What is skin resurfacing?

Skin resurfacing treatments help to restore a more youthful, beautiful complexion by removing the most damaged outer layers of skin to reveal the healthier-looking skin beneath and encouraging new, healthy skin cell growth.

Over time, our skin’s outer layers start to show wear and tear from aging, injury, and environmental factors in the form or wrinkles, scars, age spots and discoloration. Skin resurfacing treatments help to reverse these signs of aging and stress, helping you look younger, and even healthier, in the process.

Cosmetic surgeons use a variety of techniques for skin resurfacing to address a myriad of skin concerns. Choose from the list below to learn more about your options:

  • Who should perform skin resurfacing treatments?
  • Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation: an Infographic Guide
  • Skin Resurfacing Treatments
    • Laser Skin Resurfacing
    • Chemical Peels
    • Microdermabrasion
    • Dermabrasion
    • Microneedling
    • IPL Photorejuvenation

Who should perform skin resurfacing treatments?

There are literally hundreds of different skin resurfacing treatments available in the U.S., which are marketed under their own brand names. While most of these are excellent technologies, it is important to remember that the component of cosmetic medicine that has the biggest impact on your results is your provider. This goes for non-surgical skin resurfacing treatments as well as cosmetic surgery.

Certain skin resurfacing treatments should only be performed by a board certified cosmetic surgeon. These include deep chemical peels and certain ablative laser treatments. Other treatments, such as microneedling, light peels, and microdermabrasion, can be safely and effectively performed by a highly trained registered nurse or licensed aesthetician.

The credentials required to perform skin resurfacing treatments vary from state to state, but regardless of what is allowed in your area, you should always choose a provider who is licensed for his or her position, works under the supervision of a qualified cosmetic surgeon (if the provider is a nurse or aesthetician) and is very experienced in medical skin care. When you consult with potential providers, ask how many times he or she has performed the specific treatments you are considering. Additionally, ask about the provider’s experience working with patients with your skin type and concerns. This is essential for your safety and to ensure the treatments you receive will be effective in achieving your goals.

The best place to start is to contact a board certified cosmetic surgeon in your area and set up a consultation with that surgeon and/or their skin care director. You can use our Find-A-Surgeon Tool to locate cosmetic surgeons near you.

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Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation Options: an Infographic Guide to Your Options

Non-surgical facial rejuvenation includes injectable fillers, neurotoxins, and skin tightening as well as skin resurfacing. Many cosmetic surgeons will combine treatments to achieve optimal, long-lasting results. The guide below outlines all of your options.

Click to enlarge

Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatments

Lasers use highly concentrated beams of light energy to improve the skin’s tone, texture and appearance.

How can laser skin resurfacing improve my skin?

  • Minimize fine lines or wrinkles
  • Treat brown spots, redness or discoloration for more balanced skin tone
  • Tighten skin and encourage collagen production
  • Remove acne or surgical scars
  • Remove unwanted facial or body hair

Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers remove outer layers of skin and encourage new skin to heal in its place. How deep the laser penetrates depends on the wavelength of the light; your cosmetic surgeon will determine the best laser application for you depending on your skin type, your goals, and the nature of the problem you wish to address. Today, more cosmetic surgeons are using fractionated lasers, which only remove a fraction of the skin in the treatment area. This allows the laser to safely penetrate into the deeper layers of skin to achieve more dramatic results with minimal downtime.

Non-Ablative Lasers

Some lasers do not break the skin’s surface; these are called non-ablative. They work instead by heating up the skin below the surface to encourage new collagen growth and help restore the skin’s natural firmness and tone. While they work more gradually than ablative lasers, these treatments typically require no downtime and can have lasting results for rejuvenating the appearance.

The improvements possible with laser resurfacing are long-lasting and can be dramatic, but they will not appear overnight. It takes several months for the full effects of new skin cell and collagen growth to take shape, and residual after-effects of treatment, such as skin that appears pink at the treatment site, can take a few weeks to subside. However, every patient is a little different. Your cosmetic surgeon will help you learn what type of results you might expect from different laser resurfacing treatment options.

  • Considering laser skin resurfacing? Here are 8 things you should know “

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Chemical Peels

Another way to resurface the skin is to apply a chemical solution that causes the outer layers of skin to peel away. This is what cosmetic surgeons call a chemical peel. Chemical peels are usually performed in a cosmetic surgeon’s office, either by the cosmetic surgeon or a specially trained aesthetician or nurse. During treatment, a solution is brushed or swabbed onto your skin, where it will be left for a certain period of time. Over the days following treatment, the affected layers of skin will gradually peel away, revealing a smoother, younger-looking complexion.

How can a chemical peel help improve my skin?

  • Reduce or remove age spots, blotchiness, or discoloration
  • Smooth fine lines & wrinkles on the skin’s surface
  • Minimize or remove acne scars or milder scars from injury or surgery
  • Tighten & tone the skin and brighten the complexion
  • Remove keratoses or precancerous growths

Light vs. Deep Chemical Peels

Depending on the treatment, a peel will often be classified as light, medium, or deep. This refers to how many layers of skin are removed. Light chemical peels will typically reach partially through the epidermis (the outermost layers of skin) and use a milder acid solution such as glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), salicylic acid, fruit enzymes, or a low concentration of trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Light peels can be safely applied by a trained, experienced aesthetician under the supervision of a cosmetic surgeon, and typically involve little to no downtime.

Deeper peels will reach further into the epidermis or even into the next layer, the dermis, and are recommended to address more advanced signs of aging, such as deeper wrinkles and extensive sun damage, or severe acne scars. Examples include phenol peels, stronger TCA peels, and croton oils. While medium to deep peels can produce more dramatic improvements, they are more involved treatments. Anesthesia may be needed to keep a patient comfortable during treatment, and several days of downtime are required to allow the skin to heal optimally.

Your cosmetic surgeon will recommend a peel based on your skin type, the specific issues you want to address, and how deep the peel needs to work to achieve the desired results. After the initial healing period following a chemical peel, some improvements will be immediately noticeable: brighter, tighter-feeling skin and a more even skin tone. However, the effects of a peel are cumulative, and many patients find repeating treatment periodically is needed for optimal results.

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Microdermabrasion & Dermabrasion

A third class of skin resurfacing treatments are those that involve mechanical exfoliation, where an instrument is used to slough off outer layers of skin to remove visible skin damage and reveal smoother, healthier and younger looking skin. Such treatments include microdermabrasion and dermabrasion. While they have similar sounding names, each of these treatments works quite differently.

Microdermabrasion is a relatively gentle procedure that can be used on the face, neck, hands or body. During treatment, the area is exfoliated by using a very fine tipped instrument or by applying a fine mist of abrasive particles. The exfoliated skin is then immediately vacuumed away. Unlike some other resurfacing treatments, microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types, carries very little risk for side effects, and requires no downtime.

What can microdermabrasion do to improve skin?

  • Minimize fine lines & wrinkles, such as crow’s feet
  • Help skincare products work more effectively
  • Brighten skin & improve tone
  • Reduce age spots or mild acne scars

Microdermabrasion can be performed in the same sessions as a peel or facial to enhance the results. While immediate improvements are usually noticeable, microdermabrasion treatments are often performed in a series to achieve optimal improvements. It is also essential to protect the treated area from the sun, as skin will be more sensitive to sun damage after microdermabrasion.


Dermabrasion is a more powerful mechanical resurfacing technique than microdermabrasion. During treatment, a cosmetic surgeon will use a rapidly rotating instrument or blade to precisely remove skin from the treated area layer by layer until the desired depth. Because it reaches more deeply into the skin’s surface, dermabrasion can affect skin pigmentation, and thus is not recommended for every skin type. Typically, patients will receive a topical anesthetic or local anesthesia to ensure comfort during and after the procedure.

What can dermabrasion do to improve skin?

  • Minimize vertical lip lines, smile lines, or other facial wrinkles
  • Remove acne scars and other blemishes
  • Smooth the skin and balance complexion

The purpose of dermabrasion is to remove enough layers of skin to remove the visible concerns and encourage new cell growth. Therefore, the area will be tender and “raw” after treatment. It is essential to keep the area well protected from the sun and follow your cosmetic surgeon’s instructions for keeping the skin free from infection.

Under the care of a qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon, skin resurfacing treatments can reverse the visible effects of aging to dramatically enhance a patient’s appearance.

