Cosmetic procedures to stay competitive?

WESTWOOD, Calif. Over the past year, Dr. Alexander Rivkin has noticed an increase in the number of patients coming in for cosmetic procedures to give them an edge in a competitive job market, whether they're looking for a job or trying hold on to the one they have.

"They are doing what they can to enhance their appearance because it's part of business. You have to present your best face," said Dr. Rivkin.

Dr. Rivkin specializes in non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox and facial fillers. They're less expensive and less invasive than surgery, and there's no down time required.

"With a recession, people's funds are limited so they can't go out and do surgery or they can't go out and do invasive procedures," said Dr. Rivkin.

His patient, 38-year-old Kristen Fischer, is a television talk show producer. Twice a year she gets Botox around the eyes to smooth out the crow's feet. But now she wants a more energized look.

"Once we get into our mid to late 30s we think about maintenance," said Fischer. "It's not necessarily changing the way we look; it's about maintaining what you have."

Dr. Rivkin recommends injecting Botox in Fischer's forehead to help lift the eyebrows, and injecting filler in her upper-cheek and lower-eye areas to make her appear more rested.

"All it's going to do is fill in the areas that over time have become a little bit thin. It's going to replenish that volume," said Dr. Rivkin.

A survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that 75 percent of doctors say they've treated patients who requested surgery to stay competitive in the workplace.

But in a recession, many are pinching pennies, and procedures such as a face lift can cost between $6,000 and $12,000. But Botox ranges between $200 and $400. Fillers can cost up to $1,000, and they can last a year or more.

"It's just a more energized look," said Fischer.

Money well spent, according Fischer, who considers putting her best face forward a smart investment.

"It's really not invasive," said Fischer. "I don't think it changes your appearance. I think it just kind of brightens your appearance."

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