Toward a Better You

Our definitive health and beauty guide, with news you can use at every age.


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We New Englanders may eschew vanity in public, but the truth is that when we hit 40, many of us seek cosmetic boosts. Meanwhile, countless studies show that when we feel good about our appearance, we tend to feel better about ourselves. Here are the top noninvasive cosmetic procedures being used locally, and how much they’ll cost you.* By Melissa Malamut

Eyebrow Transplant
$6,000–$8,000, one time only.

Whether you covet Cara Delevingne’s omnipresent brows or prefer Brooke Shields’s ’80s-throwback look, full brows give you a more-youthful appearance. To achieve that thick, natural look, Robert Leonard, of Newton Centre’s Hair Transplant Associates, relocates individual hairs from places like the back of the scalp to the eyebrow.

$500, every three to five months.

Botox has been the go-to wrinkle reducer for the area between the eyes for more than a decade, and the drug, prepared from the bacterial toxin botulinum, is now FDA-approved to banish crow’s feet as well. The compound is also being studied as a treatment for everything from migraines and excessive sweating to overactive bladder.

Refractive Surgery
$2,400, one time only.

Most people need reading glasses as soon as they hit 40, says Samir Melki, a refractive surgeon at Mass Eye and Ear. But whether you’re farsighted (hyperopia), nearsighted (myopia), or have an astigmatism, refractive surgery, also known as laser vision correction, can get you seeing clearer by either reshaping the cornea via laser, or by implanting lenses.

Laser Resurfacing
$3,500, every six months to one year.

Fraxel, a technology developed at Mass General in 2005, is still the only laser approved by the FDA to treat fine lines, wrinkles, blotchy pigmentation, and acne scarring. It uses light energy to create a deep heat that is said to yield smoother skin.

Ultrasound Therapy
$1,500–$2,500, every six months.

At Boston Dermatology and Laser Center, dermatologists perform Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology to lift and tighten the skin. FDA-cleared for the eyebrows, neck, and under-chin areas, the devices rely on wavelength energy—rather than lasers that penetrate the skin—to stimulate collagen production.

Collagen Induction Therapy
$1,500, every six months to one year.

Those deep fissures around the mouth are called marionette lines, and for 20 years, Leonard Miller—director of the Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation, in Brookline—has been treating them with collagen induction therapy, or “medical needling.” The procedure uses a roller with multiple fine needles to puncture the skin with holes, stimulating collagen production. It’s “like aerating your lawn,” he says.

Fat Injections
$3,000–$6,000, twice a year.

That drawn look we get as we age comes from a natural reduction in facial volume. Miller offers a controversial procedure in which fat is harvested from the hips and other areas, then quickly prepared and injected into areas of the face that need plumping.

Facial Fillers
$1,000–$4,000, frequency of treatment varies.

There are a few options in this category. Juvederm smooths out the folds around the nose and mouth; Voluma pumps up the cheek area. Sculptra, meanwhile, induces collagen formation, acting “like a scaffold” in the cheeks and the hollow of the face, Miller says.

* Prices vary depending on procedure and physician.


Quick cosmetic fixes from unexpected places. By Caroline Hatano

You want: Botox
Check out: Your dentist?

Massachusetts dentists can now administer Botox to their patients. Newton Dental Associates is using the drug cosmetically, as well as to relieve jaw pain in patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders by paralyzing the muscles in the region.

You want: Permanent makeup
Check out: A tattoo parlor or a spa?

Who would you trust to apply permanent makeup with a needle—a tattoo artist or a spa technician? Trick question. In many cases, both are qualified to perform micropigmentation (permanent makeup); it just depends which experience you’d prefer. Stingray Body Art is your pierced-and-tatted alternative. Julie Michaud Prettyology, on Newbury Street, offers a cushier approach.

You want: A super dose of vitamins because you’re training for a marathon, coming down with a cold, or nursing one hell of a hangover.
Check out: A tattoo-removal salon?

Boston’s Delete Tattoo Removal & Laser Salon offers vitamin shots and nutrient infusions (60 ccs of water-soluble vitamins in a large syringe, descriptively called an “IV push”). Among them is the Hangover Helper, which blends magnesium, calcium, selenium, and zinc to ease your pangs after one too many.


By Panicha Imsomboon


Cost, per minute, for an “aroma lift” facial at Boston’s Mandarin Oriental spa.


Minimum cost of treating love handles with CoolSculpting, a fat-freezing procedure developed at Mass General.


Square footage of the four-story Medford office building occupied by Allergan, the creator of Botox.


Number of reviews on the website RealSelf about Bay State doctors who provide Botox injections.


Cost, per year, of a once-a-month facial called “Precious Ceremony” at Bella Santé Day Spa.


Value of Groupon Botox deals in Massachusetts, as of mid-April.


Increase in the price of Juvederm since 2012.


By Melissa Malamut

Those dreaded under-eye bags, possibly a gift from your parents, develop when fat pads bulge under stretched skin and relaxed muscles. It’s a permanent condition that’s impossible to treat, says Betty Yu, who holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT. “The under-eye area is so delicate. Putting a needle close to that area is actually quite dangerous,” she says.

That’s why Yu, along with MIT professor Robert Langer and dermatologists Rox Anderson, of Harvard University, and Barbara Gilchrest, of Boston University, set off on a 10-year quest to develop Strateris, a wearable, breathable polymer film that the scientists claim mimics the elasticity, strength, barrier protection, and contour of youthful skin.

Launched by Cambridge-based Living Proof in April, their invention, branded as Neotensil (and available only in doctors’ offices), “compresses and shapes as well as contracts, just like youthful skin,” Yu says. “The end result will flatten out the actual fat pad.”

Yu says that Neotensil is the first product based on the Strateris technology, which they hope will have additional uses in the future, like lifting the forehead non-surgically, smoothing cellulite, or ironing out the hands and décolletage.

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