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Microneedling is a skin resurfacing technology that uses the skin’s natural healing process to reduce skin imperfections, treat sun damage, and restore a smoother, clearer complexion. Instead of removing layers of skin with heat or chemicals, microneedling creates microscopic “injuries” in the skin using an instrument containing dozens of very fine, short needles. The “injuries” are not visible to the naked eye, but they do trigger the natural healing response, prompting your skin to produce new collagen and elastin and regenerate new, healthy skin cells.

What skin concerns can microneedling treat?

  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Acne or surgical scars
  • Large pore size
  • Sun damage, age spots and hyperpigmentation
  • Stretch marks
  • Rough patches & texture problems

Since microneedling does not remove layers of skin with chemicals or lasers, it is generally safe for all skin types, even darker skin. Additionally, microneedling requires no downtime for most patients, and does not require a post-treatment “peeling” period. However, results may not be as dramatic as what is possible with more aggressive treatments, and multiple microneedling treatments are usually needed to treat specific skin concerns in an area.

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IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Intense pulsed light, or IPL, is a treatment similar to laser resurfacing in that it uses light to treat skin problems, particularly pigmentation problems, and rejuvenate the complexion. However, instead of a highly focused, single wavelength, IPL uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths, delivered in brief pulses. This light helps the skin in two ways. First, the wavelengths in IPL absorb excessive pigment in the skin (reds and browns) to restore a more even complexion. To a lesser degree, IPL stimulates collagen production to improve overall skin tone. IPL is a non-ablative treatment (no skin is removed during treatment), and typically requires little to no downtime.

What skin concerns can IPL treat?

  • Sun damage
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Age spots & freckles
  • Spider veins
  • Redness & rosacea
  • Vascular lesions
  • Texture problems
  • Fine lines

IPL is marketed under many different names, including BBL (broad band light), photofacial, and photorejuvenation. However, while individual treatment platforms vary somewhat in their specifications, all use a broad-wavelength intense pulsed light technology—the skill of your provider makes a bigger difference in your treatment than the brand name of the treatment.

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With the number of people willing to go under the knife in the name of beauty on the decline (research from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons shows a fall in cosmetic surgical procedures of nearly 8% in 2017 YoY), there’s never been a better time to explore alternative procedures that don’t require a needle.

We checked out the latest game-changing beauty innovations letting you look your best without the fear-inducing invasive surgery.


1. The Phi Principle

Drawing on the mathematical principles of Phi (otherwise known as The Golden Ratio – a precise distancing of the features of an object, making it ‘beautiful’), a new sort of (non-surgical) facelift has been developed.

Achieving Phi is said to be the key to divine proportion and has been used to great effect throughout history in art and architecture. Put simply, the A-list worthy super symmetrical face is what Phi aims for.

At the Phi Clinic, Dr Patel applies the Phi formula to the Instagram age and uses it as the foundation of his ‘face lift,’ a procedure that uses non-surgical techniques to lift and rejuvenate the face.

Specific areas of the face are injected with Juvederm dermal filler to produce natural looking ‘lift’ that requires no invasive surgery and no downtime. The results of this innovation has been overwhelmingly positive, earning PHI CLINIC a plethora of awards including ‘Best Clinic Of The Year’.


2. Cryotherapy

Widely used amongst athletes to relieve pain and accelerate recovery time, cryotherapy has, in recent years, been adopted by the wellness industry for its numerous cosmetic benefits, which include weight loss (it is claimed you can burn up to 600 calories in one 3 minute session) and the treatment of conditions like insomnia, psoriasis and eczema.

Celebrity fans that swear by it include Cristiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and Daniel Craig.

So what is it exactly and how does it work?

Whole Body Cyrotherapy (WBC) essentially involves standing in a very cold tank for 2-4 minutes. And by ‘very cold’, we mean sub-zero, minus -90c cold. Cold that should be unthinkable but, due to the fact that it is created by electrical technology and not affected by environmental factors like wind chill, is completely manageable and bizarrely really rather exhilarating to experience.

Sophie Ball

It works by stimulating the blood vessels: they constrict in extreme temperatures and once back to room temperature the blood rushes to the surface of your skin resulting in a rosy glow. The extreme cold also stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces inflammation on the cellular level. And the weight loss? That works by tricking your body into thinking it’s in crisis – put simply, the body burns energy and by extension calories, just to survive.

Prices start at £90 for one 3 minute full body session at 111CRYO.

3. Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy involves the injection of a specially prepared mixture of vitamins, amino acids and medications, placed just millimetres under the skin and works by plumping and deeply hydrating the tissue, in turn softening surface lines caused by dehydrated skin.

The actual formula injected into the mesoderm (or surface layer of the skin) during Mesotherapy depends on the problem being treated.

In general, the substances used can include: a local anaesthetic, and products that may reduce inflammation and treat veins, muscle relaxants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, hormones, and hormone blockers; to name but a few.

The results are subtle but effective; this treatment isn’t designed for the removal of any scarring or sun spots, the intention is to brighten and firm your skin so that it is the best version of its regular self. One treatment will ensure that you look like you’ve slept for a week – who wouldn’t want that?

For more information visit 111 Harley Street.


4. The 24 Hour Boob Job

We’re lovers of all boobs whatever shape, size, age etc. But, we’re also aware that not everyone is happy with what they’ve got.

Step forward Norman Rowe, a New York based plastic surgeon, playing fairy godmother to Cinderellas everywhere for one night only.

In about 20 minutes you can go from flat chested to overflowing with his InstaBreast technique – the effects of which last for only 24 hours.

The method is remarkably simple, he designates a site on the edge of each nipple and after the area is anesthetized, injects about a half litre of saline solution into the patient’s breast tissue. The saline is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, with the full effect lasting around 24 hours.

Saline solution is considered perfectly safe, it’s the same stuff you would get in an IV if you were dehydrated. Breathing new life into the ‘try before you buy’ adage, the majority of Rowe’s patients undergo the procedure as a precursor to permanent augmentation – it provides a reality that computer imaging just can’t mimic. And a much-needed opportunity to change your mind if your new pair aren’t quite right for you.

Of course it’s not without its drawbacks: injection of any form is susceptible to infection and there is a risk of permanent stretch marks if you continually opt for the procedure over a period of time. However, as innovations in cosmetics go, this is one of the most sophisticated. Coming to a London clinic near you soon.


5. CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting was first approved by the FDA in 2010, but recently gained attention when it was rebranded as as a non-invasive alternative to liposuction. This year it’s the hot ticket on the cosmetic circuit, but how does it actually work?

Put simply, CoolSculpting adopts cryolipolysis technology to freeze unwanted fatty deposits beneath the skin which are then processed and flushed out naturally by the body.

The application is through rounded paddles which suction your skin and fat like a vacuum – all you have to do is sit back and try to ignore the mild discomfort. There is no pain, no downtime and no scarring, earning Coolsculpting the moniker of the ‘lunchtime lipo.’

Although ideal for those who carry small pockets of stubborn fat and are looking for an effective alternative to liposuction, it is not a substitute for healthy diet and exercise. Results are noticeable but subtle which means this procedure is used most effectively for body contouring rather than significant fat loss.

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6. Cellfina

With our obsession with bums seemingly never ending, and more and more stories of bum lifts going awry, our love for a Kim K backside has lead to surgery alternatives hitting the mainstream.

The first FDA-approved minimally invasive cellulite procedure to target bottom and thigh dimples, Cellfina claims to reduce the appearance of ‘orange peel’ skin by 90%. Now that’s one smooth butt.

Unlike other procedures, Cellfina treats the structural cause of cellulite, breaking up networks of connective tissue bands that can lead to puckering on the skin’s surface. A session takes just 45 minutes and lasts for up to three years.

Cellfina, prices start from £2,500

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If you are considering surgery…

Always take your time, think it through and make sure it’s the right decision for you, not someone else.

If you are considering surgery then it’s of paramount importance that you research your clinic and your doctor thoroughly and look at those that have excellent ethical, consultation and aftercare procedures.

The relationship you develop with your doctor should be as highly regarded as the aesthetic outcome and watch out for red flags such as £250 consultation fees and any practice that doesn’t introduce you to your operating surgeon in the first appointment.

Trust. Care. Attention to Detail. These are the principles that should guide any of your decisions regarding cosmetic procedure.

Related Story Related Story

6 Non-Surgical Facelift Treatments Recommended by Plastic Surgeons

With the range of current technologies and procedures available, people don’t want to, or more importantly, don’t have to, go under the knife.

