“You can maintain your youthful appearance and be less likely to have more invasive procedures later on in life if you put it effort to maintain the appearance. The same with skincare, if you put more effort now, with daily sunscreen, look after the skin and rejuvenate the skin, the likelihood of you having wrinkly sun-damaged skin later on is obviously much less.”
This is the view of Dr Alexandra Grubnik, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon from Nip Tuck at the Netcare Milpark Hospital and Netcare Rosebank Hospital.
While surgical facial procedures are still being requested by South Africans, Dr Grubnik says there has been a rise in non-surgical procedures, with botox being one of the commonest procedures.
“All the non-surgical procedures are done in rooms and there’s absolutely no downtime. This is why they’re gaining popularity worldwide. There are people who say that in 20 years we will be doing no surgical operations.”
A botox procedure involves injecting a serum that weakens the muscles to avoid getting wrinkles, while some use it to get rid of frown lines.
“There is a very good twin study – identical twins who participated in the study. One of them had regular botox injections every three to four months and the other just had it once upfront and did not have any for 10 years. The difference is absolutely remarkable. The other one without botox looks 20 years older than their sister,” says Dr Grubnik.
This is sometimes confused with a filler, which is done to restore volume to the face and make it look more youthful.
“As you age there is some resorption on the bone in the face, because there’s bone loss and the soft tissues hang. When these people maintain themselves with filler, when they get to their 60s they may not need a facelift because they didn’t have that droopiness that the previous generation would have had.”
A filler injection (per millimetre) can cost you up to R3,000 each, while botox (per unit) is around R60.
A facelift, also common among South African women, is a procedure that involves removing excess facial skin from the lower half of the face – including the chin and neck – and tightening loose skin in different areas in the face.
According to Dr Grubnik, this is a “big” operation and requires recovery time.
“There will be bruising, swelling in the face.”
You can expect to pay around R95,000 for a facelift.
Another common facial procedure in South Africa is blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). This involves taking out excess skin in the upper and lower eyelid to remove bags in the eyelids.
Model and businesswoman Kim Kardashian shocked her social media followers a few years ago after telling them she regularly got vampire facials to keep her face looking younger.
The procedure has gained popularity among women, and Dr Grubnik says it’s because the procedure actually works.
A vampire facial involves taking blood from parts of your body (apart from the face), and spinning it to separate the red blood cells and the plasma.
“In the plasma the platelets are in the blood. It’s called platelet red plasma and this platelet red plasma is a stem cell. Stem cells have growth factors, so they rejuvenate the skin. We inject it in the face – we can micro-needle it in the face.
“You’re allowed to have it once every six weeks. It definitely works, there’s a reason why Kim Kardashian is having it,” explains Dr Grubnik.
A vampire treatment could cost you at least R3,300 per procedure and R4,200 with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections.
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Other skin care procedures include acne and oily skin treatments (R880), skin brightening treatment (R880), hydrating treatment (R880) and the red carpet peel for R1,300.
While Dr Grubnik encourages the use of these procedures for those who are willing, she also advocates for good skin care with the use of a sunscreen.
“Sunscreen is paramount because the sun damages skin skin quite badly, so before you know it you will have very bad wrinkles and sun damage with pigmentation, regardless of the skin tone or colour – everybody suffers equally.
“People say there is a genetic predisposition to how you age and, to a certain extent it is true. If your mother looks fantastic at 70, you’re blessed with those genes as well, but it’s not only the genetics. Looking after yourself always makes a difference.”