Business is booming for those who help people achieve the perfect look. There has been a 450-percent increase in the number of cosmetic procedures performed over the past 10 years. About 12 million procedures were performed last year alone.
Who is beautiful? For those who believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, think again. There may be a formula for finding the fairest of them all.
It's a growing theory - the definition of beauty isn't a product of Hollywood. It's programmed in our DNA. Studies show faces considered beautiful are highly symmetrical. The most famous example is Leonardo Da Vinci's "Vitruvian mMan," the ideal of human proportions. But what if you don't measure up?
"It's just something that's always bothered me, that my face doesn't have perfect symmetry, so I'm going to lift this here like this so they are the same," said Teddy Gunter, cosmetic surgery patient.
Gunter is on a quest for perfection.
"I have a laundry list. Oh, I can't wait I'm so excited. I'm going to have my teeth completely redone because I want that hollywood smile. I'm going to have my boobs done too. Your knees start to sag and look like you're an old lady."
But now Gunter can cross off some of that to-do list without going under the knife.
"Now you can do it and go back to work, afterward. It's great," Gunter said.
Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd is using the titan laser to firm up some of teddy's loose skin.
"It heats up the deep layer of our skin, which is the dermis that contains collagen, and when you heat up the dermis it kind of tricks the dermis into thinking that it was injured so that you produce new collagen and the result is skin tightening," Wooleryy-Lloyd said.
Gunter will need at least three titan laser treatments for it to work, at a cost of $600 to $1,200 per session. It lasts about two to three years.
"No matter how old you are, you still feel like you are 17 inside and then you look in the mirror and you say, 'Oh my gosh. Who is that?" said Merry Haber, cosmetic surgery patient.
At 66, Haber is looking for her own fountain of youth that doesn't include major surgery.
"And then when I started looking, I started saying, 'I don't like these lines. Gravity is catching up and I don't like the idea of being vain, but I am,'" Haber said.
Haber started with Botox, but then moved to an injection called Sculptra. It's made from absorbable stitches.
"We inject these tiny little pieces into the skin and it makes your body make collagen, and that gives your skin a younger look," said Leslie Baumann, MD, director of University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute in Miami, Fla.
The treatment was originally used to help fill out the faces of aids patients. Now, those in search of a younger glow are getting Sculptra injections once a month for about five months, at $200 per shot. It takes about three sessions for results to show and results last for about three years. If you're still angry you're not among those who hit the genetic jackpot there are ways to make subtle adjustments without surgery. It all depends on how much you're willing to pay for perfection.
"There is no price for you to like what you see when you look in the mirror," Gunter said.
According to doctors, although Sculptra is used all the time to help aging skin, it is not FDA approved for that purpose. Patients said with the titan laser there is some discomfort during the procedure and there is a small risk for developing blisters.
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