If your goal is to restore your youthful glow, you can use a combination of non-surgical procedures to achieve a natural looking facelift without surgery, even well into your 60s.

In many cases, you can even schedule the appointment during your lunch break, and no one in your social circle would ever know.

“Most people, especially those in their 40s to 60s will see an almost magical improvement with carefully considered placement of fillers and appropriate use of muscle relaxants, lasers, and fat melting agents,” says expert injector Dr. Onir Spiegel from Chestnut Hill, MA.

One of the main attractions of non-surgical skin tightening procedures is they are quick to perform and have very little downtime. Also, of course, “everybody loves these because they work, they look natural, they’re safe, and you quickly look beautiful,” adds Spiegel.

Drs. Spiegel, Zamora, and Azzi

What you need to know before getting a lunchtime facelift

When considering a facelift of any kind, Spiegel suggests that the key is to pay attention to what has changed in your appearance over the years.

For instance, ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Do you have new jowls?
  • Are your cheeks falling down creating ‘sausage lines’ around your mouth?
  • Is your skin blotchy and pigmented with age spots?
  • Do you have frown lines or hollowness under your eyes?
  • Do you have deep grooves creating a frown around your mouth?

“These changes can often be treated easily with non-surgical methods,” says Spiegel. Once you determine your goals, you can have a discussion with your doctor to decide which procedures will suit you best.

6 Common non-surgical facelift treatments

“Non-surgical options for facelifts fall into three categories: replenishing lost volume, resurfacing the superficial skin, and tightening deeper tissue,” says Denver-based oculo-facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Zamora.

Generally, a range of treatments are used in combination to achieve your overall facial rejuvenation goals.


Botox, also marketed as Dysport and Xeomin, is the most commonly used non-surgical treatment with over 4,250,000 procedures performed in the US in 2015 alone. Zamora explains, “Botox is a neuro-modulator injected into the muscle, which causes it to temporarily relax. The relaxed muscle can no longer contract and therefore cannot create a wrinkle.”

Botox injections effectively treat fine lines and wrinkles between the eyebrows, forehead creases, crow’s feet around the eyes, and other wrinkles in the upper face region. “If you have loose skin creating banding in the neck, sometimes Botox is also the answer,” says Spiegel.

Results from Botox can be seen within three to seven days and last for three to four months. Botox requires ongoing treatments to stop wrinkles from returning. For deeper wrinkles, it may take several treatments to achieve the desired outcome.

This treatment has no serious side effects, but the most common side effects are temporary muscle weakness, redness, irritation, and swelling at the injection site.

Dermal fillers

“Falling cheeks and new jowls are commonly caused by a loss of facial volume, creating the illusion of sagging skin,” says Spiegel. “We can restore the volume, without surgery, in just a few minutes and you’ll look like you had a facelift.” These procedures are sometimes called “lunchtime facelifts” or “liquid facelifts.”

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a variety of injectable fillers can be used:

  • Hyaluronic acid-based fillers — Restylane, Juvederm, Prevelle Silk, Hydrelle, Belotero, Ultra Plus, Voluma, and Perlane
  • Collagen-based fillers — Cosmoplast, Cosmoderm, and Evolence
  • Semi-permanent fillers — Sculptra and Radiesse
  • Permanent fillers — Bellafill (ArteFill)

Hyaluronic acid is the most commonly used filler, being the second most popular non-surgical option with nearly 2,150,000 procedures performed in the United States in 2015.

Dermal fillers are used to fill lines and spaces, plumping them up to increase volume.

They are more commonly used for the lower parts of the face — the cheeks, the lines that run from your nose to your mouth (nasolabial folds), the lips, the lines running from the sides of the mouth down to the chin (marionette lines), indentations from scars, or any other sunken areas of the face. When necessary, dermal fillers can also be used under the eyes and in the temples.

Fillers provide an immediate result with little to no downtime. However, Zamora advises that results are temporary for all the artificial dermal fillers — even permanent fillers only last five years — and most need to be regularly maintained every six to twelve months.

The majority of people experience little side effects, though some can be sensitive to the treatment or experience allergic reactions.

” Can fillers quickly and drastically improve your appearance? Speak to a cosmetic doctor near you from the comfort of your own home, using our virtual consultation tool.

Fat transfer

An alternative to dermal fillers is fat transfer. Fat can be removed from other areas of your body, then reinjected into the face to strategically address the volume loss.

A fat transfer can be used to address laugh lines, smile lines, crow’s feet, lips, acne scars, skin depressions, concave cheeks, and any other sunken areas of the face.

Palm Beach, FL facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jean-Paul Azzi suggests one of the greatest advantages of fat transfer is that it produces very natural-looking long term results, lasting for a lifetime after being injected.

Since you are using your own fat, the body accepts it more readily, reducing the chance of allergic reactions or rejections. The only downfall is that it can be time consuming to obtain and prepare fat compared to using a, previously mentioned, prepackaged dermal fillers.

Intense pulsed light (IPL), ultrasound, and laser treatments

“Correction of pigmentation, fine lines, blotchiness, and redness are done with the right combination of skin care products and powerful light technology such as IPL and lasers,” says Spiegel. Another option is ultrasound, otherwise known as Ultherapy.

These treatments “offer very subtle, but sometimes permanent results that mimic a facelift and can treat the entire face,” says Zamora. Compared with many other options, “these are more cost effective treatments with less downtime,” he adds.

Spiegel advises, “these usually leave you with no immediate signs of having the procedure or just a short period of redness. When you combine these approaches with fillers and Botox, you can have the look of a natural, beautiful face without surgery, and certainly without any unnatural signs of surgery.”


“If you have a heavy sagging neck, but fairly good skin, we may be able to correct your jawline without surgery by injecting a newer fat blasting medication called Kybella,” says Spiegel.

With Kybella, you will need two to four treatments over a three to four month period to get the results you’re after. Although it is a quick lunch time procedure, be prepared for a slightly uncomfortable experience.

You will be left with stinging in the area for a short time, and the injections may cause swelling and tenderness in the area for a two to three week period.

When it comes to a droopy neck, “people are often disappointed with non-surgical correction of loose thin neck skin,” says Spiegel. In these cases, “we haven’t seen magical results with any heat, light, or ultrasound based techniques to tighten the neck,” she adds.

Laser lifts

If the above non-surgical options don’t fully address your issues, Zamora suggests the addition of a minimally invasive laser lift.

“Laser lift procedures utilize laser energy subdermally to create a controlled injury that melts fat and tightens skin,” says Zamora. “Laser lifts are ideal for the lower face and neck, and offer permanent results that instantly chisel and sculpt.”

Laser lifts require very small incisions under the chin and behind the ears. A fine laser is threaded under the skin to remove fat and tighten the area. Laser lifts can work well in combination with some of the rejuvenation techniques previously mentioned in this article.

What is the most effective way to have a facelift without surgery?

There is no clear path suited to everyone as the procedures used will depend on your individual goals.

Spiegel notes that, “when things get far enough along, a good old fashioned facelift done the right way is the answer, but the methods mentioned can potentially keep you from getting there, or help your facelift last many years longer.”

Overall, “the most effective options are procedures that are long lasting, have minimal downtime, and give patient’s natural looking results,” adds Zamora.

” Not sure which non-surgical facelift treatment would be ideal for you? Use our doctor directory to find a top rated cosmetic doctor near you and discuss your options.

” Show all Jedha Dening 12:30 pm

Non-surgical cosmetic treatments

In this article:

  • Need to know
  • Injectables
    • Dermal fillers – collagen, hyaluronic acid, Restylanem, Juvederm, Radiesse, fat transfers
    • Muscle relaxers – Botox, Dysport
    • Liquid facelifts
    • ‘Fat melting’ – Belkyra, Kybella
  • Skin treatments
    • Chemical peels
    • Dermal rolling and microneedling
    • Microdermabrasion
  • Laser and similar procedures
    • The difference between continuous, fractional, ablative and non-ablative lasers
    • IPL and other heat-based treatments such as Thermage (radio frequency), Ulthera (ultrasound) and Cutera Titan (infrared)
    • Personal LED anti-ageing devices
  • Doing your research and finding the right doctor

The ageing process

Ageing takes its toll in a number of ways, including expression lines, loss of fat volume, loss of bone structure, gravity, and the big one – sun damage. Dermatologist Dr Phillip Artemi says, “Seventy-five per cent of what you see in the mirror at 50 or 60 is due to sun damage.”

