If there is a woman alive who doesn’t eventually deal with cellulite, leg veins and stretch marks, good for her! For the rest of us, there are treatment options.
Take cellulite, the pocked appearance of fat on our thighs, buttocks and abdomen. “Anything over the counter will not help with cellulite,” said Carrie Johanningsmeier, the medical aesthetician at Belle Santé medical spa in Fort Wayne. But what may help, she said, is the laser and radio frequency devices that also use suction, like VelaShape, the tool they use at Belle Santé. The VelaShape (and devices like it) use heated laser treatments to smooth out bumps and tighten skin.
Tina Mertz, an RN, aesthetician, and the patient care coordinator at Plastic Surgery Innovations, agrees that this more intense, but non-invasive treatment is a winner. “We use the VaserShape, which emits ultrasonic waves to the targeted areas. It’s safe to be used anywhere on the body. It’s been a great tool in conjunction with weight loss and there’s no pain or downtime,” she said.
The VaserShape and the VelaShape both also cause some fat breakdown, which is excreted naturally by the body, aided by drinking plenty of water to facilitate the fat flush. These kinds of treatments also “heat the top dermal layer to stimulate collagen growth,” Mertz said. Collagen gives skin elasticity. Treatment can average anywhere from three to six sessions spaced about two weeks apart. Note, too, that you will need a yearly treatment to maintain the results. As Mertz sagely (and funnily) said, “We simply don’t get younger as we age.” Translation: cellulite is part of the aging process, and it needs to be kept at bay.
When it comes to leg veins, the kind that can make you feel like maybe you’ll brave the summer in long pants, there are treatments for that, too.
At Plastic Surgery Innovations, there are two vein treatments. For those big, sticking-out veins, they offer phlebectomy by making small incisions to remove part of the vein. The recovery time is anywhere from two to six weeks, varying by patient. For dark-but-not-bulging veins and webby, red spider veins, Mertz said they can use their multipurpose Cutera Laser. “For vein therapy on spider and dark veins, we use the laser to collapse the vein, causing the blood flow through the treatment area to stop.” No blood flow means the vessel will no longer be visible on the surface of your skin.
At Belle Santé, they use an Elos laser for surface veins and use sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the vein that causes the vein to collapse and the blood to stop flowing.
Vein treatments that are invasive require longer recovery times and may be the only option for some. The laser treatments require no recovery time, but may mean clients have to wear compression hose. Like cellulite, which cannot be “cured,” veins can become visible again if there’s a lot of standing, a person is overweight or the veins are otherwise strained.
As for stretch marks, the darlings of motherhood and changes in weight, there’s not much anyone can do to reduce the appearance of them. But one product to try? “Cocoa butter,” said Mertz, noting that its efficacy in preventing stretch marks is greatly improved by using it before getting stretch marks.
Belle Sante Medical Spa, Fort Wayne, 260.436.6900, bellesantemedspa.com
Plastic Surgery Innovations, Fort Wayne, 260.490.4673, plasticsurgeryinnovations.com