a more balanced body. Breast reduction procedures can be performed in combination with liposuction, tummy tucks, and other procedures that will help improve your overall confidence.

Statistics Show More People Opting for Plastic Surgery

It used to be that when people thought of plastic surgery, they thought of women who’d had way too many procedures done. Images of excess and procedures gone too far often came to mind. 

However, that really isn’t the case anymore.

As plastic surgery is getting more advanced, more and more people are realizing that cosmetic procedures can be an effective and affordable way to enhance their appearance. These days, you can have a simple procedure done that can drastically improve the way you look without anyone realizing you’ve been to a plastic surgeon at all. In fact, cosmetic surgery is on the rise throughout the United States for just that reason.

Statistics Show an Uptick in Cosmetic Procedures

In 2012, 14.6 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States, including both minimally invasive and surgical procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Those figures were up 5% from the previous year. Numbers are not yet available for 2013, but most plastic surgeons believe the numbers increased even more last year. Let’s take a closer look at some of the procedures that people received in 2012:

  • Two million soft tissue filler procedures were performed, up 5% from the previous year.
  • Over one million chemical peels were performed, up 2%.
  • Over one million people did away with unwanted hair through laser hair removal. That figure is up 4% from the previous year.
  • And almost one million microdermabrasion procedures were performed, up 8% from the year before.

As for surgical procedures, nearly 1.6 million were performed in 2012. Breast augmentations were by far the most popular, followed by nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, liposuction, and facelifts, in that order.

With the numbers steadily rising over the last fifteen years, more and more people are considering everything from minor fixes to major enhancements and the reason is simple: with the right plastic surgeon, you can have plastic surgery without looking like you’ve gotten plastic surgery.

Of course, not all plastic surgeons are equal. Whether you’re interested in a little Botox® to minimize fine lines or need your breasts completely reconstructed, you should take the time to research specialists and to ensure that you will be safe and satisfied with your procedure.

Voted Best Bakersfield Plastic Surgeon for the Last 10 Years

Dr. Shah and Associates has been voted the best plastic surgeon in the Bakersfield area for the last ten years and running. No one will take better care of you or place more emphasis on your personal satisfaction than Dr. Shah and his experienced team of board certified surgeons. With three locations throughout the Bakersfield area, you can schedule a consultation close to home and get all of your most pressing questions answered before making any decisions. Plus, at Dr. Shah and Associates, your safety is our top priority. We’ve created a stress-free, clean environment to help put you at ease throughout your procedure and minimize the risk of any unwanted complications. Our record of cleanliness is the best in the business.

We work with men and women of all ages, helping your inner beauty shine out to the world.  Call 844-437-7424 today to schedule a risk-free consultation. Your body will thank you!

Summer Breast Surgery with Improved Recovery Thanks to New Bra Designs

breast support summer surgeryWith breast surgery recovery, a well-fitting and comfortable support garment can make an important difference.

As reported in a recent story in Digital Journal, women are now able to choose from a wide range of surgical support garments following their breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction. This can be particularly important in the hot summer months, as noted by Dawn Cover, the president of Nouvelle, Inc., a major producer of surgical support garments: “We find that especially during the summer months, comfort is a huge indicator of how fast patients heal following surgery.”

Improved Recovery Comfort Leads to Better Breast Lift Results

One of the main differences between surgical recovery garments and normal, everyday-use bras is that surgical recovery garments are built for comfort when worn 24 hours a day for several weeks after a surgery. This is certainly a priority for the design of the garment, according to Cover, who says that, “Our design team has carefully crafted each bra to be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure surgical sites, stitches, drains, etc. are comfortably protected and secure.”

Some of these popular recovery garment styles include:

  • Bras with Ice Packs: These bras have special pockets that are perfectly designed to support exchangeable ice packs for enhanced comfort.
  • Bra Bands: The smallest and simplest form of breast surgery recovery garments, these bands are worn around the breasts to hold them tightly in place. In some cases, they can be worn with your regular non-underwire bras.
  • Bra Vests: For those women who are recovering from multiple procedures, these vests with or without sleeves can help to support several body areas, giving all-around comfort and support of the arms, stomach and breasts.

Each surgical recovery garment should be chosen to specifically address your unique needs and recovery, and will be recommended during your pre-surgical consultation.

Photo by Tom Hickmore on Flickr.

The Latest In Dermal Filler Options

cosmetic injections dermal fillersOver the past twenty years, one of the most dynamic areas of cosmetic medicine has been injectable dermal fillers.

According to an article in Forbes, dermal fillers have risen in popularity by 110% over the past three years. Both men and women seem drawn to their relatively low level of commitment, expense and recovery time. Though results vary for each case, many people who have these dermal fillers experience almost no recovery period, and are able to immediately return to their normal schedules.

Different Dermal Fillers for Different Purposes

These facial fillers come in many different types and brands, which are used for different cases as a result of their unique benefits. Some provide results for a longer period of time, while others are specifically targeted to address individual forms of treatment.