There’s no one treatment that deals with all skin issues and works for all people, and a cosmetic physician may suggest you have more than one: for example muscle relaxers for forehead lines, dermal fillers for nasolabial folds (running from the corner of the nose to the corner of the mouth) and volume replacement, and IPL or a peel for fine lines and skin texture.

Need to know

  • There’s no such thing as a “non-surgical facelift”. There’s skin smoothing and tightening, volume replacement and wrinkle reduction, but no non-surgical treatment is going to give you the same lifting results as surgery. You may look “fresher”, but don’t expect gravity-defying miracles!
  • These procedures are designed for people in their 30s to 50s with reasonably good skin, who are prepared to protect it from the sun.
  • Some procedures involve a lot of pain and some will still leave you temporarily looking like you’ve been burned/beaten/stung by a bee, so you may need a recovery period hiding out at home. The greater the (initial) damage, the better the long-term effect.
  • The results won’t last as long as a surgical facelift, and the costs of repeating the procedure several times over 10 years (which is how long a facelift “lasts”) may end up exceeding those of surgery.
  • You get what you pay for – mostly. Although salons and spas may offer radio frequency or ultrasound skin firming or facial peels for a tenth of the price of a cosmetic physician, it’s likely the treatments aren’t as strong. In addition, the staff may not have had the training and experience necessary for evaluating client suitability or delivering the procedure safely. That said, there are no guarantees with cosmetic physicians either – but the odds of a safe and effective procedure are better.
  • All procedures carry risks of temporary or even permanent damage, and could leave you wishing you had your old skin back.

So, if you’re still willing to go ahead, what are your options?


Dermal fillers

The injection of filler materials under the skin can fill in deep folds, such as nasolabial folds (also known as “smile lines” or “laugh lines”), create fuller lips and pad out hollow cheeks and eyes. Rather than just smoothing or tightening skin, they can change the facial profile to a more youthful one.

Although collagen used to be the standard filler, hyaluronic acid, with brand names like Restylane and Juvederm, is now more popular. Hyaluronic acid lasts somewhere between six months to a year – although treating areas of the face that move less will last longer than those that move more, such as the lips – and you tend to get better results with each treatment. There’s evidence that hyaluronic acid injections can also have a more permanent anti-ageing effect by stimulating collagen growth.

Synthetic fillers, such as Radiesse, are long-lasting (12–18 months). The main risk associated with these is lumps forming under the skin that have to be surgically removed, or changes to the skin structure that occur with age, leaving odd shapes where the filler is.

Finally, there are fat transfers, where your own body fat is extracted, processed and injected into your face. This can be expensive, and while it sometimes lasts five to 10 years, the fat may not survive long at all, and may be absorbed back into the body.

How much these procedures cost is difficult to say, because treatments are usually priced by the type and volume of filler used, and that depends on what you’re having done. Prices start from a few hundred dollars and can exceed $1000, with fat transfers at the higher end.

Muscle relaxers

Botulinum toxin (brand names include Botox and Dysport) temporarily “paralyses” muscles when injected. This prevents the skin above from creasing up and causing wrinkles. It only works on so-called “expression lines”, such as frown (vertical) lines and surprise (horizontal) lines on the forehead, smoothing them and preventing them from becoming more pronounced. It won’t do anything for sun-damaged skin or lines caused by skin sagging, such as nasolabial folds.

Though a prescription-only drug, it’s possible for non-medical professionals to obtain and inject Botox or its other variants, with potentially serious consequences if something goes wrong. It’s best to leave these injections to an experienced medical professional – and definitely not to have them at a “Botox party”. The products used at Botox parties have been reported to be fake imports.

The cost depends on how much is injected, and typically starts from around $100 to over $1000. The process itself is relatively painless, but you can’t lie down or rub the area for several hours afterwards – this is to prevent the toxin spreading to other areas.

The effects take a few days to kick in, and initially last a few months – longer after continued treatment.

Possible side effects include a droopy upper eyelid if the drug is injected too low on the forehead, and this may last a couple of weeks. In the hands of a skilled administrator, you can avoid the notorious “frozen” look.

Liquid facelift

Combined use of muscle relaxers and dermal fillers is called a liquid facelift. It costs about $1000 to $4000, depending on how much work is done, and lasts from one to two years.

‘Fat melting’

Dioxycholic acid is a chemical naturally found in the body that breaks down dietary fat in the digestive system. It can be injected into the body to reduce body fat in small areas, and is available in Australia under the brand name Belkyra (it’s known as Kybella overseas). Currently it’s approved for use to reduce submental fat – the fat under the chin responsible for the dreaded double chin.

Results can be quite good, with reduced fat under the chin, and some skin tightening may also occur, though it depends on the particular patient. You’ll need multiple injections over a two or more sessions for it to work, and there can be significant swelling – “bullfrog neck” is the term often used! Another potential side effect is damage to the marginal mandibular nerve, which may give you a lopsided smile for a while.

The cost for two sessions is around $2200-2800.

Skin treatments

Chemical peel

Acid, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or trichloracetic acid, is applied to the skin and exfoliates the top layer, causing dead skin cells to peel off. At stronger concentrations, new, tighter skin forms as collagen production is stimulated in response to the wounding.

It can help reduce fine lines, small scars, discolouration and sun-damaged skin. The stronger the peel, the more dramatic and longer-lasting the results – stronger peels (concentrations of more than 30%) are better left to medical professionals rather than beauticians.

The acid stings, and for a strong peel a sedative may be helpful. After-care for a strong peel may include bandaging, and it could take weeks to heal. Milder acids may result in some redness and peeling in the first week, and there may be some crusting or scabbing.

A stronger peel’s benefits can last for two years, although it depends on the strength of acid used (which determines how deep the peel is). These days a course of several milder peels, rather than one strong peel, is common. Milder peels may require top-up peels every few months.

Costs range from under $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the type.

Dermal rolling

Percutaneous collagen induction therapy, popularly known as dermarolling or microneedling, involves rolling a cylinder covered in tiny needles over your skin. The damage caused by the needles stimulates collagen production, and has been successfully used for treating scars, especially acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles. It may sometimes be combined with radio frequency energy to create a greater effect.

As a rule, the longer the needle, the greater the damage (and bleeding and pain…) and the greater the effect.

Dermal rollers can be purchased for as little as $30 online, so are relatively cheap. However results may not be as good as those achieved by professionals, and you could do harm with poor technique, damaged needles or needles that are too long, or poor hygiene.

You can also have it done by a beautician, but make sure they’re experienced and have good hygiene practices – unclean rollers can spread infection. Dermatologists and cosmetic physicians offer microneedling with or without radiofrequency.

Not to be confused with dermabrasion (which is rarely used these days), microdermabrasion can be done at a salon or spa, and uses fine crystals to sand the face and remove dead skin cells.

It may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture, but don’t expect a major anti-ageing effect. There will probably be some redness and swelling for a few hours.

Laser and similar procedures

Many non-surgical skin-tightening procedures work using heat to create controlled injury in the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin, inducing the body to respond by producing more collagen in the treated area.

The increased collagen plumps and thickens the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, acne scarring and stretch marks. Some lasers act on the surface as well as deeper, and have a better track record. It’s the wavelength of the laser which determines how deeply it penetrates the skin.

Lasers are used for moderate lines and wrinkles, and improve skin tone, texture, and tightness, though they don’t work on very deep lines (such as nasolabial folds). There are many different laser treatments available, and they’re usually classified according to injury pattern, the depth at which they act and whether they destroy or simply heat tissue.

  • Continuous laser treats the whole area of skin, while fractional lasers penetrate the skin in a pattern of microscopic columns, leaving surrounding healthy tissue unaffected.
  • Ablative lasers destroy the tissue, which is replaced by new healthy tissue, while non-ablative lasers heat the tissue to stimulate collagen production, but leave it intact.

In short, the greater the injury, the greater the effect – the trade-offs being a longer recovery time and a higher risk of adverse events. Non-ablative laser (e.g. Fraxel Re:store, Laser Genesis) has the mildest effect, followed by fractional ablative (e.g. Fraxel Re:pair, Pearl Fractional), and continuous ablative is the most effective.

