Myth: Any skin care procedure you need can be done at home.
Truth: There are procedures that must be done only by a professional.
I stand by the fact that at least some basic skincare procedures can be done at home. It saves a lot of time and money and you can still get excellent results if you’re careful to do them correctly. But if you choose to have them done professionally, it’s perfectly fine. After all, it’s fun to get pampered. And when these procedures are done professionally, you do get better results than what you get at home. However, there are a number of beauty procedures that must not be done at home because they’re too risky.
From me, you get the truth.
I admit I’m still not a huge fan of any kind of extreme measures when it comes to beauty. However, there are a lot more options out there and it’s not all or nothing. You must talk to your dermatologist and find out what’s available and what will work best for your beauty concerns.
A general rule is that anything involving needles, heavy machinery, or heavy-duty chemicals must be done by a dermatologist. You need to have it done by someone with the right training and plenty of experience. That said, one way to save money on it is to have it done in a teaching hospital by a resident in dermatology under supervision.
Here are some examples:
Botox: A diluted form of the botulinum toxin is injected into small areas on the face to freeze the muscles and allow the skin to rest and smooth out wrinkles. The results last a while so you don’t need to have it done often. Yes, it sounds dangerous, but when done correctly it does work.
Fillers: Injectable fillers such as Cosmoderm and Restylane are injected into small areas to plump up the skin and make wrinkles less noticeable. Some of these fillers last longer than others, but there are pros and cons to that. The pro of longer-lasting fillers is that yes, they last a while so you don’t need to redo them often. The con is that if it goes wrong, you’re stuck with it.
Thermage: Radio waves are used to firm and tighten sagging skin. This one tends to be painful and requires some kind of painkiller as part of it.
Lasers: These target small areas to resurface the skin, reduce lines, remove dark spots, and reduce hair. They’re usually used on lip and chin hair and on smaller areas of the body. Less common is using a laser to remove leg hair. Laser treatments are painful and expensive, but they accomplish a lot.
Medium and deep peels: Unlike the light peels you can do at home, these involve more intense chemical work. Even light peels give you better results when done by a dermatologist because he/she can use prescription-strength creams that are not available for home use. But if you want to go further than a light peel it must be done by a dermatologist.
Yes, there are other procedures available and I can’t list all of them because you need a subscription to the medical journals to keep up with them. This is why it’s important to talk to your dermatologist. Good ones know about what’s available and what will work best for your concerns.
There’s one more beauty procedure that must be done professionally and involves hair. As a diehard curly girl I still urge my curly-haired readers to avoid chemical straightening like the plague. You don’t ever need to straighten your hair because with the right care, curly hair can look beautiful. If you just need it to be more restrained, curly hair goes into ponytails and updos faster and easier than straight hair and it stays up better. It is okay to straighten it every now and then with a brush and blow-dryer or with large rollers and a hooded dryer if you just want to look different, but you need to have the option of going straight or curly. Chemical straightening doesn’t allow for that.
However, if you’re going to ignore all of that, at least don’t ignore this: never try to chemically straighten at home. Yes, there are kits in drugstores, but you need to ignore them. Chemicals used for hair straightening are intense and can burn you and your hair. Bite the bullet and find a hairstylist who specializes in chemicals. They know how to use chemicals to keep damage to a minimum (these things will damage your hair no matter what) and to take precautions to prevent you from getting burned or inhaling anything nasty.
We all deserve to look and feel beautiful. With the right care, we can. Just know your limits and don’t stretch them too far.