As beach season looms, New York women are going to crazy new extremes to look good in that swimsuit
- Last Updated: 11:03 AM, May 10, 2012
- Posted: 11:36 PM, May 9, 2012
Arlene Del Sol is lying in a fiberglass chamber, her eyes protected by goggles, a breathing tube in her nose, her stomach smeared with a carbon-dioxide gel that is activated by oxygen jets and infrared LED lights. She looks like she’s stepped straight out of a science-fiction movie. The cocoon emits an extraterrestrial glow; all that’s missing are dry ice and the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
But Del Sol is not in training for the next “Star Trek” convention. The mother of one is having bimonthly treatments at the Pod Regeneration Center in Manhattan, which uses NASA-approved technology to tighten skin, zap stretch marks and fight flab.
“The difference is incredible,” explains the 40-year-old customer-services rep from Bergen County, NJ.
“I lose up to 2 pounds each time, and my stretch marks, which were red, are much lighter and not as prominent.”
She is convinced that the science — a version of which is used to treat wounded Navy SEALs, submariners and astronauts — is not at all weird.
And her motivation is simple: She wants to look good on the beach.
“I’ve already bought a bikini from Bloomingdale’s,” says Del Sol, who spends an average of $150 on the 45-minute sessions in Midtown.
Like many women in and around New York, she is racing to get swimsuit-ready for summer. Girls are getting honed, toned, waxed, lasered (or, at the very least, plucked) ahead of Memorial Day. But, like tanorexic New Jersey mom Patricia Krentcil, some of the prep is super-charged.
High-tech treatments like “fat-freezing” lasers, cosmetic surgery to turn an “outie” belly button into an “innie” and “rapid recovery” breast implants are on the rise.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there was a 1 percent increase in the number of surgeries last year, with 9.2 million procedures costing a total of $10 billion.
Beauty treatments are now even focused on places where the sun don’t shine. Cindy Barshop, owner of the Completely Bare spa chain, is doing a brisk trade in “Bikini and Bum Rejuvenation” — a k a the vagacial — where the bikini line and butt get their own $225 “facial.”
It includes exfoliation, steaming, extraction and a vitamin C mask.
“Ahead of the warmer months, women are taking care of these things,” says Barshop, who starred last season in “The Real Housewives of New York.”
“We utilize the same LED lights and lasers for the face for the bikini and buttocks to resolve problems like dark spots,” she says. “Maybe they’ve had some bad waxes or shaved the wrong way, and it brightens up the area so it looks fresh and new. It’s always a big improvement.”