A good skincare regimen is the key to a gorgeous complexion. But if you’re ready to go a little further, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Some of the most enviously smooth complexions get a little help from the dermatologist now and then. (And no, we’re not talking facelifts!) Think of these in-office options as “skin tweaks” that can complement your at-home routine—and give you your best complexion ever. Here’s what’s hot right now.
If the term “skincare lasers” still makes you think of a raw and red-faced Samantha back in the day on Sex and the City, let’s just say—and just like that—things have changed. The latest options provide major benefits with little to no pain, downtime, or need for a disguise in public. A few of the most common choices include:
• Pulsed dye lasers (such as Vbeam Perfecta) target blood vessels in the skin to reduce redness, rosacea, spider veins, and more. They are fast and virtually pain-free, with no downtime.
• Q switched lasers (such as the Revlite SI) are designed to reduce stubborn pigmentation, particularly brown spots and unwanted tattoos. Their pain-level can be described as the proverbial “rubber band snap” (i.e. painful), so your dermatologist will likely numb the area topically and also via injection. The targeted area will scab up and may need to be covered with a bandage. The number of sessions depends on the type of pigment being treated (tattoos will take several sessions; a single brown spot may disappear after only one).
• Fractionated laser resurfacing treatments hit the skin in a pixelated pattern, which means portions of the skin go untouched each pass for an overall more gentle treatment, which in turn, leads to reduced downtime. Fraxel Clear + Brilliant is one such laser and can be excellent for treating melasma and sun damage, and boosting radiance. Sessions can be moderately uncomfortable, so most patients opt for numbing cream (and an Advil) to reduce pain. There’s no real downtime, but skin can look red and feel rough and sandpaper-y to the touch for a day or so afterwards.
For sagginess, women are turning to Thermage, a skin tightening radiofrequency treatment that works by heating the deeper levels of skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten the area. It can be used on the face, neck, or body and is relatively painless. There’s no downtime, with the most common side effect being redness or swelling that should disappear in a few hours. And the best part? Most people need only a single session, and results can last for years.
Once reserved for Hollywood starlets and secret red carpet makeovers, but now today’s Zoom-and-Instagram culture means injectables have become more popular than ever. The two major categories are:
• Neurotoxins (such as Botox or Dysport), which work wonders on the wrinkles formed over time by repetitive expressions (think the “11” lines created by a furrowed brow or crows’ feet that result from squinting). Neurotoxins work by temporarily paralyzing the muscle, which in turn smoothes out any wrinkles caused by those muscles. Results aren’t immediate (you’ll start to see them kick in about a week after treatment), or permanent (varies by person, but results usually last around three months).
• Fillers (such as Juvaderm or Restylane) allow your doctor to inject a substance such as hyaluronic acid to quite literally “fill” an individual line or wrinkle. (Usually one that is always present and not created by motion.) Different fillers last different amounts of time, but usually hang in there longer than neurotoxins. (Think six to 12 months for most fillers, with some lasting even longer.)
With injectables, pain is usually minimal and feels like quick, tiny pin pricks. (Your doctor might give you a stress ball to squeeze, and that should take care of it.) And keep in mind that even though injectables are now often available everywhere from a plastic surgeon’s office to a dentist’s chair to the mall, it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re seeing a skilled practitioner. When properly administered, there are very few side effects with injectables with the exception of minor bruising. But an inexperienced injector may hit the wrong muscles or over-inject a particular area which can cause scarier complications such as droopy eyes or a frozen effect.
Sofwave is one of the newest options in the dermatologist’s office. This is an ultrasound device that stimulates collagen in the dermis to reduce the appearance of fine lines, and tighten loose skin and jowls. Sessions are 30 minutes long, and there’s a warm, moderately uncomfortable feeling during the treatment that can be helped with numbing cream. There’s no downtime, and not only will patients experience an instant tightening effect, but skin will continue to firm for as much as a year after treatment.
A healthy diet and your Peloton can take you far, but most of us still have to deal with genetics. To take their bodies to the next level, many women are visiting their dermatologist as well as their gym. Two popular options:
• Emsculpt, a treatment that uses electromagnetic energy to stimulate muscle contractions (imagine hundreds of involuntary crunches done over and over again). It’s a one-two punch of fat burning and muscle strengthening that firms and tones the abs or buttock area in around four 30-minute sessions. Patients say it’s not exactly painful, but can just be a very weird and uncomfortable feeling.
• Qwo is the first FDA-approved injectable for cellulite, and experts say results are impressive. It works by dissolving the collagen bands in your skin that are the root cause of cellulite. (Dimpling occurs when fat squeezes its way through those bands.) The procedure involves 12 injections in the area over the course of three sessions (though some people experience results in a few treatments), and the most common side effect is temporary bruising.
A derm office beauty treatment is not for everyone, nor should you feel like you have to try one. But sometimes a secret rendez-vous with a laser is all your skin needs to get that little extra oomph. In the meantime, make sure you’re using a skincare regimen like Neolastin that is steeped in high-tech, quality ingredients like our patented NUFLEX™ Repair Technology that firms, smooths and hydrates skin for an overall healthier complexion.