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Cosmetic procedures on a budget

January 10, 2010|By Kavita Daswani

A $500 mini-makeover

You're on a budget but still want to look your best. We asked cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and aestheticians to weigh in on how you can get the most value for your beauty buck.

* "I have patients coming in and saying, "I've saved up $500. What can I do with it?" said Dr. Glynis Ablon, a dermatologist and assistant professor at UCLA. Her recommendation: Go for the treatment with the most obvious effect -- a laser session or combination of facial peel with Botox.

* Elsewhere, doctors say that treatments around the eyes can make all the difference: Filling in under-eye wrinkles can be done fairly quickly for about $500 and can make a big difference in the overall look of the face, said Dr. Toby Mayer, a cosmetic surgeon.

* Doctors caution against going for discount fillers and lasers; often, they say, the fillers are heavily diluted and the lasers so low-energy that there will be no effect at all.

* Drugstore skin-care brands can be as effective as expensive department store versions, so you may want to experiment. Beauty experts suggest focusing on one treatment product in a personal skin-care routine. You should choose something with such active ingredients as hyaluronic acid to hydrate and antioxidants and anti-inflammatories such as Vitamins A, C and E that will do the most to make skin healthy.

* Consider what your most bothersome feature is, says dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu: It may be a frown line, large pores or sun spots. Botox can take care of frown lines, works right away and can last up to four months, while laser treatments and chemical peels for pores, brown spots and sun damage require repeated sessions. For those, a prescription fading cream and drugstore sunscreen can replicate the effects of laser treatments at a much lower cost. Laser treatments and chemical peels can help with severe acne scarring over time. Home microdermabrasion and home peel systems can temporarily reduce the look of pores and improve the appearance of acne scarring.

-- Kavita Daswani

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