For some, the word “summer” conjures up images of sun, sand and saltwater. Others dread those weekend beach vacations because the teeny-tiny bikini has to make an appearance. When diet and exercise aren’t cutting it, surgery is often the only way to really dramatically tranform your shape.
Fortunately, there are plenty of cosmetic procedures to improve your figure, so you’ll never again be the only guest who takes “bathing suit optional” seriously. We’ve got some of the sexiest celebrity figures and the tips on how you too can achieve a stunning, beach-ready bod.
It’s hard to believe this is the backside of a woman well into her 40’s, but Australian model, actress and TV host Elle Macpherson is no stranger to a tiny two-piece, having graced the covers of countless magazines since she was 17.
Want a rear like Macpherson’s? If fat is the issue, you can sculpt a sleeker shape by suctioning out the unwanted fat with liposuction. “Even with all the variations of liposuction today, traditional liposuction can offer up amazing results in the hands of a skilled surgeon,” says Nashville, TN, plastic surgeon Pat Maxwell, MD. While you may not be hitting the sand right away due to swelling and bruising, results can be seen pretty much immediately. You’ll be ready to show off your new bod this resort season.
Beach Body Post-Baby
It’s not easy to bounce back from four pregnancies like supermodel Heidi Klum has. Weight gain during pregnancy is a no-brainer, but it’s the post-delivery weight that’s hardest to lose. If you’ve gone overboard and put on more than what is considered healthy, it may be difficult to regain your figure. That’s why it’s important to prepare your body for changes prior to becoming pregnant.
If possible, make sure you are at, or close to, an ideal weight for your body type. “Not only will working out before you get pregnant make pregnancy a little easier— most women feel better and have less pain and more energy—but it will also help your body recover quicker after delivery,” says San Diego fitness expert Sara Holliday.
But while healthy eating and hours at the gym can help reduce post-pregnancy pounds, stretched skin and muscles from your breasts to your tummy make returning to your pre-baby figure difficult. That’s where a mommy makeover comes in. A combination of a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or lift and liposuction are performed in one surgical session to tackle post-baby body concerns. “From a cosmetic standpoint, it’s beneficial to address pregnancy-related changes in both the breasts and the tummy,” says Landsowne, VA, plastic surgeon Phillip Chang, MD.
Sexier Skin in the Sun
Some say Padma Lakshmi‘s distinctive arm scar adds to her sex appeal. But when it comes to our skin imperfections, we may not feel as confident as this beautiful Indian model, actress and TV host– especially in a bikini. Luckily, scars, stretch marks and melasma can be treated with fractional resurfacing lasers.
Fractional lasers, also known as Fraxel Re:Fine, Pixel Perfect, Clear + Brilliant and Fraxel Dual 1550/1927, give way to smoother, more even-looking skin by inciting new collagen production. With fractional lasers, only specific areas are “wounded”—the laser creates thousands of miniscule columns, removing damaged surface cells and penetrating down to the dermis to stimulate and remodel collagen. The surrounding skin is left intact, which helps with healing. “There may be some minimal tightening because there is some aspect of collagen production,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD. Results last three to five years or longer if you take proper care of your skin.
For deeper lines and scars, you may want to try Fractional CO² and Erbium lasers. Today’s erbium and CO² lasers are more advanced than ever. “In the past, traditional carbon dioxide laser treatments removed the entire surface of the skin. The healing process was lengthy and permanent lightening was possible,” says Washington, DC, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. Fractional CO² uses small columns of fractionated energy to ablate areas of damage. “Tiny wounds are made and the surrounding healthy skin helps with healing, making new collagen and elastin,” says Dr. Fitzgerald. The less aggressive Erbium acts on the top layers of skin to vaporize trouble spots and yields dramatic results with less risk.
Dimple-free for Summer
Cellulite-free legs may seem as likely as a career in women’s professional wrestling—unless you’re Stacy Keibler that is. And for most women, because the distribution and proportion of fat in our lower half is genetically predetermined, cellulite is more resistant to diet and exercise. But this doesn’t mean toned, dimple-free legs are entirely out of reach.
Cellulite treatments that incorporate laser, heat and radiofrequency energy can be used to suction and massage trouble areas so fatty deposits are evened out and skin is smoothed. While treatments vary, they all work to smooth out uneven areas. One new option is Apollo by TriPollar, which (when used off-label) is said to target cellulite and saggy skin via third generation radio-frequency energy with immediate results visible after just one treatment and long-lasting results after six to eight treatments. Another popular procedure is Cellulaze, a single 60- to 90-minute session in which a tiny laser is inserted under the skin, heats the skin and melts fat. The laser then releases the fiber spans that pull the skin and create the dimpling effect, resulting in smoother-looking skin. “Cellulaze is a great way to fight cellulite since it works from the inside out,” says Reno, NV, plastic surgeon Tiffany McCormack, MD. “It breaks up the walls of the fat cells to smooth the skin but it is still surgery,” adds Kirkland, WA, plastic surgeon Sarah McMillan, MD.
