Illustration by Jorgen Burt

There’s more to cosmetic treatments than just a nip and a tuck. There have been so many advances in the field that it can be hard to keep up with what’s new and garners the best results. Eastside doctors filled us in.

Who’s having procedures?

Dr. Fredric Stern, of the Stern Center for Aesthetic & Cosmetic Surgery in Bellevue said cosmetic surgery is trending younger. “It’s interesting,” he said. “The trends that I’m seeing are more and more millennial age groups (20s and 30s) and younger Gen Xers (30s and 40s) wanting cosmetic procedures. That’s the trend I see as far as the demographics.”

Hayley Ridout, practice manager at A-to-Zen Regenerative Medicine in Bellevue agreed. Social media is a big influence, she said, and that can trend toward younger demographics.

“We see Instagram all the time, (and) celebrities posting treatments that they’re doing. So, I think that we’re connected and aware of what’s going on, and younger kids are the ones that are on the internet all the time. I think that’s what’s the biggest influence … like the Kardashians or Kylie Jenner and her lips.”

Stern said procedures are trending younger because younger people are leaning toward being preventative. At the first sign of a wrinkle, they are looking for a solution, usually by laser treatment.

But most patients — in a range of ages — come in knowing exactly what they’re hoping for.

“The patients are driving the conversation much more readily than they have in the past,” said Dr. Alex Sobel of Anderson Sobel Cosmetic Surgery in Bellevue. “It’s really great for final results.”

Regardless of age, people are looking for procedures with minimal downtime, Stern said.

Fat Transfer

One of the most requested treatments right now is fat transfer, otherwise known as fat grafting. People are having a little fat taken from one area to fill out wrinkles, or enhance another. Or reducing the size, of say, their stomachs and having that fat added to their backside in the form what is more widely known as a Brazilian butt lift. “It’s natural to imagine that, as you’re reducing one line, you might want to adjust by augmentation another line,” said Sobel.

Fat grafting is a way of body contouring, said Sobel. It is a step beyond liposuction because not only are you eliminating unwanted fat, but also reshaping the body.

One of the appeals of fat transfer is that it’s your own natural “filler” and a desirable alternative to artificial fillers.

“Fat transfer is a great alternative to filler injections, because instead of injecting an artificial product you’re, basically injecting your own fat into an area for recontouring the face or reducing deep wrinkles and creases in the face … really anywhere in the body, but most commonly the face,” said Stern.

There are stem cells in fat and those help encourage skin to repair itself.

“You’re getting a lot more facial rejuvenation effect,” Stern said about fat transfer facials. The effect lasts for many years rather than six months to a year, he added.

Doctors can also make a personalized skin care line from a person’s own fat. Stern does this treatment with many of his patients.

“It turned out to be pretty potent,” he said. “It showed tremendous improvement in regeneration of the skin, and reducing wrinkles and sun damage after just 8 weeks of use.”

Vampire Facial

No, it’s not a facial that you have on Halloween. The vampire facial, which can be performed at A-to-Zen, is when the patient’s own blood is taken, treated and injected back into the face for rejuvenation.

For the Vampire Facial, the patient comes in and has blood drawn which is then mixed in a specific test tube that separates out its PRP, or, platelet-rich plasma. That mixture is then microneedled into the skin with a microneedle pen.

It promotes more fullness in the cheeks, stimulates collagen and elastin, and helps lift the skin to erase wrinkles, said Ridout.

In the past few years, PRP treatments in general have been growing in popularity. PRP can stimulate hair growth, among other things. With fat transfers, it can help the fat “take” even better, Ridout said.

Tattoo Removal

A classic cosmetic trend is tattoo removal. Stern said that some studies show that one in four people has “tattoo regret.” Tattoo removal can take 10 to 20 treatments and most lasers don’t entirely remove green, red, or yellow pigments.

However Stern’s office recently acquired the Enlighten III laser, the most advanced for removing tattoos. It’s the only one of its kind in the Northwest, he said. It can treat and remove all pigments in half as many treatments.