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Add Self-Care to Your Goals this Year

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon Dr. Karen Horton and Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Emily Sespaniak share their tips and recommendations for a beautiful 2022 and beyond.

Each New Year offers a fresh start – a chance to be healthier, more productive, successful, and to get more out of life than the previous calendar year. This includes beauty, fitness, and overall health.  

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon Dr. Karen Horton and Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Emily Sespaniak share their tips and recommendations for a beautiful 2022 and beyond!

Q: What treatments are often booked at the beginning of the year?

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Emily Sespaniak: Most patients start off with nonsurgical aesthetic treatments. Scheduling nonsurgical appointments is expeditious, and treatments can usually be performed on the same day as the consultation – with much less downtime when compared to plastic surgery.  

Medical-grade skin care: Avoiding sun damage with physical SPF sunblock (which contains titanium and/or zinc instead of chemical sunblock), and treating existing sun damage with IPL and non-ablative laser skin rejuvenation treatments is easy to start now, with minimal to zero downtime. 

Next up, injectable neuromodulator wrinkle reducers such as Botox and Dysport lessen active and static wrinkles within 1-2 weeks. Results last 3-4 months on average. Much like scheduling a haircut or hair color touch-up appointment, we encourage patients to schedule their next appointment before leaving the office rather than waiting for the results to wear off. This ensures consistent results and allows patients to reap the full preventative benefits of their injectable wrinkle reducer treatment.

Likewise, dermal fillers are a great way to revolutionize the face resulting in a more refreshed and rested appearance. As we age we lose facial volume which, along with the development of lines and wrinkles, can create a more tired looking appearance. A short, in-office dermal filler treatment revitalizes the face with minimal downtime. We believe in a “less is more” approach to cosmetic injectables to keep patients looking natural and like the best version of themselves.

For the body, nonsurgical fat reduction like CoolSculpting can help spot-reduce stubborn localized fat deposits in just 35 minutes per treatment area. Results following nonsurgical treatments are not usually as dramatic as formal plastic surgery procedures, but the trade-off is no downtime. Surgical consultations have a several month wait time, scheduling surgery can often take a month or two (or longer depending on expected downtime), and recovery after surgery is more extensive – although the results are worth it! 

For those new to cosmetic treatments, can you talk more about downtime needed for treatment/services?

Dr. Karen Horton: We recommend starting off slow. Plan ahead. Look at your social and work calendars, and allot enough downtime for either nonsurgical procedures or more major surgery. For Botox and other injectable wrinkle reducers, we recommend one day off exercise – and up to two weeks for final results.

For dermal fillers, allow three for maximal swelling to peak and 2-4 weeks for final results. For more extensive plastic surgery procedures, give yourself at least a month for procedures such as a breast augmentation, labiaplasty or liposuction, up to three months or more before a major vacation following a facelift or neck lift, full-body liposuction or a tummy tuck.  

Are nonsurgical and surgical treatments becoming more common?

Dr. Karen Horton: Plastic surgery is everywhere, and it’s no longer a taboo!  The “Zoom effect” continues, even though many of us are back to work in person, and masks are starting to be lifted – slowly – and then put back on… (Thanks, Omicron).  Men and women are not shy about sharing the work they’ve had done, even if bandaged and bruised (think Marc Jacobs), and it’s more about upkeep these days than waiting to have a lot of work done all at once, so that they are unrecognizable to others.    

What are your top most popular surgical procedures?

Dr. Karen Horton: The top three plastic surgery procedures of 2022 are:

1. Tummy tucks with liposuction circumferentially around the torso, known as “lipo-360” on social media. This outpatient procedure that takes 3-5 hours repairs separated abdominal muscles, removes excess skin, fat and stretch marks from the lower abdomen, tightens abdominal wall skin and removes excess fat from the upper and lower abdomen, flanks, pubic region and upper inner thighs.

2. Breast augmentations and lifts or breast revisions for improved symmetry or a more natural looking result. There is no one-size-fits-all technique for breast surgery. The best approach involves getting to        know what our patient desires, evaluating her own breast tissue, and planning the procedure that helps her feel most comfortable with her body.

3. Lower face and neck rejuvenation, with our favorite technique being the MACS lift. This technique lifts the deep tissues of the face and restores the former youthful position, eliminating jowls and creating a        more defined jawline.

What are your top most popular nonsurgical treatments?

Emily Sespaniak, NP:

1. The Botox lip flip emerged as one of the most common nonsurgical treatment requests of 2021 and will continue to be a popular procedure into 2022. This quick, easy treatment involves injecting a small amount of Botox into the upper lip (almost painless with our numbing cream!) to create the appearance of a fuller looking upper lip without the commitment and downtime of lip filler.

2. Cheek and chin filler in combination is a popular treatment plan to address facial volume loss and balance the facial profile. Results are subtle but beautiful and natural, and typically last a year or more.

3. IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, continues to be a very popular minimal-to-no downtime procedure that helps address sun spots, age spots, broken capillaries, and other common signs of photoaging. The most    common treatment areas are the face, neck, chest, and hands. Winter is the most popular time for this treatment since most patients are getting less sun so it’s easier to time treatments. If good sun protection is practiced daily, results can last many years.

How do you like to start the New Year personally – treatments? 

Dr. Karen Horton: Personally, I like to have my fillers injected at the beginning of the year and mid-year. I trust Emily Sespaniak NP to evaluate how much filler is left every six months and to assess my facial aging. As we get older, we lose volume (fat and soft tissues) in our face, and strategically placed fillers can help restore a more youthful appearance while avoiding an “overdone” look.  

Emily Sespaniak, NP: Winter is my favorite time to start a Clear + Brilliant laser treatment series. It’s a great way to stimulate collagen and restore a glow to my dry winter skin. I also do my quarterly Botox treatment as well as reassess my skincare regimen and make necessary changes based on how dry or sensitive my skin is feeling.

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