To maintain your results, take after Keibler and sign up for kickboxing or dancing classes, both of which will keep your skin tight and your muscles toned.
A Bikini-worthy Bust
If you want to fill out a bikini like 44-year-old model/actress Stephanie Seymour, you might need a little more than a padded top-piece. But before deciding on breast augmentation, determine the overall look you’re trying to achieve so you can determine the best procedure for your needs.
If you don’t want your breasts too much larger or prefer not to have implants, fat grafting is another option for boosting your bust size. Unlike implants, fat is a natural filler with minimal scarring. Another reason why some patients choose fat over implants is that “the tissue is your own and does not need periodic replacement like implants do,” says Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, MD.
Your breasts will appear more natural without an “operated on” appearance. “The consistency of the fat is similar to natural breast tissue, which is a nice alternative to implants,” says Pepper Pike, OH, plastic surgeon Lu-Jean Feng, MD. There are some downsides, however. Not only is the procedure lengthy and the amount of re-absorption is unpredictable, but there are also concerns that fat grafting to the breast may hinder detections of breast cancer.
Blemish-free on the Beach Front
A stunning body like that of Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr is certainly an advantage when strolling beachside. But without her flawless skin, blemishes would distract from her seemingly perfect figure. And not only is time spent covering skin imperfections with makeup wasted when sweat and water are present, but the sun’s drying effects tend to aggravate trouble spots.
But there’s no reason to skip the sand, as there are plenty of treatments that can tackle your individual skin issues. Sun damage can be reduced with a pulsed-dye laser treatment, and acne-related redness with a topical antibiotic-benzoyl peroxide agent. If rosacea is the culprit, a six-week course of oral antibiotics prescribed by your dermatologist can calm symptoms. For small, superficial acne scars, a combination of treatments that remove dead skin cells and help resurface the skin–such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion–can help reduce their appearance. For severe facial scarring, fillers like Juvéderm or Restylane are recommended.
Could stress be causing your skin to flare up? When your body is stressed, the hormone cortisol rises causing an increase in oil production. This is a precursor to clogged pores, oily skin, acne and problems like dermatitis. “Even if you don’t normally suffer from acne, the onset of stress can cause breakouts; it’s the number-one reason adult patients who are suffering from acne for the first time come in,” says Prospect, KY, dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD. But besides relaxation, how else can stress be stopped before it shows up skin? “I recommend a 30-to 60-minute facial or massage to help you unwind and adding anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea into your skin care,” Dr. Cassis explains.
Maintained Results Post-Surgery
While liposuction post-pregnancy can slim your waistline, targeted exercise (and of course the right diet) is necessary to achieve toned abs like that of singer (and recent mom) Christina Milian. The formula to getting a tight midsection consists of more than just cutting down on carbs and sugars and hitting the gym for cardio and crunches. The body looks and functions optimally when fueled by a clean diet, strong muscles, tight skin and a fast metabolism.
To tone your tummy following liposuction, try a 90-day regimen of exercises like kettle balls, cardio and strength training. To slim your waist, try fitting in three full-body workouts a week in addition to regular fitness and nutrition evaluations if possible. And if you need a little help getting back on track, “Personal trainers help you reach your form and make sure you’re doing your workouts right while staying hydrated so you get results,” says wellness and fitness guru David Kirsch.
If you’re worried about jumping back into a regular workout routine after abdominal surgery, research by the Journal of Clinical Endocriniology and Metabolism found that patients could actually increase intra-abdominal fat if they avoid exercise post-procedure. While it all depends on how you feel, it is safe to return to the gym in as little as five to seven days after a liposuction procedure.
Bronzed Skin the Safe Way
If you weren’t born with perfectly bronzed skin like that of Brazilian model Adriana Lima, it can be hard to achieve a summer glow without doing damage. So while soaking up the sun may seem like a solution, harmful rays can lead to premature aging, sun spots and more sinister situations like skin cancer. “There’s no such thing as a ‘safe tan’ when it’s obtained by UV rays,” says Hunt Valley, MD, dermatologist Karen Beasley, MD. “But the self-tanning formulations and methods on the market have made significant improvements in recent years, so getting a realistic tan is completely within reach.”
