From Botox to creams, war against showing signs of age rages on

03/01/2014 10:35 AM

03/02/2014 8:01 AM

When it comes to aging gracefully, the best advice still has a lot to do with prevention: using sunscreen and wearing sunglasses. But more and more women in Wichita are willing to try minimally invasive procedures such as Botox.

“It doesn’t seem so taboo to be getting an aesthetic procedure,” said Heidi LaForge, a Via Christi Clinic family practitioner who has been offering Botox injections for about four years. The injections smooth out lines and wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles.

LaForge looks as it as another part of a beauty routine – not that different from getting highlights from a hairstylist.

Libby Kleeman, 37, of Wichita has been getting Botox injections from Healing Waters, a spa and cosmetic clinic at Bradley Fair, for a few years now.

“I’m a very expressive person and had very defined lines on my forehead,” she said.

So when she heard about a friend’s positive experience and results with Botox, Kleeman decided to try it. She now goes for injections about every six months.

“Bangs are a $10 cure, so I did try that first,” she said. “It’s expensive, but the effects last long enough that I’m willing to pay for that.”

In Wichita, Botox runs from $10 to $12.50 per unit, LaForge said. She typically uses 10 to 12 units on a patient; some other providers may use 40 to 50 units. LaForge attributes some of the difference in units used to the amount of saline mixed with the Botox, which actually arrives in powder form.

LaForge advises against Botox parties, where she would be leery of proper storage. Botox can last about six weeks when mixed with sterile saline but just a few hours if the saline is not sterile, she said.

LaForge says her Botox patients are typically women ages 30 to 60, although she has a few male patients.

“After 60, I think you start to say, ‘Hey, I earned those lines,’ ” she said.

Wichitan Tess Johnson, 41, is not ready to capitulate to the crow’s feet and creases. Neck creams, wrinkle-prevention creams and facials compose her anti-aging regimen.

“I’ve always been diligent about skin care,” Johnson said. “One thing my mother was big on was always taking care of our faces at night.”

She is only partially kidding when she says she looks at a facial like she looks at a doctor’s appointment, something to get on the books regularly. Johnson prefers going to a licensed aesthetician.

One technique Johnson is not sold on is microdermabrasion, which involves buffing away a layer of skin. Her results haven’t impressed her enough to justify the expense.

“I think I’m on the cusp of feeling like they’ll be beneficial – maybe in 10 years,” Johnson said.

For women who aren’t interested in aesthetic procedures but who are worried about fine lines and wrinkles, LaForge recommends skin-care products that contain retinol. It’s also important to get ample sleep and stay hydrated.

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