Cosmetic Surgery By Season: Invasive And Non-Invasive Procedures For Summer
So many of us have a love/hate relationship with summer. We relish the idea of long, lazy days in the sun, but we’re reluctant to bare too much skin for reasons ranging from premature aging and skin cancer concerns to feeling self-conscious in our swimwear. When it comes to cosmetic procedures, summer sun can have adverse effects on results — but not everything is off limits. In fact, summer can be the ideal time to touch up minimally invasive treatments, schedule invasive surgeries that require prolonged downtime, or start planning ahead for fall.
With much of the country emerging from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many states have given the green light for both aesthetic treatments and elective surgery. Below are some of the best invasive and non-invasive procedures to consider in the summertime.
Summertime Cosmetic Surgery
For some, summer can be an ideal time to schedule a cosmetic surgery procedure. Anyone who’s on a break from work or school or who has vacation time to spare can take advantage of the seasonal slow down and recover on the down low. This is true for moms, too. “With kids out of school, moms find that there is a little more flexibility in their schedules, since they are not running around doing pick up, drop off, and after school activities,” Lisa Jewell, MD, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at South Bay Plastic Surgeons in Torrance, California. “Everyone's schedule seems to open up a bit.”
1. Breast Augmentation
In her practice, breast augmentation is the most popular summertime surgical procedure, as patients can enjoy their results relatively soon post-op. “Our highly skilled surgeons use a variety of techniques in order to minimize recovery, so patients look and feel great very quickly after surgery,” she says.
Liposuction is also sought after this season, with patients seeking to address fat pockets resistant to diet and exercise. “Liposuction has minimal downtime and you can return to most things within a couple days,” Dr. Jewell explains. Bruising and soreness is typical, but generally subside in a few weeks. “While it can take months for patients to see their final result from liposuction due to swelling, patients will notice an immediate change after surgery — and it only continues to get better,” she says. “The incisions are also very small and easily hidden when at the beach.”
In addition to breast enhancement and body procedures, rhinoplasty is quite popular during the summer months. “It’s definitely our busiest time of the year,” says UCLA rhinoplasty specialist Jason Roostaeian, MD. “Many patients — especially young people — are looking to have their rhinoplasty during summer break.”
4. Body Contouring
Minimally or non-invasive body contouring cosmetic procedures like CoolSculpting® (which freezes and eliminates fat cells) and BodyTite® (which uses radiofrequency energy to reduce fat and tighten superficial tissue) are also popular during the warmer months. Both treatments have minimal downtime and can produce subtle yet measurable results — particularly in patients already leading healthy lifestyles.
In-Office Cosmetic Treatments for Summer
“Because patients typically spend more time in the sun during the summer, we find that procedures with less downtime and low risk for hyperpigmentation are most popular,” Dr. Jewell says. While it’s important to avoid treatments that can exacerbate hyperpigmentation or sensitize skin to the sun during the summertime, there is plenty that can be done to keep the complexion clear and bright during the warm weather months.
For in-office summer skincare, Dr. Jewell recommends HydraFacial® to draw out impurities (think: all that sunscreen and excess sebum clogging pores) and give an instant glow. A sign of the times, she notes that she’s seen an increased number of patients with acne around the mouth and chin — most likely the result of wearing COVID-19 preventative face masks and stress — and she says the gentle exfoliation of a HydraFacial® can have a clarifying effect.
“We have seen an uptick in requests for Botox® from pent-up demand and the fact that, while wearing a mask, everyone focuses on the forehead and eyes,” Dr. Jewell shares. Lip filler also remains as popular as ever, she says, thanks in large part to the recent approval of Restylane® Kysse by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “The newest hyaluronic acid filler Kysse is now available in the U.S. and is already very popular for our practice,” she says. While it takes up one to two weeks to see the full effects of neurotoxin injections (think: Botox®, Dysport®, Jeuveau®, and Xeomin®), dermal fillers offer immediate results (albeit with a few days of swelling and bruising).
3. Laser Hair Removal
With patients often showing more skin than usual during the summer months, Amy Spizuoco, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of True Dermatology in New York City, says laser hair removal is “hands down the number one request” at her practice. In fact, both men and women seek out the popular treatment. “Women are concerned mostly about the bikini area, and men are mostly concerned about their back,” she says. Since multiple sessions are required to achieve results, laser hair removal is best started before the warm weather arrives.
Daily sunscreen applications are a must in all seasons, but remembering to reapply throughout the day is especially critical during times of increased sun exposure. Needless to say, layers of sun protection plus warmer temperatures increases sweat and sebum production, which can lead to breakouts and dullness. Here's how to keep skin glowing:
1. Cleanse & Exfoliate
To combat these stressors, don’t skimp on cleansing (both morning and night) and try adding a gentle exfoliant to your routine. Your dermatologist can help you choose one that’s right for your skin type.
2. Add Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the ultimate skincare multitaskers, and Dr. Jewell recommends her patients add them to their regimen. Depending on your skin concerns, there are an array of options. Vitamin C, for example, helps to brighten the skin, while vitamin E helps to protect against the free radicals that damage collagen and elastin.
3. Skip Retinol
It’s important to watch your retinol and retinoid usage during the summer months, as they can increase your sensitivity to the sun. And, in case we haven’t said it enough, applying (and reapplying) a broad-spectrum sunscreen is especially crucial when using vitamin A-derived products.
4. Stay Out of the Sun
Dr. Spizuoco’s top tip for summertime skincare? Stay out of the sun. “The sun ages us faster than anything we do, eat, or drink,” she explains. “Stick to simple procedures that you are used to getting and are safe in the sun. Avoid lasers and chemical peels, if you can't avoid the sun.”
Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead for Fall
The early bird gets the worm — particularly when it comes to scheduling cosmetic procedures and surgery. If you are considering going under the knife or needle in the fall, be sure to start talking to your provider now. Similarly, treatments that are typically avoided in the summer can be resumed after Labor Day (i.e. when a patient’s sun exposure decreases).
Dr. Jewell, for instance, often recommends combining facial rejuvenation procedures like a facelift and lasers. That combo is not necessarily safe for summer. “The fall is a great time for procedures that require a bit more downtime, like a facelift,” she says. “We often will do a laser to the face in conjunction with a facelift, and it is important to stay out of the sun following that procedure.”
Fall is also the ideal time for patients with melasma to seek treatment. “Melasma is a facial pigmentation condition triggered by the sun,” Dr. Spizuoco explains. “It is best treated when sun exposure is at minimum.” The same logic holds true for those looking to address varicose or spider veins. “It's best to wait till fall, when it's pants season because vein treatment causes temporary bruising while healing,” she says.
When it comes to surgery, Dr. Jewell advises patients to keep their scars out of the sun (since exposure can cause hyperpigmentation), making some procedures a better fit for the fall. She finds abdominoplasty (a.k.a. a tummy tuck) — which creates a low scar from hip bone to hip bone — tends to be more popular in autumn. “Undergoing this surgery in the fall allows the patient's scar to fade all year out of the sun before the following summer,” she says.
As always, if you’re considering cosmetic treatments or plastic surgery this summer, do your research. It’s more crucial than ever to ensure that you find a board certified provider or highly trained and licensed aestheticians (in the case of skincare treatments). Any reputable practitioner will be taking thorough safety precautions to protect patients from COVID-19 exposure.