We all hunger for that pore-less, line-less complexion -- the kind some actresses have, often courtesy of a needle. You want in? Here, peruse the ultimate at-a-glance guide to minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, compiled with help from experts in the field of dermatology.
We consulted dermatologists Dr. Ranella Hirsch, vice president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, and Dr. Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. Procedures listed here have proven track records and little or no downtime.
Mary Rose Almasi
/content/package/ch_skin_treat/ Botox What It Does Tiny amounts of purified botulism toxin injected into the face temporarily paralyze muscles and make wrinkles disappear. What It's Best for Crow ’s feet, frown lines and forehead lines How Many Sessions You'll Need One session lasts three to six months. Pain Recovery You ’ll feel needle pricks, but numbing cream and ice minimize pain. Downtime is minimal and results begin to show within five days. Average Cost $ 400 per facial zone (i.e. forehead lines, crow's feet, etc.) Microdermabrasion What It Does Fine smooth grains are drawn across skin and vacuumed with a hand-held suction tube to exfoliate the outer layer of skin. What It's Best for Dull, dry skin; uneven texture; and fine lines
How Many Sessions You'll Need The results from three to six sessions will last one to two weeks. Pain Recovery It feels like a grainy face scrub. Skin is light pink for at least several hours afterward. Average Cost $ 95 to $ 150 per session Light Chemical Peel What It Does Lactic, glycolic or salicylic acid solution is swiped across your face to exfoliate the skin ’s outer layer. What It's Best for Dull, dry skin; fine lines; roughness; minor spots and freckles; large clogged pores; and occasionally, inflammatory acne How Many Sessions You'll Need The results from six sessions will last about six months. Pain Recovery A mild stinging sensation (or worse) depending on your sensitivity. Skin is light pink for a few hours after the procedure. Average Cost $ 150 per peel TCA or "medium" peel What It Does Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or stronger light chemical peel acids penetrate the skin ’s lower layer for more dramatic improvements. What It's Best for Deeper lines and wrinkles as well as uneven texture or color How Many Sessions You'll Need One session will last six months to a year. Pain Recovery The standard burning sensation is treated with topical anesthetic and a light sedative like Valium. Skin is very red and raw after the procedure and will peel and flake for one to two weeks. Many opt not to go in public for the first four or five days. Average Cost $ 800 to $ 1,000 for the full face Filler: Fat What It Does Fat from your body is injected into skin to plump fine lines and sunken or flat features. What It's Best for Deep wrinkles, fine lines, indented scars, hollow or sunken under-eye areas and contouring facial features How Many Sessions You'll Need One session will last three to six months. Pain Recovery Slight pain from the injection can be numbed with topical cream. Bruising and swelling are standard after the procedure. Average Cost $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 (includes fat removal, which can be frozen for future use). Expect to pay about $ 800 for touch-ups. Filler: Collagen What It Does Collagen, a natural plumping fiber taken from human or cow skin, is sterilized and processed into a liquid, then injected into skin to correct lines and indentations. What It's Best for Deep wrinkles, frown lines, crow's feet, thin lips and indented scars How Many Sessions You'll Need One session will last four to six months. Pain Recovery Slight pain from the injection can be numbed with topical cream. Bruising and slight swelling is possible afterward. Average Cost $ 300 to $ 1,000 per zone. Price depends on quantity of collagen used. Filler: Hyaluronic Acid What It Does Gel filler, man-made or derived from rooster combs, is injected into skin to plump indentations. (Examples: Hylaform, Restylane, Juvederm, Perlane) What It's Best for Deep wrinkles, frown lines, crow's feet, indented scars, thin lips, hollow under-eye areas and contouring facial features How Many Sessions You'll Need One session lasts six months to a year. Pain Recovery Slight pain from the injection can be numbed with topical cream. Bruising possible; swelling is common for 24-48 hours afterward. Average Cost $ 600 to $ 800 Filler: Microbead Solutions What It Does Tiny spheres suspended in gel are injected in skin to smooth and fill deep lines. The spheres can stimulate new collagen growth. Fillers like Radiesse are semi-permanent and dissolve over time. ArteFill (aka Artecoll outside the U.S.) is permanent. What It's Best for Deep smile lines around mouth and nose; indented scars and sunken cheeks. Not recommended for shallow, fine lines around the eyes. Artefill is generally used for nose and mouth lines only. How Many Sessions You'll Need One session lasts one to two years or, for ArteFill/Artecoll, remains permanent. Pain Recovery Substantial pain from injection. Topical numbing cream can help or the doctor may inject a nerve block. Bruising and swelling possible for 24-48 hours after. Average Cost $ 1,000 or more Non-Ablative Lasers What It Does Light energy is beamed into the lower layer of skin to stimulate collagen production, which plumps wrinkles and sunken spots, like pockmarks, acne scars and hollow eye areas. (Examples: Cool Touch, ClearLight and Semi-Ablative Fraxel) What It's Best for Rough texture, fine lines, deep wrinkles, scars and freckles How Many Sessions You'll Need Four to six sessions produce permanent results, although new texture or discoloration issues may develop. Pain Recovery Expect a tiny sting as light is pulsed onto skin. Numbing cream can help. Your skin will look slightly pink or bronze a week or more after the procedure. Average Cost $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) What It Does A laser emits light wave energy into skin that destroys excess pigment. IPL/photo facials are less intense and considered less effective than “true” lasers. What It's Best for Sun damage, redness, broken blood vessels and brown discoloration, including freckles How Many Sessions You'll Need Three to six sessions will last six months to a year. Pain Recovery A slight sting. No downtime, but expect pinkness for a few hours after the procedure. For very dark freckles, there may be some crusting and scabbing; ask ahead. Average Cost $ 350 to $ 2,000 per treatment Radio Frequency (Thermage) What It Does Radio-frequency energy penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten skin. It can treat large areas or smaller zones, including around the eyes. What It's Best for Loose, saggy skin How Many Sessions You'll Need One to three sessions will show benefits gradually over six months, with results lasting up to a year. Pain Recovery A brief, hot sensation during procedure can be painful. Treated area is pink for one to two hours after the procedure. Average Cost $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 per treatment Subject Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message