  • Non-ablative treatment requires a topical anaesthetic. Your skin will be red for up to a week, and there may be mild swelling and peeling. You’ll probably need several sessions a few weeks apart, costing around $250 per session. In a best case scenario, an immediate improvement can be seen, with continued improvements for the next two to three months.
  • Fractional ablative resurfacing affects surface and deeper tissue, resulting in longer down-time, with redness and swelling of up to two weeks. You may need more than one session at a cost of about $450 per session.
  • Continuous ablative laser may need a combination of topical and systemic painkillers and sedation. Recovery means a week at home out of the sun keeping the raw skin moist, and it may be red for a few weeks after that. Only one session is needed and it costs around $1500.

Possible long-term effects of ablative procedures include prolonged redness, scarring, pigmentation changes and infections, though risks are reduced with fractional systems and experienced laser surgeons. Doctors advise against laser therapy for people affected by an active herpes infection, people who have recently used systemic isotretinoin or people with darker skin.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL uses bursts of intense light energy to heat the epidermis and dermis, stimulating collagen production. It’s best for improving skin tone and texture, as well as discolouration, and may not have much effect on wrinkles. A series of three to six treatments is usually recommended, each costing about $150–400, with maintenance treatments a few times a year. The improvement is gradual, and it may take a few rounds to notice the difference.

The different forms of energy used by these devices penetrate below the surface of the skin, inducing heat which causes collagen to contract and new collagen to form. At its best, this treatment tightens skin. Targeted at people in their 40s and 50s with mild skin looseness and wrinkling, it’s promoted as the ideal compromise for taking a few years off your face without the expense and downtime of surgery.

But don’t get your hopes up just yet – according to Dr Phillip Artemi, “The technology is still in its infancy, the results are very variable and, while it has potential, really good responses are rare.”

Even in the best outcomes, this type of treatment doesn’t lift muscle, as a surgical facelift would; it doesn’t correct sun damage; and it doesn’t reduce hollows caused by age-related fat loss. For these reasons it may be used in combination with other treatments such as dermal fillers and laser resurfacing or a chemical peel.

The process is uncomfortable and you may need topical anaesthetic. There may be some redness afterwards, which can be disguised by make-up, but it’s rare that you’ll experience swelling, bruising or pain. There may be an immediate skin-tightening effect as collagen fibres contract, but the full results take a few months to kick in, showing a gradual improvement as collagen production increases.

Other heat-based treatments

  • Radio frequency (Thermage is the most well-known brand of treatment.) Only one session is necessary and it lasts a few years. It costs $2500-5000, depending on the clinic and the amount of coverage (full face, half face etc).
  • Ultrasound (e.g. Ulthera) costs around $1000-3500 and one session will probably be enough, though you may need two.
  • Infrared (e.g. Cutera Titan) costs around $700 and will likely need two to three sessions.

Personal LED anti-ageing devices

There are several handheld LED-based devices designed for in-home use. Dr Adrian Lim, from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, says that they could have some effect, though it won’t be as good as professionally available services.

While convenient and relatively cheap (around $200-$300) compared to clinical treatments, it can be quite time consuming, especially because you have to repeat the treatment regularly (daily in many cases) to get any benefit. “Most people just give up!” says Dr Lim.

Do your research on cosmetic procedures

There are plenty of online reviews of these anti-ageing procedures. Among them, RealSelf is worth a look because it’s moderated and has input from doctors. But take the reviews with a pinch of salt because results can be subjective, and some side effects or negative results may in fact be due to patient idiosyncrasies or level of expectation rather than the procedure itself, or may have been due to operator error or older technology.

Keep in mind also that some procedures take some time to have optimum effect; for example, the collagen-generating technologies that peak at about six months or so – reviews or pictures taken before then might not do the procedure justice. If you notice people reporting similar problems about a procedure, raise your concerns with your doctor.

You can easily find before and after photos of the different treatments if you search online. With some it’s difficult to tell any difference, while with others the results are nothing short of miraculous – and may perhaps have had a little help from photo-editing software. Lighting, hair, makeup, clothing and facial expression can make a big difference too. Advertisers may choose to show some of the better outcomes, rather than typical outcomes.

Choosing your doctor

When choosing a doctor for cosmetic procedures, you could ask for recommendations from your GP or from friends or relatives who have had similar work done. Consider:

  • Qualifications: Ideally look for someone who’s a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, a fellow of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons or of the Australasian College of Dermatologists. However, many other doctors (GPs, for example) and some nurses are trained and experienced in administering cosmetic procedures.
  • Experience: Find out how often and for how long they’ve been doing the procedures.
  • Fees: What are the initial consultation fees?
  • Manner: It’s important to feel comfortable with the doctor, and that other staff in the practice are pleasant and knowledgeable.

Some questions to ask your doctor about the procedure

  • What does it involve and how long will it take?
  • What will I look like immediately after the procedure? Will I need time off work?
  • Are there any complications associated with the procedure? Are there other side-effects?
  • How much are the procedure fees, including after-care and the cost of take-home skin care products or medication, if applicable?
  • How many sessions are required and over how long?
  • If more than one session is recommended, is there a package available? If I choose not to go ahead with all sessions in the package do I get a refund?
  • If complications do occur or the procedure is not successful, how will you deal with this? How long do the effects last, and how often should they be repeated to maintain the effect?

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Noted Instagram Face haver Kylie Jenner. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV

In 1891, Oscar Wilde famously wrote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” More than a century later, the saying still rings true — except today, it’s the virtual art of Photoshop, Facetune and filters that’s impacting real-life beauty ideals.

This relationship between online editing and offline “enhancements” has given way to a phenomenon informally known as “Instagram Face,” the ubiquitous blend of Insta-approved facial features you’ve no doubt spotted on your feed. It’s that uniformly wide-eyed, smooth-skinned, pouty-lipped look that Eve Peyser of the New York Times hilariously (and accurately) described as “a sexy baby meets Jessica Rabbit.” It’s the facial feature equivalent of uptalking, the artificial, filtered look that makes it hard to tell if you just scrolled past a selfie of Emily Ratajkowski or Bella Hadid. It’s the aesthetic that prompts you to ponder lip injections… but, like, super subtle lip injections?

The thing about Instagram Face, though, is that almost no one is born with it — not even the influencers that influence it. “These celebrities most likely have enhanced their appearance, whether it be with permanent procedures, semi-permanent procedures or something temporary,” Courtney Casgraux, the founder of Los Angeles’ GBY Beauty, tells Fashionista, noting that her clients regularly present her with images of those they wish to “emulate” through aesthetic treatments — usually Hadid, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.

Many of the photos that Casgraux’s clients reference also appear to be digitally altered with Facetune (or something similar), an app that allows users to edit images in ways large and small. Even celebrities who’ve (maybe, probably, allegedly) physically altered their appearance with surgery or injectables use it, lifting their brows, carving out new jawlines or smoothing out less-than-perfect skin before posting. Not that this is new. Every other day seems to bring a new Photoshop “scandal,” and there are plenty of Instagram accounts dedicated to documenting stars’ minor manipulations, like @celebface, in which Hadid and Jenner are main feed fixtures.

According to Dr. Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert based in Calabasas, Calif., the prevalence of filters has created a frenzied demand for fillers from public figures and private citizens alike. The numbers add up: The worldwide medical aesthetic market is projected to be worth approximately $26.53 billion by 2024 — a significant leap from $10.12 billion in 2016.

“One of the biggest things I tell my patients is, ‘You want to look more like your filtered photos — what can we do to make you look more like them, so people don’t see you in real life and go, what?'” Dr. Guanche shared with a small group of journalists at an event hosted by Allergan, the makers of Botox Cosmetic.

She regularly works with celebs and influencers — including Olivia Culpo, who is arguably the epitome of Instagram Face — to help them “look a little more gorgeous,” in her words. “They … look pretty when they post their own photos they can do all kinds of things to them,” the dermatologist continued. “But when you go to an event, other people are going to photograph you, so you have to be ready with skin that looks good in real life, too.”

It sounds like a plot point from a sci-fi film, but today, it’s actually entirely possible to make your digitally-enhanced avatar a reality — and quickly, too — with an array of non-surgical injectable innovations. “Non-surgical” meaning no downtime; in most cases, patients are Insta-ready almost instantaneously.

Ahead, a comprehensive guide to every in-office aesthetic treatment it takes to transform an average face into an Instagram Face. To be clear, I’m not saying your favorite interchangeably-beautiful influencers have gotten these exact procedures… but I’m not not saying that, either.

