Plastic surgeries and cosmetic enhancements are not just the domain of the rich and famous – or the ladies – anymore. everyday people – gentlemen, too – are doing it.  It may be expensive but, to them, it’s worth it. Here, Real Canadians share their experiences before, during and post-procedure. Leanne Delap reports

How we as a culture feel about cosmetic face and body work is changing at a galloping pace. It was really only in 2001 that Botox was approved and entered the lexicon, first as a joke on Sex and the City and now as an everyday idea. The 2011 Canadian FACE Report, a survey commissioned by an independent group of doctors involved in the cosmetics field, found that 75 per cent of respondents believed Botox was now mainstream, with one in four considering some sort of injectable enhancement for themselves.

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The non-invasive offerings of the med-spa appeal to the 75 per cent of respondents who said they felt more confident now than 10 years ago but, at the same time, they wanted to look eight to 10 years younger, so that their outsides could better reflect how they feel inside. And despite the tabloid pictures of early adapters from Hollywood with that jug-cheeked, punch-lipped over-exuberance of fillers look, doctors now are promoting a much more subtle, natural and conservative approach to non-surgical injectables. Advances in fat grafting (using your own tissue as filler), vampire blood (your own platelets, concentrated in a centrifuge, to stimulate collagen) as well as new techniques in smaller doses for the more traditional hyaluronic acid fillers (Juvederm, Perlane) have made the Joan Rivers face a thing of the past. Radiofrequency is used for skin tightening and fractionated lasers both tighten and even skin tone.

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But in this game, age does matter. A doctor’s consultation will determine when non-invasive techniques just won’t help any longer. There is no upper limit now on cosmetic surgery, and patients into their 90s are doing face and body work. Liposuction, still the most popular cosmetic procedure in North America, now involves far less downtime as new radiofrequency heating devices help melt the fat and tighten the skin right as the doctors work. There are a brace of new machines that superheat and alternatively superfreeze tissues around stubborn bulges, but these million-dollar babies only work to zap fat in candidates who are already quite thin.

And traditional facelifts and neck-lifts are relics of the past: new more delicate techniques and tools separate dermal layers so there is no longer any need to go deep to the bone. Therefore there is far less pain and downtime (the magic number of the plastic surgery game), a final result that shows less obvious “work done” and truly invisible scarring.
We asked ordinary Canadians* for their stories: why they pursued cosmetic work, how it felt, how the work turned out, and how they feel about it, and themselves, afterward.

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