7 High-Tech Anti-Aging Treatments
Getty ImagesSorry, Ponce de León, we still haven't discovered the Fountain of Youth. But doctors think we're getting pretty close. "You can compare the progress in anti-aging treatments to going from using a landline to a smartphone: Procedures are faster and more effective, and the results are incredible," says Dennis Gross, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Many of us are taking advantage: The number of people getting botulinum toxin (aka Botox and Dysport) injections alone has skyrocketed by more than 700 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Of course, Botox isn't the only thing doing the trick—or prick. The latest in-office and at-home treatments deliver stronger results than ever. Father Time doesn't stand a chance.
Lines and Wrinkles
Doc Fix: Considered a major breakthrough, Belotero is a filler that's typically used on crow's-feet and fine lines on the forehead, above the upper lip and on cheeks. Unlike other injectables, which can lump, Belotero spreads evenly between collagen fibers and molds to your unique facial contours so you get a smooth result. "My patients rave that they look younger but still like themselves," says Karen Kim, MD, a dermatologist in Chestnut Hill, Mass. And because Belotero dissolves slowly, it lasts longer than other fillers—six months or more. The average cost for a treatment is $500.
DIY: Opt for products with smoothing ingredients to iron out lines. BioBliss Anti-Wrinkle patches ($80 for 4; biobliss.com) use microcurrent technology to infuse hyaluronic acid—the ingredient that powers professional fillers—and peptides deeper into skin.
Doc Fix: Some derms are turning to low-level laser devices as a gentler way to break up pigment and lift away spots without causing trauma that can exacerbate the problem. One example: the Clear + Brilliant Perméa laser, which replaces damaged skin with healthy tissue and boosts collagen. Skin looks radiant after each $250 treatment, but count on four visits to remove spots. "I was amazed at how effectively this new method improves tone and texture without the downtime," says Kristel Polder, MD, a dermatologist in Dallas.
DIY: Look for a mix of gentle acids to resurface and erase uneven pigmentation. Stronger than your typical over-the-counter exfoliator but cheaper than a visit to your derm: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Medi-Spa peel ($110 for 16 treatments; qvc.com contains 15 powerful acids.
Doc Fix: When you were a teenager, you might not have been a fan of having a round face. But now you'd prefer those plump cheeks to slim ones, caused by diminishing fat pads. What helps: Juvéderm Voluma, the first hyaluronic acid filler to receive FDA approval for use on the midface. The injectable props up fat pads beneath the skin for up to two years. (The price tag is around $1,000 per syringe; a treatment may involve several.) Bonus: "Once the cheek is lifted, other wrinkles, such as the lines around the mouth, will look less prominent," Dr. Polder explains.
DIY: Scan shelves for products containing hyaluronic acid. Try Perricone MD Hyalo Plasma ($135; perriconemd.com), which contains three different forms of the acid to plump skin and make it look smoother and suppler.
Doc Fix: With each year, darkness under the eyes may seem a little more pronounced. (Sigh.) It's because skin in the area thins and becomes more translucent with age, making the purple hues of the blood vessels beneath more visible. Less shut-eye can also slow circulation and cause blood to pool. With Restylane, a hyaluronic acid filler, docs can lift the skin off the blood vessels, so there's an immediate brightening effect. "This new technique has saved a lot of people from having plastic surgery," Dr. Gross says. For best results, you'll need one treatment (about $800) every six to nine months.
DIY: Grab a product that plumps skin and counteracts shadows. Dr. Brandt Dark Circles Away collagen eye serum ($55; drbrandtskincare.com) has a massage ball that boosts circulation, plus skin-strengthening amino acids and bright-ening plant extracts.
Doc Fix: "Time and time again I see women whose faces look young but whose necks make them appear years older," Dr. Polder says. Procedures using radio-frequency technology, like Thermage, encourage production of new robust collagen so skin looks firmer. It's usually a onetime treatment that starts at around $2,500. Doctors are increasingly opting for Ultherapy, a procedure that sends ultrasound waves deep into skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten the connective tissue. It's pricey (most people need more than one treatment, at an average of $3,000 each) and a little painful, but results last for years.
DIY: Save your neck with firming products such as StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening neck cream ($95; strivectin.com), which has a cocktail of peptides and a proprietary complex called NIA-114 to temporarily lift skin and make it more taut.
Doc Fix: Having to deal with pimples and wrinkles is so not fair, yet 26 percent of women in their 30s battle breakouts, according to research in the Journal of Women's Health. One zit-busting advance: the Smoothbeam laser, recently FDA-approved for acne. A gentle burst of light selectively targets oil glands, heating them and altering their structure to stunt the production of blemishes. You'll need several sessions at about $500 each to end a breakout cycle.
DIY: Choose treatments that contain both salicylic acid and skin soothers, such as Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Retexturizing foaming treatment ($32; paulas choice.com); it has a potent 4 percent salicylic acid content to unclog pores, as well as green tea and licorice to ease inflammation.
Get It At A Medi-Spa?
Despite the name, only a few medi-spas have MDs performing procedures. Here's what's safe to go for—and what's too risky.
Safe Bets: Mild chemical peels; Facials; Dermabrasion; LED treatments
Risks: Injectables; Lasers; Ultrasound therapy
Outsmart 3 Sneaky Agers
Air pollution: Smog accelerates hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, per research from Germany. Load up on antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to fight age-inducing free radicals.
Too much sugar: Overdoing it on sweets activates enzymes that literally eat healthy collagen, explains Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Cut back!
Your beloved smartphone: Held close to cheeks, it can rev melanin production and worsen brown spots, says Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City derm. Wear headphones.