Just as you wouldn’t get a haircut right before a wedding or after a breakup (we hope), you shouldn’t rush into a decision to have a cosmetic treatment. Choosing to have a treatment (or multiple ones) done can be exciting, but it is important to remember that these are medical procedures, first and foremost. Thus, real consideration and research should be done prior to booking your appointment. We have created a thorough checklist to aid you in this process.
Here are eight questions to ask before you move forward.
1. Am I trying to be “perfect”?
“Perfection” is arbitrary and chasing symmetry can be a slippery slope. In a world of contouring and filters, understanding that most people are not symmetrical can be a big hurdle to overcome. The reality is that most of the population is asymmetrical, and there are certain lifestyle components that can exasperate asymmetry. For example: if you sleep on one side, it’s very likely that side will be flatter and will probably produce more wrinkles. Certain procedures can help with this, but a “perfect match” is unlikely.
2. Is this procedure right for me?
We are all unique beings and must take our own bodies, needs and face structures into account when deciding which procedures and treatments to have. Just because your friend found success by using a certain laser or a celebrity had a lip injection does not mean it would be the right procedure for you. This is why a consultation with a qualified practitioner is essential.
3. Which procedure should I do first?
While it’s common to combine procedures (under the guidance of a board certified dermatologist), timing is important. For example: we do not recommend that patients have a laser procedure after filler as dermal fillers are placed strategically in the face and should not be moved or compromised immediately. Additionally, the heat from lasers can potentially ‘melt’ or dissolve the filler. Be sure to ask for a proper timeline from your qualified physician.
4. Have I done extensive research?
Not only is it important to read about the procedure itself, but get to know everything you can about the person performing it. Make sure the doctor you choose is board certified and specializes in this treatment option. While it is tempting to buy medical and aesthetic treatments from discounted websites, the truth is that not everyone knows how to perform them properly, and that can cost you more money and frustration as you search for someone to “fix” the complications of a procedure that was done incorrectly. In the case of something like Botox or Dysport, it can take a few months for the effects to wear off.
5. Is this something I really want?
First, we firmly believe in the right of all patients to explore cosmetic dermatology in all capacities that feel most right for them (and are right for them). Still, we feel it is essential that every patient has thought about the procedure and come to the decision to have it done themselves and not to “fix a flaw” pointed out by someone else or act off of a knee-jerk reaction to the trend of the day.
6. How realistic are my expectations?
Too often patients will come in and expect a single procedure to change everything that bothers them, but different concerns have specific needs. While fillers and treatments like Botox and Dysport are great options for restoring volume and softening wrinkles they might not address your specific concerns if there is significant volume loss or deep lines. It is important to listen to a trained physician who can offer an honest assessment.
7. Am I financially prepared for this?
This is your face and body and it is a medical procedure which can offer wonderful benefits, but there are always risks that only a board certified physician can limit and eliminate. It is important not to skimp on the procedure so that you not only get the desired outcome, but that you are safe. Equally important, we do not recommend that patients take on a financial burden to have a procedure. Prepare and save for the ones you want.
8. Finally, Am I mentally prepared for this?
Certain procedures require downtime and healing. All of the risks, benefits, recovery and healing time should be explained in full detail. If you are having a procedure like Fraxel and will need a few days to recover, plan your schedule accordingly so that you can enjoy the healing process without stress and concern (stress causes inflammation and can prolong healing time.