Everything You Need to Know About ‘Non-Surgical’ Cosmetic Procedures
This Is How Much It Costs to Wake Up Looking Like an Influencer
Everything You’ve Ever Wondered About Preventative Botox, Explained


“Lines are something we just don’t see in the celebrity/beauty world, and I use Botox Cosmetic to achieve smoothing of the forehead,” Dr. Guanche tells Fashionista. She typically charges between $240 to $350 for the full area and notes the side effects of Botox are “minimal,” citing “droopiness, asymmetry, infection at the injection site, bruising and allergic reaction,” as some potential problems.

The dermatologist also offers “Baby Botox,” a modified treatment aimed at millennials. “Here, Botox is used off-label in smaller doses to prevent lines from forming,” she says. (“Off-label” means clinical trials have not been done to prove the safety of this particular technique.) “Millennials love Baby Botox, as well as actors who wish to maintain facial expression while still reducing wrinkles,” says Dr. Gauche. In fact, she reveals actors often opt for Baby Botox while filming and full Botox during awards season.

In both cases, the neuromodulator will last for four to six months before it’s time for a touch-up.

Eye Area

It’s not Instagram Face without a high brow and a wide eye, aka, the IRL embodiment of Snapchat’s dog filter (minus the dog part). In the aesthetics world, the look is known as the “Botox brow lift” and involves a series of injections just above the natural brow; which, again, isn’t an approved treatment area. “It ends up opening the eyes by moving the brows and eyelid skin upwards,” Dr. Marcelo Antunes, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon with The Piazza Center in Austin, Texas, tells Fashionista.

Dr. Guanche adds that treating crow’s feet with Botox can also affect a brow lift, calling it a more “modest” approach at $350. Clients typically pair these treatments with brow shaping and micropigmentation ($1,000) along with lash extensions, a lash tint, and/or a lash lift ($175) for full effect.

Next up: Dermal filler directly injected into the “tear troughs” (a fancy name for the ridges around under-eye bags) to plump and smooth for $600. “People that have a lot of pictures taken of them come in more for tear trough fillers, since this area can look deeper in certain lighting situations,” Dr. Summit Kundaria, a plastic surgeon with Nuance Facial Plastics in North Carolina, previously told Fashionista. In other words, it’s an influencer’s dream — as long as none of the off-label fillers’ potential risks (occlusion of blood vessels, the formation of nodules, allergic reaction and poor cosmetic result) get in the way.


“High, soft-looking cheekbones enhance beauty,” says Dr. Guanche. “I call it “sculpting your face with a needle.'” Specifically, a needle of Juvéderm Voluma. While many older patients choose cheek fillers to counteract sagging, “there is also a great deal we can do to take millennials’ faces to the next level,” the dermatologist says. Translated: Everyone of every age is doing it. The only downside? Well, besides the general risks (others include infection, bruising, redness and swelling), injections only last between six and 12 months, and can cost anywhere from $750 to $3,000.


Not born with a straight, upturned influencer nose? Don’t have the time for a full rhinoplasty? You’re in luck: Practitioners can fake the effect of a nose job in as little as 30 minutes by using fillers to “fill depressions, smooth out sharp angles or change the angle of the tip of the nose, restore symmetry and make your nose appear more attractive and in better harmony with your face,” a representative from cosmetic surgeon Dr. Alexander Rivkin’s office previously told Fashionista.

The pros: A “liquid rhinoplasty,” which typically costs about $1,000, requires no recovery time, so you never have to take a conspicuous break from the ‘gram. The cons: It’s an off-label enhancement that carries quite a few risks including, in extreme cases, blindness. “It is imperative that the patient only works with a very experienced injector for this type of injection,” Dr. Guanche says.

Just under the nose are the “nasolabial folds,” or lines that run from the nostrils to the corners of the mouth, which are remedied easily and often with a $300 to $600 touch of filler.

Olivia Culpo. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Max Mara


“In the model/influencer/actress world, there are many who do subtle, modest filler treatments in their lips,” says Dr. Gaunche, who wields a syringe of Juvéderm Ultra for a pouty, pillow look. “When artfully done, it is not obvious that the lips were filled.” For just $750 to $1,600, you, too, can look like you haven’t had lip injections.

Of course, lips are just one half of a social media smile — a uniformly beautiful face demands uniformly perfect teeth. “We can do so much with veneers; they literally transform a smile,” Dr. Victoria Veytsman, a cosmetic DDS with Cosmetic Dental Studios, tells Fashionista. “It can shave 10 to 15 years off of someone’s face.” Each individual tooth costs between $2,500 to $3,500, so veneers are probably the priciest part of the Instagram Face equation. (At $750, professional whitening is a more affordable option.)

Chin & Jaw

These days, a little bit of filler can give you a whole new jawline — no invasive bone shaving or chin implants necessary. (Once more, this is a non-regulated use of dermal filler that hasn’t been through clinical trials.)

Dr. Guanche takes this off-label approach to the next level with what she calls the “GuancheLift,” a mix of Botox and Juvéderm strategically injected around the lower face and neck, under the hairline, to recreate the effect of a face lift, sans surgery. According to her site, the procedure “redistributes the … jowls” and pulls “the skin of the neck upwards” for $1,500.

Another option is Kybella, an injectable that essentially destroys fat cells, and thus, double chins — all the better for those Instagram angles. Three sessions can run upwards of $5,000, but results are permanent, which sets Kybella apart from other options. (Well, the possible side effects set it apart, too: hair loss, ulcers, bruising and even necrosis at the injection site, to name a few.)


The finishing touch? Flawless skin, of course. “To achieve ‘celebrity skin,’ first get rid of your facial hair by doing laser hair removal,” advises Saime Demirovic, the founder of GLO Spa NY. You can eliminate peach fuzz — or at least, 60 to 80% of it — with six sessions at $600 total.

From there, the recommended facials and peels are presumably endless and always evolving. Dr. Guanche’s latest off-label creation combines a microneedling tool with Botox and filler to “deliver tiny doses of neuromodulator and hyaluronic acid to the surface of the skin,” she says. “This is the models’ favorite.” And for good reason: The facial is essentially in-person airbrushing. Besides treating fine lines and plumping the face, the shallow “microdose” of Botox tightens pores. “You don’t squeeze out as much sweat and oil because the little muscles around your pores and oil glands ,” Dr. Guanche explained to journalists. It’s recommended to get the $500 procedure every four months.

And hey, if after 16 treatments and $17,000, you’re still not satisfied with your brand-new, albeit temporary, Instagram Face? There’s always Facetune.

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What is a nonsurgical facelift?

Plastic surgeons have been performing nonsurgical facelifts for years. As nonsurgical procedures become increasingly safe and effective, more men and women are taking notice. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that in 2017, over 15,700,000 minimally invasive procedures were performed in the United States. So, what exactly is a nonsurgical facelift? Let a board-certified plastic surgeon explain.

A nonsurgical facelift is a combination of minimally invasive and nonsurgical procedures, designed to rejuvenate and refresh the appearance. Compared with a surgical facelift, these techniques do not require large incisions, general anesthesia or overnight hospitalization. The noninvasive treatments get patients in and out of the doctor’s office quickly, with little post-op discomfort and minimal downtime. Even though you will not “go under the knife,” the anti-aging results from a nonsurgical facelift are still significant.

Pros of the nonsurgical facelift

  • Fast
  • Little discomfort
  • No general anesthesia
  • Economical
  • Temporarily try out a new look

Cons of the nonsurgical facelift

  • Moderate, less dramatic results
  • Treatments must be repeated
  • Costs can add up over months

The components of a nonsurgical facelift

Each nonsurgical facelift is custom-tailored to meet the individual’s unique needs. A variety of noninvasive techniques are available, addressing anything from fine lines, deep creases, lax skin, thinning lips, sunken cheeks, large pores, acne scarring and the loss of facial volume. Common components of a nonsurgical facelift include:

Dermal fillers are a cornerstone of nonsurgical facelifts. These smooth-gel injectibles immediately restore volume along the cheeks, temples, lips and under the eyes. Plumping sunken areas, dark shadows are eliminated, creating youthful vibrancy. Placed along the Nasolabial Folds or Marionette Lines, fillers can create definition and smooth tissues for a wrinkle-free look. Dermal fillers can be made from several products, including moisture-rich Hyaluronic Acid (HA). Their plumping and smoothing properties can last from six months to over a full year.

