Despite what some Hollywood starlets may claim, there is no one — from the A-list to your next door neighbor — immune from cellulite, unwanted hair, hyperpigmentation, et al. The fact is that these conditions are completely normal and expected parts of the human experience, and nothing to be ashamed of. But they can still make you feel uncomfortable — particularly if you want to embrace the shorter hemlines, swimsuits, and skin-baring styles of the warmer months. When it comes to a personal decision, like considering a new in-office skin care treatment, you can absolutely approach it with realistic self-acceptance in mind. Who isn’t looking to to bolster their confidence as they re-emerge from a year of lockdown?
If you are interested in treatments like laser hair removal to keep your legs perennially smooth or to whip your bikini line into shape pre-beach, or perhaps an in-office procedure to help you address dark spots and uneven skin texture, it is a great time to seek out your dermatologist or esthetician and learn about your cosmetic options. While people were sequestered away in 2020, the world of aesthetics was hard at work innovating, leaving beauty fans and newbies alike with a plethora of options to choose from. From new, non-invasive treatments for managing cellulite and toning the body to giving your boob-region a loving “lift,” keep reading for six new aesthetic procedures to consider, just in time for summer.
Laser Hair Removal With Asclepion MeDioStar
Beverly Hills-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer offers a freshly redesigned laser hair removal treatment that works permanently in as few as three sessions. “The Asclepion MeDioStar is the 6th generation [of the machine] and has been updated to deliver more power across all hand pieces [for] more effective results,” he says. In his opinion, “the increased power, along with cooling technology, offers the safest, fastest, most effective, and most comfortable [laser hair removal] treatment available.”
One of the perks of this redesigned system is the extra large hand piece, which treats more expansive body areas like the legs in as little as ten minutes (as compared with 45- to 60-minutes using other systems). Yet another appeal is the fact that permanent results can be achieved in so few sessions (compared to 10-12 for some other options) — although, he points out that yearly treatments may be required for maintenance as “dormant hair follicles become active.”
“Treatments are typically spaced out every four to six weeks, depending on the individual and body part being treated,” Dr. Emer says. “Treatments can take just a few minutes for underarms or upper lips, to 45 minutes for a full body.” For comparison, he points out that others systems would take roughly two- to four-hours for a full body treatment. Lastly, Dr. Emer confirms that MeDioStar is safe and effective for all skin types, and that all parts of the body can be treated.
Address Unwanted Pigmentation With BBL HERO by Sciton
If you are familiar with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments, Beverly Hills-based, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ben Talei explains that the BBL Hero by Sciton is essentially the newer, faster, and more comfortable iteration of these classics. “The Hero BBL is a newer, broad band light, or IPL, that can treat the entire body in 30-60 minutes,” he says. “The cool thing about the BBL Hero by Sciton is how fast it can perform a full body or large area treatment. The Hero is comfortable, fast, and powerful, and is used to treat skin pigment, rosacea, and skin texture.”
Dr. Talei goes on to explain that this treatment differs from your average skin laser in that it “shoots out an array of light energy, rather than a single wavelength,” including filters that practitioners can use to customize the treatments according to targeted results — from pigment and vessels in the skin, to hair removal. Dr. Emer considers the BBL HERO to be the most efficient treatment for removing unwanted browns and reds in skin tone on the market. “The BBL gets rid of sun damage and redness on the skin [and] there is virtually nothing more efficient or powerful out there right now that will give you the [same]results,” he says. He often combines it with other treatments — like radio frequency (RF) microneedling and the MOXI laser — for even better results.
Recommended in a series of roughly three treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart, the price ranges depending upon treatment area from $500 for the face up to $5,000 for larger portions of the body. Downtime may include skin redness for a few days, as well as the temporary darkening of pigment before it flakes off. However, Dr. Talei warns that this treatment should not be used on patients with darker skin tones or those with recurrent melasma, as it can exacerbate unwanted pigment formation. He also adds that Asian patients and those with olive-undertones must also be cautious when using light-based treatments, so be sure to consult with your provider.
Non-Surgical Breast Life With InMode BreastTite
Another recent development in the aesthetics space offers what is essentially a non-surgical breast lift, a treatment appealing to ladies with big boobs or anyone noticing gravity’s effects. “There really was no option before BreastTite to rejuvenate and tighten the breast without surgery,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jacon G. Unger, who is based in Nashville, TN. “Standard surgery only interacts with the tissue along the excisional line, and BreastTite uses radio frequency technology to remodel and tighten the breast skin envelope to deliver a more elevated and youthful result.”
Radio frequency is a popular treatment for tightening and contouring the face and body, from the jawline, to the neck, to the buttocks. Dr. Unger explains that by using InMode’s BodyTite platform, practitioners are able to deliver RF energy to the deep, soft tissue layers of the body; as he explains, this “remodels” the skin, tissue, and fat coagulation of these areas. In other words, it lifts and tightens the areas. Combined with microneedling, he notes that the results are even more pronounced: “Taking results one step further, InMode Morpheus8 Body fractional technology targets deep layers of the skin and breast to remodel collagen and complete the treatment. The combination helps avoid more extensive breast augmentation or breast reconstructive surgery, providing a minimally invasive approach to cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery.”