Self-tanners, and not those streaky, unpleasant scented products, can help you fake sun kissed-skin. Today’s offerings provide something for everyone and deliver realistic results. “The formulations are much better now because, although the tanning ingredient DHA hasn’t changed, the concentration of it, and the other ingredients involved, have,” explains Washington, DC, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD.
When applying tanner to your face, first apply, and then take a little off. Use a damp washcloth or tissue to dab around the outskirts of your nose, as well as on the tip. “The water will remove a little color without any trace and create a bit of a contour that looks more natural,” self-tanning expert and owner of New York spray-tan salon Brownberry, Meredith Fish says. And if you make a mistake, either on your face or body, Fish says you can use any at-home generic facial bleach to fix it. “Mix the powder and cream together and allow it to sit on your fingers, palms or feet for five to 10 minutes. Rinse and your skin will return back to its original color.”
A Better Bikini Butt
Although the hit TV series “Friends” has come and gone, there’s no stopping actress Courtney Cox from maintaining a tight, bikini-worthy figure. As for the rest of us, a lead role on Cougar Town may not be as fitting, especially when age brings saggy, loose skin.
If your backside troubles you most, the Brazilian Butt Lift is a surefire way to give your buttocks a boost. Fat is taken from one area of the body where there may be a little too much of it and grafted to the butt. Aside from adding shape, contours and definition, the use of fat in the butt can minimize the look of cellulite as dimples become more even and flush with the surrounding skin. “Fat transfer for body sculpting is one of the biggest trends right now because women want a curvy figure,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Ashkan Ghavami, MD. Not only does fat make the butt more shapely and amplify the size, (it’s also the most natural choice; implants can be used, although they do not look or feel as natural) it also, “gives a 3-D transformation that can be seen from every angle, accentuating and highlighting convexities and concavities, especially to those who genetically have a square body type,” explains Dr. Ghavami.
For areas with only slightly slack skin, laser liposuction, which uses laser light to heat up deeper layers of tissue and prompt collagen production, can help to slightly tighten. A radio-frequency treatment, such as Thermage or Exilis, can also improve moderate skin laxity.
A Proportional Figure
In a tiny two-piece, it’s obvious TV personality, author and natural foods chef Bethenny Frankel knows how to keep in optimum shape. So it was no surprise the former New York Housewife knew exactly what type of implants would enhance her breasts without overwhelming her tiny frame.
Although both saline and silicone implants can result in natural-looking breasts, there’s always advantages and disadvantages. “In scientific studies and in real life, silicone implants perform equal to or better than saline implants, which are filled with salt water. They produce more of a natural feeling, although saline implants require less surveillance and don’t necessitate MRIs,” says Dallas plastic surgeon William Adams, MD. Newport Beach, CA, plastic surgeon Sanjay Grover, MD adds, “Saline allows certain women to achieve a larger size than may be possible with silicone implants at a given time due to a tight skin envelope. If saline deflates, it is more quickly noticed as opposed to silicone.”
In addition to type of implant, you will also have a choice of shape. If you are narrow and want a lot of volume, consider Teardrop implants (sometimes called contoured), which slope downward just like natural breasts making them look more natural in certain positions. “However, they are only available in saline, and the sizes, widths and heights are limited,” says New York City plastic surgeon Tracy Pfeifer, MD. If you want more fullness in the upper part of your breasts, Dr. Grover suggests round implants. The shape is circular but flat and tends to stick out from the body farther, making the breasts project more. “[They] allow for a natural, full shape when an appropriate pocket is created,” he says.
Despite the many in-office treatments and procedures that can result in a perfect bikini body, maintaining your results means a lifestyle of regular exercise and nutrition, like that of actress, journalist and television presenter Maria Menounos. Before Menounos could afford a personal chef or trainer, she learned the importance of self-discipline, and fitting exercise and healthier meal choices into her everyday routine.
If a patient gains weight after liposuction, for example, fat returns and it goes to all areas where there are fat cells, including those that have not been suctioned; however these untreated areas contain more fat cells, and therefore have more potential to enlarge,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. “To maintain the benefits, you need to have a healthy lifestyle and maintain your post-operative weight,” he adds.
For best results following a butt augmentation procedure, Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Ashkan Ghavami, MD, suggests a rigorous workout routine. “I have all my butt augmentation patients follow this program about four weeks after surgery. They start with basic lower-body exercises, then move into more difficult squats, lunges and power yoga to build better muscle and pump blood to the area, which optimizes the cells for continued improvement to tighten and tone.
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