One of the most common types of these dermal fillers is hyaluronic acid fillers, which include a substance that occurs naturally in the body, making it an excellent filler. These hyaluronic acid fillers include Restylane™, Perlane™, Juvederm™ and Prevelle Silk™.

Other types of dermal fillers include collagen fillers, which are a natural protein substance, particularly useful for filling facial hollows. Calcium hydroxylapatite, which includes Radiesse and Radiance, is another type of popular dermal filler, and is made of microspheres in a water-based gel. Other synthetic types of facial fillers include Polylactic acid and PMMA fillers.

Muscle relaxants such as Botox™ or Dysport™, which each have their own set of benefits and results timeline, are often used with dermal fillers. Discussing your goals and schedule during your consultation will help make sure that you receive the best filler for your situation. For more significant adjustments, a surgical procedure such as a face lift or neck lift may be the best option.

Photo by liber on Flickr.

Mommy Makeover and Skin Treatments Popular With New Moms

phoenix skin breast surgeryMore new mothers are now choosing mommy makeover and skin treatment procedures, thanks to improved techniques and results.

Ranging from the full mommy makeover surgery to non-invasive treatments such as Botox or dermal fillers, these cosmetic procedures are helping to treat the effects of childbirth on a woman’s body. The three main areas of concern that these procedures focus on are the breasts, the stomach, and the skin.

Breast, Stomach, and Skin Procedures for New Moms

When the glow of childbirth lessens after a few months, many new mothers begin feeling that they are being unfairly portrayed by the changes in their body. Cosmetic treatments, whether small or large in scope, may help them to feel that they are taking back control of their bodies.

Many new mothers chose to have skin treatments to restore the glow they remember from pregnancy. These skin treatments range from chemical peels and microdermabrasion to laser treatments. They may also involve medical-grade skin care products for the best possible long-term results.

The most common surgical procedure for women who have recently been through childbirth is the mommy makeover, which includes a tummy tuck and breast surgery. The tummy tuck portion of the procedure tightens and reshapes the muscles that become stretched and damaged during childbirth. It can also remove excess tissue and fat deposits in the process, giving a smoother, more youthful stomach contour.

The breast surgery portion of the mommy makeover provides dramatic changes in the breast appearance, addressing one of the main complaints of women after having children. Drooping breasts, loss of volume, and changes in symmetry are common concerns of mothers, particularly with those who have had multiple children. With a breast lift or breast augmentation, the breasts may be returned to a younger appearance.

Photo by Robert Whitehead on Flickr.

Preventing Hair Loss

hair-lossDarshan Shah, MD, FACS is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon practicing in Malibu, Bakersfield and Fresno, CA.  As Medical Director for Beautologie Medical Group, one of the top 10 practices in California, he strives to provide compassionate care and excellent results for all of his patients.  Dr. Shah trained in Plastic Surgery at the world renown Mayo Clinic, and has had national media recognition in the New York Times, the Today Show and Dr. Phil.  He has also been awarded numerous accolades, including Best/Favorite of Kern for the last 8 years in a row.

Many of us (up to 40% of the population) will suffer from some degree of hair loss in our lifetimes.  Although genetics has a large role in the problem (did your mother’s father have a good head of hair?), there are many other causes that hasten the process.  Diet, mineral deficiencies, environmental pollution, stress, even wearing helmets can cause early and profound hair loss! Knowing is half the battle, so read on for some simple tips to minimize bald spots nad receding hairlines.

The first question to answer is:  do YOU have accelerated hair loss? Accelerated hair loss is a condition where you are losing hair faster than you should, and should get evaluated by your doctor for thyroid issues, other hormonal disturbances, or GI malabsorption.  Try the “tug test”.  Take a small amount of hair in your between your thumb and index fingers (about 20 hairs) and pull slow and firm.  If you have more than 6 hairs in your hand, you may have a problem with accelerated hair loss and should schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.

The most common reason for hair loss is genetic.   This is called androgenic alopecia, which most of us refer to as male or female pattern baldness.  Although it is impossible to completely halt nature’s genetic forces, there are steps you can take to slow the process for years.    Here are some simple tips to keep your hair healthy and where it belongs- on your head!

  1. Keep chemicals off your hair.  Hair dye can be a major chemical irritant to your hair follicle.   Limit hair dying to once every 8 weeks to keep your scalp healthy.
  2. Heat weakens your hair and makes it brittle.   Minimizing the use of hair dryers, hot curlers, and straighteners will help keep your hair from losing it’s protein composition.
  3. Avoid constant pull on your hair.  “Traction alopecia” is caused by excessively tight hairstyles or using hair rollers. Minimizing the amount of pull will maximize the time your hair stays anchored to your scalp.
  4. Don’t brush your hair while wet.  Hair brushes cause “breakage” which can permanently damage hair.  This occurs with more frequency when your hair is wet.
  5. Take care of your hair.  Wash regularly with a gentle shampoo to keep your scalp clean and to avoid scalp infection.
  6. Decrease stress in your life, increase your exercise, and get enough sleep.   Having an unhealthy lifestyle can cause accelerated hair loss, so take care of your body to have a healthy scalp.
  7. Modify your diet to include “hair healthy” vitamins and minerals: iron, vitamin C, Zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids all have a role in preventing hair loss.  Load up on these minerals in your diet or with supplements.
  8. Avoid foods that can accelerate hair loss.  These include soda and raw egg whites.