This is a one-time procedure with downtime consisting of “soreness for a few days,” and Dr. Unger reports that results are immediate and continue to improve over time over the course of six months to a year. However, because the effect of gravity continues, patients may want to look into maintenance treatments with the combined effects of radio frequency and microneedling via the Morpheus8 treatment.
An Eyelid Lift With Upneeq Drops
For patients suffering from drooping eyelids caused by a condition called ptosis — what Dr. Talei describes as, “Sleepiness of one or both eyes produced from a weak eye-opening reflex” — Upneeq, the first and only FDA-approved eyedrop for the condition has arrived. Considering the alternative solution is surgical, this non-invasive option is quite appealing. “The drop works to lift the upper eyelids to both reposition the upper lid and open up the eyes,” explains Beverly Hills-based, board-certified Aesthetic Orbital and Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Raymond Douglas.
Dr. Douglas explains that the eyedrop works by activating receptors used in the contraction of upper eyelid’s muscles. “The contraction acts like a lever raising the elevation and position of the upper eyelid, holding it in a more optimal place or position for both an aesthetic difference and a visual field improvement in adult patients who have acquired ptosis [also known as acquired blepharoptosis].” The experts explain that Upneeq can also be used to treat asymmetry, as well as inadvertent ptosis caused by Botox around the eyes.
While sultry “bedroom eyes” do possess a certain appeal, he explains that treatment is necessary when the lid impacts the visual field or if it causes an aged, sad, worn out, or sickly appearance. Because ptosis can also be exacerbated over time by regularly wearing contacts or applying makeup (any activities that involve pulling on the delicate muscles in the upper eyelid region), the relatively common condition — which Dr. Douglas notes impacts millions in the United States alone — is most frequently seen in patients in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and older. Upneeq eyedrops allow patients to widen their eyes at will for six hours (but anecdotally speaking, up to eight) at a time, and must be used daily. Each 30-day ampoule of Upneeq costs $105, with a discount offered for a 90-day supply.
QWO Injections For Cellulite
You might have heard about QWO, the first FDA-approved injectable cellulite treatment for moderate-to-severe cases on the buttocks. Now, New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Bruce Katz has developed a treatment for its use on the thighs. “Right now, QWO has been approved by the FDA for use on the buttocks. However, since I’ve worked with the product for over two years, I’ve also developed a special technique to also treat thighs, which is showing promising results as well,” he says.
Performed in-office, he explains that “the injections work to dissolve the buildup of collagen in the fibrous bands, which are bands under the skin that thicken and cause [the] tension and the ‘dimpled’ look of cellulite.” Dr. Katz notes that patients have seen improvements in as little as three to six weeks, with long-term success, as well. “I was part of the clinical trials for QWO, and so far patients have seen results lasting two and a half years,” he says, noting that clinical trials are underway to test results for up to five years.
QWO injections require three sessions, ranging in price from $695-$995 depending on the number of areas the patient would like to treat. But just like all injectable treatments, they come with some risk of bruising; in this case, lasting up to two weeks per session. One thing to keep in mind is that with more serious bruising, the risk of permanent discoloration is possible. “Permanent discoloration is a possibility, though only a small percentage of those in the clinical trials experienced this issue,” Dr. Katz says. “My patients have not had any serious or long-term bruising or discoloration.”
Resonic Cellulite Treatment
There is yet another newcomer in the space of cellulite treatment that is refreshingly needle-free. “RESONIC is the only FDA-cleared medical device that uses sound in a new and innovative breakthrough technology to non-invasively improve the appearance of cellulite in just one session,” says Chevy Chase, MD, and Washington, D.C.,-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi. “The technology [features] the ability to physically change targeted cellular structures such as the septa [the fibcrous bands that cause the appearance of cellulite] without breaking the skin, [with] clinical trial results [showing] significant results after just one treatment.”
She explains that the device (which was originally developed to remove tattoos) is affixed to the body while high-frequency sound waves penetrate beneath the skin to restructure the tissues that create cellulite’s dimples. “The sound wave physically changes the fibrous septa that tethers the skin down [which] allows the skin to rebound and regain a smoother texture,” Dr. Tanzi says. She reports that clinical trial participants experienced mild discomfort — an average “2.4 on a scale of 10” — with 93% satisfaction rates after one session.
RESONIC is also appropriate for all body and skin types, including darker skin tones, and is FDA-cleared for use on both the buttocks and the thighs. While further studies must be conducted in order to confirm the effects of multiple treatment sessions and the duration of results (current clinical trials are assessing results after 52-weeks), Dr. Tanzi reveals that her patients continued to see results over time. "In my opinion, RESONIC represents a great leap forward in our ability to improve unwanted cellulite. A non-invasive, no-downtime treatment [providing] results that last is a great improvement over treatments we’ve had before.”