An important piece of the nonsurgical facelift puzzle, Botox offers unmatched wrinkle reduction. Often used to smooth forehead creases, frown lines and crow’s feet, Botox works on any dynamic wrinkle. Temporarily relaxing the targeted muscle, Botox smooths lines associated with repetitive expressions. Although Botox does not provide immediate wrinkle relief, patients will see results in one to two weeks. Benefits of Botox can last three months.

Fat injections

Fat injections are a semi-invasive procedure, using fatty tissue extracted through liposuction on a different area of the body. These fat cells are cleaned and processed, then reinjected into the face to enhance facial volume. The living fat cells will integrate with the existing tissues, offering youthful contours that will last for years to come.

Needleless treatments

Several components of a nonsurgical facelift work to create a glowing complexion while skipping the needle altogether. Modern-day chemical peels are a trusted, noninvasive technique, shrinking large pores and improving overall skin quality. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion resurface and exfoliate the skin, ridding dry and damaged tissue. Fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are reduced as fresher skin comes to the surface. Laser and ultrasound treatments, such as Ultherapy and ThermiTight, use concentrated energy to address the deepest, foundational layers of the skin. Over the months to come, tissues become firmer and tauter.

Nonsurgical facelift maintenance

Noninvasive treatments need to be repeated every few months to maintain optimal results. Note that the more diligent you are about maintaining these nonsurgical treatments, over time, the less you may need. After a Botox session, as the skin and muscles are relaxed, expression lines will not worsen, meaning less product can provide similar results in the future. Additionally, the HA in dermal fillers will increase the body’s collagen production, creating a sturdy scaffolding layer beneath the skin. Wrinkles are not as deep, so later on, fewer syringes of fillers may be needed.

No matter the treatment, the aging process will continue. Working with a board-certified plastic surgeon means that each nonsurgical facelift can be custom-tailored for your skin’s evolving needs. Eventually, if the noninvasive techniques can no longer achieve the desired results, a surgical procedure can be considered.

It all starts with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon

If a nonsurgical facelift is of interest to you, speak with a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS can help you find an experienced plastic surgeon in your area. Do your homework. With a qualified team, a nonsurgical facelift can quickly take years off your appearance and no one will ever know you had anything done.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

What’s new in skincare

Skincare is advancing with tremendous rapidity in a technology-rich environment. It is interesting to observe how much current medical discovery fuels ingenuity in the skincare market. Several important trends can be observed that are worth the attention of the dermatologist. These trends include the introduction of biologics and modulation of the microbiome. I will discuss the controversial issues regarding each of these topics.

NEW: Cosmetic technology advances

Biologics in skincare
Biologics are certainly the newest category of medicines with tremendous patient benefit in dermatology. Injectable biologics have revolutionized the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. PASI 100 drugs are a reality, when only a decade ago 50% clearance was considered a success. This same concept of using biologically derived materials to improve skin appearance has reached skincare in the form of platelet rich plasma (PRP). Here, 50ml of blood with 5ml of anticoagulant are drawn from the patient and centrifuged twice, discarding the red blood cells and serum to achieve a concentrate of platelets. These platelets can then be injected or put into a moisturizer to harness the purported regenerative properties of PRP.

The whole concept of using self-derived biologic materials in skincare is launching the world of personalized moisturizers. There is some regulatory concern about the safety of using such materials, but the technology to produce biologics in skincare is becoming easier to use and less expensive. Whether PRP should be regulated as a biologic is not clear, but the concept of personalized skincare is enticing.

RELATED: Quality skincare on a budget

Modulation of the microbiome
The buzzword of the moment at cosmetic chemistry and skincare industry meetings is the microbiome. The microbiome consists of a layer of living organisms, mainly bacteria, fungus and yeast, which coat the skin surface. Microbiome issues are perfect for skincare consideration because the organisms coat the stratum corneum, which is nonliving, fitting within the purview of cosmetics.

Several concepts are being explored in the industry. One concept is the new claim that products “do not disturb the microbiome” or are “microbiome friendly.” These claims are appearing on everything from moisturizers to facial serums and colored cosmetics. These claims are easy to substantiate by collecting skin swabs before and after product application, noting there is no change in the microbial constituents.



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This treatment uses a highly pressurized jet to deep clean and exfoliate the skin without drying or causing any inflammation. Great for controlling acne and frequent breakouts. Its ice cold purified water cools and calms the skin during the treatment.
This customized treatment is for all skin types and conditions and can treat blemishes, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, rosacea and sensitive skins types. All of the facials include a 3-step cleanse, a form of mechanical and manual exfoliation, extractions if required, vitamin infusion using sound waves and galvanic currents. During the treatment, you will experience sound waves introduced through a painless probe across the skin whilst receiving LED light therapy. This is one of the most effective combined treatments of today using all three technologies for enhancing the penetration of high doses of vitamins into the skin and actively enriching the skin’s natural moisturizing factor. it repairs dull, pigmented dehydrated skin.
And firms and contours the skin by reducing edema with cooling temperatures. This facial contains Diatomaceous Earth, and Algae to help tighten the pores and minimize acne scars.
80 Minutes / $125
4. Age Smart Age-Reversing Facial
Are your signs of aging becoming more prevalent? Give your skin a revitalizing power boost with this treatment designed to help firm, smooth, nourish, regenerate and energize while controlling the biochemical triggers that lead to skin aging. Potent vitamin and fruits enzymes exfoliation resurfaces and restructures the skin while energizing massage techniques release tension in the facial muscles, therefore softening lines around the eyes and mouth.
This customized treatment is for all skin types and conditions and can treat blemishes, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, rosacea and sensitive skins types. All of the facials include a 3-step cleanse, a form of mechanical and manual exfoliation, extractions if required, vitamin infusion using sound waves and galvanic currents. During the treatment, you will experience sound waves introduced through a painless probe across the skin whilst receiving LED light therapy. This is one of the most effective combined treatments of today using all three technologies for enhancing the penetration of high doses of vitamins into the skin and actively enriching the skin’s natural moisturizing factor and repairs dull, pigmented dehydrated skin. The lift and sculpt massage is followed by a high dose of hydratings agents. To finish the facial a custom-made mask is applied with a blast of oxygen to finish. so that you feel as though you’ve had a mini facelift.
80 Minutes/ $125
5. Back Treatment
Radiant skin on the back and shoulders is an absolute necessity for those times when the back and shoulders are visible. Our back treatment involves deep pore cleansing and steaming to lift impurities, followed by gentle extraction, a relaxing massage and a specialized treatment mask.
60 Minutes/ $100

Extended Treatments
For extra attention to your skincare needs, add on a highly advanced treatment Facial:
The Microcurrent Lift Facial
This non surgical treatment uses micro-current to lift and sculpt the face with a dose of LED light Therapy. Al 43 major muscles are tightened so the face looks reawekened and lifted. A series of 10 recommmended weekly for long lasting results.
The Thermal Radio Frequency Facial
This treatement uses Radio Frequency to tighten and stimulate collagen , reduce fine lines/wrikles. firm sculpt and rejuvenate the skin. This treatment is non-invasive and a gentle, less aggressive solution to lasers for anti-aging management.
6. Glycolic Peel
This is an all-natural, rapid exfoliating treatment that stimulates cellular turnover to help you regain a healthy, smooth and even complexion. Glycolic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid derived from fruit acids that works to loosen the bond that holds dead skin cells together, allowing them to slough off bringing new skin cells to the surface of the skin. Regular glycolic treatments will result in minimizing pore congestion and blackheads, minimizing discoloration from old acne and sun exposure as well as softening the look of fine lines and dull skin. For maximum benefits this treatment is recommended as an add-on to a facial.
7. Vitamin C Peel
An anti-aging facial customized for all skin. Vitamin C and natural botanical extracts deeply penetrate to nourish your skin, brightening skin tone while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C plus natural botanical enzymes rich in anti-oxidants all help to regenerate natural skin cell growth.
8. Lactic Acid Peel
Recommended for dry, sun-damaged or pigmented skin.
Lactic is a milk based ingredient great for hydrating and exfoliating the skin in a gentle manner. It’s softening and lightening properties improve overall skin tone and the appearance of wrinkles.
Package Discount
The peels can be purchased as a package for maximum benefit and savings.
Series of 3 Peels: regularly $300 – Introductory Special $260