Recent medical advances have resulted in the development of two “breakthrough medications” that can help if the above techniques fail.  These include Rogaine (Minoxidil) and Propecia (Finesteride).  Minoxidil stops hair loss, while Finesteride can actually help grow new hair in almost 50% of men that take it.

If it is too late and you have lost most of your hair, then you can consider Hair Transplant Surgery, which can be done either by removing a strip of hair and re-implanting it or FUE transplantation which is hair transplant one follicular unit at a time (which leaves no scar).  Hair transplant is done under local anesthesia and works almost 99% of the time.

Luckily, we live in an age where medical and surgical treatments are available. But if you reduce your stress level, eat right and take care of you hair, you may be able to postpone or stop hair loss indefinitely avoiding potential medication side effects and the knife!

Martha Stewart’s Favorite Beauty Tricks

FileMartha_Stewart_2011_Shankbone-200x300Famous worldwide for impeccable taste and a keen eye for detail, Martha Stewart takes a similar approach to her daily beauty routine.

In the most recent issue of Allure Magazine, the 71-year-old former model turned business woman revealed some of her most intimate beauty tricks, including the secret behind her blemish-free complexion:

“I rarely get blemishes now, but if perchance I’m starting to get one, I extract it with my old-fashion fingers, unless I’m getting a facial later that week. I don’t like metal on my face.”

“I’ve tried Botox…”

Martha also wasn’t afraid to admit she ops for the occasional Botox and Juvederm touch-up:

“I haven’t had facial surgery yet, but I did get Juvederm filler after my dog bashed my lip and split it open. I tried Botox. It works for certain things, like for skin under the chin, but I don’t want a taut jawline and a quizzical look.”

As for her more conventional beauty tricks, Martha says she cleanses her face with a hot, steamy cloth every night to loosen up her makeup. She also uses some of her expertly crafted DIY skills to formulate her very own beauty products:

“I’ve made all kinds of things. For instance, I love salt. So I use sea salt, grated lemon peel and sesame seed oil (but not hot sesame oil). That’s s a very good scrub. Sesame oil is the best oil for your skin. It has no smell and dries like a powder.”

Interested in learning more about Martha’s beauty routine? Check out her latest book Living the Good Life, a practical beauty guide for women over 40, which is due to hit store shelves late April.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5 Reasons to Consider the New Gummy Bear Implants

The most significant development in plastic surgery this year is the FDA clearance of cohesive gel implants from Allergan and Sientra. After years of discussion and research, the so-called “gummy bear implant” is now on the market. Here are 5 reasons to consider these new state-of-the-art breast implants.

1. A natural “anatomical” shape

The new implants come in anatomical shapes, often called a teardrop shaped implant. They also have a a flat back, which is said to improve the relationship between the implant and the chest wall. Because they are shaped, they do not rotate within the breast pocket.

2. Predictable results: the benefits of form stability

The new implants are less “liquid-like” than previous silicone implants. They maintain their integrity, while still offering a natural consistency that mimics real breast tissue.

In a 60-month study of Sientra implants by Dr. Grant Stevens and his colleagues, 355 patients had breast augmentation. The doctors found that complication rates and revision rates were comparable to the existing silicone implants, but the incidence of implant wrinkling and capsular contracture was lower.

According to the current Natrelle website, less than 1 percent of the study’s primary augmentation patients experienced wrinkling or rippling with the 410 implant.

3. Robust clinical data

Allergan received approval on their new cohesive gel implants after seven years of research that involved 941 women.

Sientra’s 10-year study enrolled 1,788 patients, with a total of 1,115 patients receiving primary breast augmentation and 362 patients getting revision breast augmentation.

4. Warranties

When you choose Sientra implants, you automatically get their 10 year warranty, offering $3600 of financial assistance and coverage for both implants, in addition to complete size range changes at no additional charge.

All patients who choose Allergan’s silicone implants get their 10 year warranty with lifetime product replacement and financial assistance in the event of rupture, with options for $1200 or $3500 of coverage for various fees involved with revision surgery.

5. You know what you want

Dr. Greg Evans, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, recently spoke to reporters for the Wall Street Journal. He suggests that cohesive gel implants are ideal for the patient who is perhaps a bit older and knows what she wants. For younger patients, Dr. Evans “says he is more likely to use saline implants” because they sometimes change their minds about breast augmentation and removing the saline implant is easier.

Some women simply know what they want from breast augmentation, or they’ve already had one and have clear goals in mind for revision. For these women, the new cohesive gel implant may be ideal.

A demonstration of Sientra’s form stable silicone breast implant. Watch as the implant, split in half, maintains its integrity under stress.