6 Cosmetic Procedures That Are Not Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is a broad field that is most well-known for reconstructive procedures1 (surgical in nature). However, many people are not comfortable with undergoing surgery as a way to enhance their looks. Fortunately, there are cosmetic procedures that can be done to enhance one’s appearance— that don’t require any surgery.

#1: Botox

Botox is arguably the most popular cosmetic procedure to date, although many other cosmetic procedures are becoming increasingly popular. However, many people may not know that Botox is actually made from the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning2, called botulism3. Before you start to worry, Botox is FDA approved to treat wrinkles because doctors only use a very small amount and lasts for around three months or more. It can also be injected into other areas of the body to treat things like:

  • Chronic migraine
  • Overactive bladder
  • Severe underarm sweating

#2: Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure that applies a chemical solution to the skin to remove the top layers. This cosmetic procedure is used to treat acne scars, discoloration, and wrinkles as the skin grows back smoother. There are three types of chemical peels4:

  1. Deep Chemical Peel: This is the most extreme chemical peel that goes beyond the epidermis and dermis. Deep chemical peels are usually recommended for precancerous growths and deep scars and wrinkles.
  2. Medium Chemical Peel: This type of chemical peel isn’t as extreme as a deep chemical peel, but it does remove some skin cells from the dermis (middle layer of skin).
  3. Light Chemical Peel: Light chemical peels only remove skin cells from the epidermis (top layer) and is used to treat acne, fine wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

However chemical peels aren’t recommended for everyone, and there are risks that come with them (like with most cosmetic procedures). Changes in skin color, redness, scarring, and swelling are common side effects, but infection and heart/kidney/liver damage are also possible side effects.

#3: Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion 5is a cosmetic procedure that produces the same results as a chemical peel, except no chemicals are used in the treatment. Dermatologists use a tool to scrape away the top layer of skin to reveal the smoother skin underneath. Dermabrasion works best on lighter skin (darker skin tends to scar more) and can help the following conditions:

  • Acne scars
  • Chicken pox scars
  • Crow’s feet
  • Fine lines
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Liver spots
  • Precancerous skin patches
  • Stretch marks
  • Sun damage
  • Tattoos
  • Wrinkles

A similar-sounding procedure called dermaplaning removes skin cells and also removes vellus hair. Dermaplaning can be done at home, whereas dermabrasion is usually done by a dermatologist.

#4: Fillers

Like Botox, cosmetic fillers can smooth wrinkles and they’re also used to fill in the dark circles around the eyes and the lips. Collagen, the most often used cosmetic filler, is injected into the problem area by a doctor. Hyaluronic acid is another cosmetic filler that’s becoming popular. Both collagen and hyaluronic acid can be used as lip injections, but fat cells are longer-lasting fillers.

#5: Microblading

Many women (and men) have gotten their eyebrows threaded to make them appear thinner or to better define their shape, but there’s now a trend to make your eyebrows appear thicker and fuller. Microblading is similar to tattooing, and eyebrows are filled in during this process. Unlike tattoos, however, this procedure isn’t permanent and the microblading effect only lasts for about three years.

It’s important to note that this cosmetic procedure is not FDA approved, so it’s important to do your research and understand the risks before undergoing this procedure. Possible risks are allergic reactions and infections, including HIV.

#6: Snap-on Veneers

Sometimes dental work is a necessary procedure, such as filling a cavity or removing wisdom teeth. Other times, dental procedures are considered cosmetic because they enhance the appearance of teeth. A popular dental procedure is teeth veneers, a permanent procedure that shaves down original teeth to adhere a tooth-colored material in the shape of teeth.

There’s also the option of getting nonpermanent veneers, such as snap-on veneers. Like dermaplaning, installing snap-on veneers can be done right at home— there’s no need for a visit to your dentist. The best cosmetic teeth covers will also allow you to eat, drink, and talk as normal with your veneers on, and you can even get a custom fit.

Sometimes, the term plastic surgery can include both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures, and some of these cosmetic procedures are quite invasive, even though they’re not surgery. Other times, cosmetic procedures can be minimally invasive and even D.I.Y.

  1. Tolman, Dan E. “Reconstructive procedures with endosseous implants in grafted bone: a review of the literature.” International journal of oral & maxillofacial implants 10.3 (1995). ↩︎
  2. Lindström, Miia, et al. “Novel insights into the epidemiology of Clostridium perfringens type A food poisoning.” Food microbiology 28.2 (2011): 192-198. ↩︎
  3. Sobel, Jeremy. “Botulism.” Beyond anthrax: the weaponization of infectious diseases (2009): 85-105. ↩︎
  4. Landau, Marina. “Chemical peels.” Clinics in dermatology 26.2 (2008): 200-208. ↩︎
  5. Smith, Jesse Ellis. “Dermabrasion.” Facial Plastic Surgery 30.01 (2014): 035-039. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Icy Health Editorial Team

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