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Noninvasive Cosmetic Treatments

Popular noninvasive (mostly) cosmetic surgery treatments are less expensive alternatives in a recession.

July 19, 2009|Susan Carpenter | Los Angeles Times
  • BOTOX: A leading noninvasive treatment.
BOTOX: A leading noninvasive treatment. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)

Hard-hit last fall by the economy, cosmetic surgery has been making something of a comeback lately. The most popular procedures are (relatively) low-cost, noninvasive and have the added benefit of reduced recovery times that won't keep patients away from work so long that their jobs are on the line. Though the popularity of procedures varies by age, what follows are definitions for some of the most common cosmetic surgery treatments:


The No. 1 noninvasive procedure for patients 30 and older, Botox is a botulinum toxin that is injected into wrinkles, lines and creases in the face or neck to reduce their appearance. The toxin works by blocking nerve impulses, temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles to give the skin a smoother appearance.

Chemical peel

Phenol, trichloroacetic acid or alpha hydroxy acid is applied to the face to remove the skin's damaged outer layers and smooth the uneven textures caused by blemishes, wrinkles and variances in pigmentation.

Laser skin resurfacing

This treatment directs the light from a laser onto wrinkled, sun-damaged and stretch-marked skin to improve the skin's appearance. Its use has shown the highest increase among noninvasive cosmetic procedures for men and women since 2005.

Hyaluronic acid

An injectable filler, hyaluronic acid products such as Restylane and Juvéderm are used to soften skin folds and reduce wrinkles, smile lines and crow's feet. The treatment lasts about six months.


Although this is definitely not a noninvasive, it is the most popular surgical procedure for people ages 20 to 59. Liposuction, a.k.a. lipoplasty, is used to slim and reshape body areas by removing excess fat deposits.

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