Cosmetic procedures decoded

Confused about cosmetic enhancement procedures? You’re not alone.

A recent Lavalife poll showed that almost a fifth of female members and a quarter
of male members surveyed freely admit to being confused while almost a quarter
of men and 13 per cent of women don’t know whether they are confused or not
— which means that at least some of this segment can be classified as “somewhat

“I’m getting to a point where I’m thinking I might like to have something
done,” says Rebecca, a 47-year-old flight attendant. “Maybe some Botox
around my crow’s feet, but I don’t even know where to start. I seriously don’t
know anything about it.”

A lot of us are getting to that point. Another Lavalife poll shows that most
respondents think our 40s is the decade for men and women to consider cosmetic

Echoing Rebecca’s view is Kate, 50, a recently divorced mother of two who is
thinking that her fresh foray back into the dating game might call for a freshly
rejuvenated face. “On one hand it’s very exciting that there are so many
options out there,” she says. “On the other, it’s very confusing.”

As more and more women are turning to non-surgical cosmetic enhancement, it’s
no wonder that questions and concerns over treatment options, safety and efficacy
are growing. And where do we turn for information these days? The Internet,
of course.

That’s why The FACE (Facial Aesthetic Care and Education) Institute developed
a website to answer your questions. Founded in 2003, the Face Institute is an
education program developed by an independent group of Canadian physicians and
surgeons, the main goal of which is to ensure the highest standards when it
comes to safety and effectiveness for physicians performing cosmetic enhancement

More recently, was designed in consultation with Canada’s
leading cosmetic enhancement physicians and developed to be a virtual one-stop
information resource for anything related to non-surgical cosmetic enhancement.
Consumers can learn the facts about popular treatments as well as compare the
results and costs of different treatments.

Dr. Fred Weksberg, a Toronto-based cosmetic dermatologist and member of the
Institute’s editorial board says, “There’s a lack of information out there
as well as a lot of conflicting information. We wanted to provide Canadians
with a reliable source of information on these non-surgical procedures including
the potential benefits, and pros and cons so that when they come in for consultation
they’ll be well informed beforehand and can get even more benefit out of the
consultation process.”

In its own survey, the FACE Institute reports that more than half (57 per cent)
of Canadian women are confused by their cosmetic treatment options, and are
turning to the Internet for more information. So many questions — Is it safe?
Will it work? Will it hurt? What should it cost? What do I need? Who should
I go to? What’s the difference between Botox and facial fillers such as Juvéderm?

Nine out of 10 Canadian women report not understanding exactly how to treat
skin conditions such as wrinkles, age spots and dry or flaky skin. And we are
apparently most concerned with the cost (67 per cent), safety (64 per cent),
and effectiveness of cosmetic treatments (49 per cent). Interesting that we’re
more concerned about cost than safety!

And, while we clearly see the importance of doctor consultations and credential-checking,
many of us are not sure who to go to for cosmetic treatments. Most women say
they are overwhelmed by conflicting information on cosmetic enhancement treatments
and 60 per cent do not know what treatment options are available through physicians.
Thirty-five per cent of all women also report that they are concerned with how
to actually locate a credible physician to speak to about these treatments.
One in four say they turn to websites for cosmetic treatment information, but
almost half of all women report that searching the Internet for information
is confusing.

Thankfully can clear these things up for us.

What are the most commonly asked questions? “There are a lot of them,”
says Dr. Weksberg. “I guess the most common one has to do with Botox, because
Botox is the number one cosmetic procedure around nowadays. So they will ask
about its safety. In fact it is extremely safe. You know, 16 to 18 million people
have had this procedure done in North America over the last 18 years and it
has been shown time and time again to be extremely safe. So, that is probably
the number one question.”

“Others include differences between different fillers and what they will
do. Then the other common thing is the general question ‘What can I do to help
my face?’ because a lot of people don’t know much about the various different

The question of who to go to is an extremely important one. You can get Botox
in a spa. But should you?

No, says Dr. Weksberg. He explains that you do need a license to purchase Botox,
which means that there is a doctor behind whatever spa you are at, who has purchased
the product and supplied the spa with it and, hopefully, told the aesthetician
how to use it.

However, “If you want someone who knows what they’re doing, go to a board
certified specialist, a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon to ensure a safe
and successful treatment. To alleviate confusion, offers a
doctor locator, where consumers can locate a physician trained in cosmetic enhancement
procedures near them. The first step to a successful treatment is always a one-on-one
consultation with a specially trained cosmetic enhancement physician.

“You see celebrities who look a little distorted. It’s probably that they’ve
had too much filler or put it in the wrong place. Sometimes they think more
is better. Most of the time it’s temporary and it goes away. But they may have
a filler which is permanent.” The effects of Botox are temporary. You can
learn about which fillers are temporary and which are permanent on the site.

It really is an excellent resource. You can also learn about prices, which
are wide ranging. “Most important treatment nowadays is Botox,” says
Dr. Weksberg. “Costs are usually determined by the dosage — an average
dosage for a woman will be 30 units for the frown area, and would cost approximately
$350-$450. If you want to make your lips fuller with Juvéderm, generally
that’s one syringe and it may cost between $500-$700. Nasal labial folds or
smile lines — the deep wrinkles that run from the side of the nose to the corner
of the mouth, can cost $500-$700 per side.”

Plus you can have some fun with the “Before and After” Visualizer
located on Using either one of the images provided on the
site or one of your own photos, which you can upload yourself, you can add a
treatment like Botox and/or Juvéderm to the image and see how it will
work for you. It is fascinating to see how you could look after the treatment!

Cosmetic procedures are not for everyone. People with certain medical conditions,
for example. Also, “If someone does not have realistic expectations, if
they expect to have the face they had 20 years ago, maybe it’s not the best
idea that they should be treated,” says Dr. Weksberg.

To know if non-surgical cosmetic enhancement procedures are right for you,
head over to and start asking the questions you want answered.

Article courtesy of Click by Lavalife.

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