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5 Noninvasive cosmetic procedures 

These procedures offer lasting results

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As summer stakes a claim on the Crescent City, people throughout New Orleans are trading in cashmere for cut-offs — and sometimes increased exposure can lead to increased cosmetic concerns. Whether you want to eliminate pesky varicose veins for an upcoming beach getaway or you're sick of sweat stains ruining your White Linen Night outfits, doctors Jeffrey Poole and Mara Haseltine at Poole Dermatology (111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-838-8225; www.pooledermatology.com) say there's a procedure for you.

  Poole and Haseltine recommend contacting board-certified dermatologists to get the best results.   

  "You want to see someone who's in a more respected cosmetic field, like dermatology and plastic surgery," Poole says. "Unfortunately there are people out there who try to pass themselves off as specialists in their field when they aren't."

  Lasers can remove unwanted hair and tattoos, but patients should avoid the sun for a few weeks beforehand.

  "Tanned skin is injured skin," Poole says. "On top of that, the pigments that occur in tan skin will compete with the laser energy in a number of the laser procedures we perform."

  While the prospect of getting zapped by lasers may cause apprehension, Poole assures clients the procedures are not as painful as they imagine.

  "Most of the laser procedures are either minimally uncomfortable or not uncomfortable at all, with maybe moderate pain at most," Poole says.

Laser Hair Removal

For laser hair removal, Poole Dermatology offers two lasers — one for light skin tones and one for dark skin tones. Haseltine recommends patients avoid waxing (to remove hair) before the procedure. "Stick to shaving, because you're using the hair follicle as a target, and if there's no hair there for the laser, you're wasting your time," she says. The procedure requires multiple treatments to completely stop hair growth. "The laser only targets the hair in the growing cycle, and that's why it takes multiple treatments," Haseltine says.

Price: Generally $150-$600 per treatment.

Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting is performed by a machine that targets fat cells and freezes them. The fat cells die and are reabsorbed by the body over a period of three to four months for a permanent reduction of about 40 to 75 percent, says medical aesthetician Lisa Lambert of Chronos Body Health & Wellness (3262 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-267-4549; www. chronosbhw.com). Dr. Penelope Treece of Southern Aesthetics (3815 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 504-779-7749; www.penelopetreece.com) says CoolSculpting offers a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction. "With liposuction, there's an anesthetic involved and you have to wear a girdle for six weeks," Treece says. "The CoolSculpting takes an hour each time, it's less expensive and there's no down time."

Price: The procedure starts at $700-$750 for a small area.Lambert recommends one or two treatments eight weeks apart.

Vein Therapy

Varicose veins and spider veins are treated with either laser or sclerotherapy, a procedure Haseltine says has been around for about 50 years. "You take what's called sclerosin — it's kind of like a hypertonic saline — into a syringe, and you inject it right into the vessel," Haseltine says. The sclerosin causes inflammation in the vessel and it eventually dies off. While Haseltine describes the procedure as slightly uncomfortable, but assures patients it isn't unbearable. The procedure can take 10 to 20 minutes. Multiple treatments may be necessary, depending on how many vessels patients want removed.

Price: Generally $250-$500 per treatment.

Tattoo removal

Tattoo removal is one of the most popular procedures at Poole Dermatology during summer months. "It may be a person's name they got tattooed on their hip or their thigh," Poole says. "A lot of our patients may not want their kids or their new spouse to see their tattoos, so they opt for the tattoo removal procedure." He recommends patients avoid tanning and warns that the laser used for tattoo removal is among the most painful.

Price: Generally $350 for one palm-sized area per treatment and $250 for each additional palm-sized area per treatment.

miraDry

Poole recommends miraDry as an effective combatant for excess perspiration. "It's not classified under a laser, he says. "It's essentially a microwave device, and we use anesthetic injections throughout the underarm to numb things up, so the actual procedure is minimally uncomfortable." The procedure, which Poole says has a 90 percent success rate among his patients, specifically aims to destroy the sweat gland. "It has a very good success rate, especially for people that might be staining multiple shirts throughout the day in the hot, sweaty months," Poole says.

Price: $3,000 for the complete two-treatment protocol.

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