9. Diamond tip Microdermabrasion with Hydrating Mask
This treatment is appropriate for most all skin types because it is non-invasive, and it effectively reduces and eliminates wrinkles, acne, age spots, stretch marks, and more.
How Diamond Microdermabrasion Works:
The diamond tips together with the strong suction make it possible to exfoliate the skin more thoroughly than other procedures. With the flexibility of using different suction levels, it also increases blood flow to the skin, which in turn helps produce more collagen. If you’re looking for fast, reliable treatment for skin issues like wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, uneven skin tone, and stretch marks, you should consider getting this procedure.
Package Discount
The Microdermabrasion can be purchased as a package for maximum benefit and savings.
Series of 3 Microdermabrasions with Mask: regularly $375- Introductory Special $299
Half Leg (Upper or Lower)
: $125
Half Arm (Upper or Lower)
: $100
Spot Treatment Leg or Arm: 
price upon request.
: $100

New Non-Surgical Beauty Treatments That Work Magic On Your Face and Body

Photo: hedgehog94/

If You Want to… Improve Your Skin Tone

The best new treatment: lasers

Let’s say you have a little acne, along with some dark spots. Maybe melasma or psoriasis too. Plus, you’d love firmer skin. Rather than treat each separately, tackle them all at once with the new Aerolase Neo (a 1064 nm Nd: YAG laser). “It targets the color red, the color brown, and water in the deep layers of your skin, so it zaps red acne and brown spots, and it promotes collagen production, which tightens and smooths skin,” says dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D. While older Nd:YAG lasers were similarly multipurpose, this new version has a short pulse, meaning that the laser zaps on and off incredibly quickly. “This makes it less painful and leaves skin pink rather than red and peeling,” Dr. Wexler explains. Expect three to four treatments at $700 to $1,750 each.

However, if you have just one issue, you’ll want a specialty laser.

For brown spots, that ‘s the PiQo4, which, just like the Aerolase, makes quick pulses but in picoseconds, which are one-trillionth of a second. This can truly reduce your sun damage, says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D., a member of the Shape Brain Trust, but it takes up to five sessions spaced a few weeks apart. “Many patients with melasma and hyperpigmentation want perfect skin in one session, but that would damage it-a slow and steady approach is better,” Dr. Marmur says. Price per session: $150 for a single spot to $1,500 for a full face.

For redness, dermatologist Jeremy Brauer, M.D., turns to the Vbeam, the gold standard for treating rosacea, port-wine stains, and red scars. “This pulsed-dye laser treats large areas efficiently and effectively,” he says. Expect three to four sessions starting at $300 each. (Related: How to Even Out Your Skin Tone with Laser Treatments and Peels)

If You Want to… Stimulate Repair and Growth

The best new treatment: Microneedling + platelet-rich plasma

You may have heard of-or even tried-microneedling: a treatment performed with a device called a micropen, which has multiple needles and is stamped or rolled on your face. It creates controlled wounds that rev the body’s collagen production in an effort to heal.

What’s new is coupling it with a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. “This combination is bringing shorter downtimes and better outcomes, especially for patients with texture inconsistencies, like acne scars,” says cosmetic surgeon Sachin Shridharani, M.D. Your doctor spins 24 cc of your blood in a centrifuge. This separates the growth-factor-rich plasma, which is applied before and after microneedling. “The microneedling helps activate the growth factors in the plasma, which reduces healing time to a couple of days,” says dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, M.D. PRP can be combined with other procedures, like hair restoration, to boost efficacy, and with laser and filler injections to cut healing time. Price starts at $1,500. (FYI: You shouldn’t try microneedling if you have certain skin conditions.)

If You Want to… Target Your Body Too

The best new treatment: BTL EMSCULPT

This new FDA-approved body-contouring technology uses high-frequency electromagnetic energy to contract your muscles and burn fat. In a 30-minute session, your muscles will do the equivalent of 20,000 crunches or 20,000 squats, says dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, M.D. Each time the machine pulses, your muscles contract.

“My patients describe it as an intense workout without the sweat,” Dr. Engelman says, adding that some of them use the treatments to help with diastasis recti-a condition in which the abdominal muscles have separated because of pregnancy. Studies have shown an 11 percent decrease in diastasis recti and a 23 percent fat reduction over a six-month period, adds plastic surgeon Barry DiBernardo, M.D. He suggests four sessions in two weeks and two maintenance sessions every few months. Cost: up to $1,000 per session.

Add Volume to Your Face

The best new treatment: fillers

You can inject a biostimulatory filler to increase the body’s collagen production rather than use a replacement filler to, say, instantly triple the size of the cheekbones. That new thinking is leading to remarkably natural and long-term results, says plastic surgeon Z. Paul Lorenc, M.D. Sculptra Aesthetic (starts at $1,000), poly-L lactic acid beads often injected into cheeks, smile lines, and temples, dissolves in months but stimulates collagen so well that areas stay voluminous for up to three years. Bella ll (starts at $800), approved for smile lines and acne scars, uses polymethyl methacrylate microspheres to promote and support collagen, with effects lasting up to five years.

There are also new techniques: Dr. Wexler performs microinjections in the lines around the mouth and crow’s-feet with Belotero Balance (around $1,000), a structural filler that she says “pushes on the skin cell’s fibroblasts to create collagen.” Dr. Shridharani likes to do microdroplet injections in the forehead and cheeks and around the mouth with Juvéderm Volbella XC (starts at $950), a hyaluronic acid filler that locks water near the top of the dermis to give skin a dewy, believably youthful quality. (Related: I Got Lip Injections and It Made Me Take a Kinder Look In the Mirror)

  • By By Kate Sandoval Box

Best Rated Cosmetic & Medical Dermatologists in New York City – Over 300+ 5 star reviews!

Providers of modern medical and cosmetic dermatology in NYC

Dr. Arash Akhavan has been rated by Castle Connolly as one of the best dermatologists in NYC in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Our promise to each patient, is to deliver the most effective solution to their skin care needs with utmost care and comfort. We always put our patients’ needs first, and go above and beyond to ensure they get the results they envision. We have hundreds of 5-star reviews on Google. Give us a call at (212) 444-8204 for any questions you have.

Botox, Dermal Fillers, and Lip Augmentation

Look and feel better than ever before with our confidence-boosting facial & lip fillers, and Botox injections. We don’t go overboard with our treatment to ensure a natural appearance. Patients can feel secure knowing a board certified dermatologist is overseeing their treatment.

Trusculpt iD Non-surgical Fat Removal

Trusculpt iD, a non-invasive body contouring procedure is an ideal non-invasive solution for those with stubborn fat that won’t come off no matter how hard you diet & exercise. Contact us through our website or at (212) 444-8204 for a consultation to determine if it’s right for you.

Ultherapy Non-surgical Face & Body lift

Our Ultherapy procedure is a non-surgical solution for skin tightening and toning around the face, arms, abdomen, and elsewhere on the body. The secret is in its FDA-approved Ultrasound technology. Our Ultherapy patients are very satisfied with the results.

Laser Tattoo Removal

Removing unwanted tattoos is possible through breakthrough PicoSure laser technology. Contact us at (212) 444-8204 to book a consultation.

HydraFacial and PhotoFacial

Give your face the exfoliation & rejuvenation it deserves! Our facials help with minimizing the appearance of blemishes, scars, etc.

How you can visit the top dermatologist in New York

The Dermatology and Laser Group, 200 West 57th Street #510, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Mon – Fri 9AM to 7PM
(212) 444-8204

We’re located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan

The Dermatology and Laser Group is located on the intersection of W 57th Street and 7th Ave, just minutes away from Central Park South. Our office is nearby many of New York City’s most popular attractions, including The Plaza Hotel, The Museum of Modern Art, Trump Tower, and Radio City Music Hall. To the West is Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood in Manhattan known for its flourishing restaurant and night club scene. Although our premise in Manhattan, we see patients from all five boroughs in New York – Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, and all around the world!

Driving Directions

Our office is conveniently accessible through public transportation. You can take the F train to 57th St, and then walk towards 7th Avenue. Another option is take the B, D, or E train to the 7th Ave stop, and then walk up from W 54th St to W 57th St. With the N, R, and W, you can also get off at the 5th Ave subway station, and walk along W 59th St until you reach 57th St, and then make a left and walk down to 7th Ave. You may also hop on the MTA busses BxM2, M7, M31, M57, X12, X14, X30, and X42. There are many ways to visit us; for additional help with directions, feel free to give us a call.

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