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BEYOND BEAUTY Is there a cosmetic treatment for your health concern?

Botox isn’t just for wrinkles and lasers aren’t just for baby-smooth skin. These so called vanity treatments can also treat a host of health concerns, says Leah Hardy

YOU MAY THINK non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox, peels and lasers are just for Hollywood stars, socialites and people worried about ageing. But there’s more to these increasingly sophisticated technologies than turning back the clock on your looks. They’re being used to treat a host of health issues, ranging from hair loss and acne to incontinence.

Indeed, many beauty treatments were originally developed for medical use. Botox was first approved for relieving spasms around the eyes more than 25 years ago. It works by temporarily paralysing the nerve signals that tell muscles to contract, and has now been officially approved for more than a dozen purely medical uses.

Even the so-called ‘vampire facial’, which re-injects a person’s own blood into their face to rejuvenate skin, is based on a treatment that uses Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), an enriched form of blood, to treat joint and muscle injuries.

Some treatments are available on the NHS, but most are carried out in private clinics. So how do you know which, if any, are worth the bother and expense?

HAIR LOSS

Have you noticed your locks looking less lush? Half of women over 65 experience hair loss, usually caused by genetic or hormonal factors. It’s also common in younger women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, author of The Skincare Bible (Penguin Life, £14.99), stresses it’s important to ask your GP for blood tests to help diagnose possible causes. ‘There are many reasons for hair loss’, she says, ‘including iron, vitamin B12, folic acid or vitamin D deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases.’

THE TREATMENT Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). PRP contains tiny blood cells that repair and regenerate. Big fan Kim Kardashian says it helps plumps up a lacklustre ponytail as well as her skin.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Make bloating a thing of the past with our guide to the real (lesser known) causes - and how to beat them for a flatter tum. We also show you how to look good naked (or on the beach!) with the best methods for all-over toning. Find out how to eat to cut your risk of type 2 diabetes, with the five diets recommended by Diabetes UK and, if you or someone you know is a smoker, Dr Dawn Harper offers practical advice (and some surprising health stats) to help you quit. With over 30 recipes to help you cook light, it's all you need for a healthy start to summer!