January 29, 2019

These beauty treatments make little tweaks that reap big results. Here’s how to look fabulous without looking like you had major work done.

In the year leading up to my wedding, my skin prep was so militant, I left no pore unpurged and no wrinkle unfilled. Friends said I had the glow of a woman in love. At a business meeting, I was told I looked “dewy.” Not to take anything away from my husband, but my newfound luminosity had less to do with the chemical cascade released by our looming nuptials and more with the chemical blend in the peels I had added to my anti-aging arsenal. When I look through my wedding album, I may just be the most “well-rested” person I’ve ever seen. Little do people know what was involved.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one obsessed with tweakments. Take one look at social media and you’ll realize it’s one of the dominant trends in skin aesthetics and plastic surgery. Best described as non-surgical or minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, the goal is less-noticeable, subtle improvements that make it hard to figure out if someone is just taking better care of themselves, or making regular dates with their dermatologist. “My goal is to never have anyone know a patient has had a treatment,” says New York dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD. “They should simply look rested, refreshed and confident. We want people to guess if they maybe got a haircut or lost 5 pounds, but never be able to pinpoint a cosmetic treatment from me.”

So, what exactly are the most in-demand tweakments? Some of them are no-brainers, others may surprise you, and all of them can be done on your lunch break.


“I tell my patients to think of Sculptra® as their facial rejuvenation 401k,” says Philadelphia-based plastic surgeon Jason Bloom, MD. “The results aren’t immediate, but gradually improve over months and last for over two years.” Yes, that means you can expect Sculptra to help grow collagen for about 24 months.

Sculptra® Aesthetic is an injectable that helps gradually replace lost collagen — an underlying cause of facial aging. Unlike a hyaluronic acid dermal filler, you probably won’t see volume after the injection. Instead this non-invasive procedure helps the body grow its own collagen to correct shallow to deep facial wrinkles and folds.

“It’s perfect for on-air personalities and models who don’t want to look overfilled,” says Dr. Bloom. “This is less like facial fillers and more like a collagen fertilizer—perfect for someone who wants that youthful plumpness in their face but doesn’t want to look different from one day to the next.” It’s best used to add volume to areas like the cheeks and hollows of the face, but not around the eyes or mouth.


This one’s a no-brainer, but the big difference with this cosmetic tweakment is that patients aren’t asking for motionless, expressionless faces anymore. “No one, not even an 18 year old, has a frozen forehead. We want to soften the lines using Botox®, but not totally erase them; it almost always warrants the best overall look for them,” explains Dr. Karcher.


There’s one aging dilemma that’s just as frustrating in our twenties as it is in our seventies—the depletion of our undereye fat pads. “It’s the first place to go in terms of fat loss, regardless of who you are,” says Dr. Bloom. As the fat pads in the lower eye dwindle in volume, the result is a sunken, perpetually exhausted look and dark circles. Once upon a time, the only solution was through cosmetic surgery. But in the land of tweakments, the go-to choice is now injectable dermal filler – usually hyaluronic acid.

“One syringe can be all it takes to erase years from your undereyes,” says Dr. Karcher. “It’s a subtle, nearly undetectable treatment that really helps rid you of that ‘always tired’ face.” Results typically last around 6 months.


Gone are the days when you need to spend a week hiding out at home in the name of dramatic skin rejuvenation. “Now you don’t need a big Fraxel® laser with downtime to see a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and large pores,” says Dr. Bloom. “The Clear + Brilliant® laser is a low-level Fraxel® — it’s like aerating the skin. If you make fine tiny holes, not only are you treating the same problems without the downtime, but you’re allowing the products you apply to penetrate deeper and make a bigger difference in how they affect your skin and the results you’ll see.” Treatments are recommended every 2 weeks for a series of four.

Dr. Karcher’s favorite is the Laser Genesis®, because there’s no downtime and “it helps shrink pores and promotes glowy skin. Our models and influencers love that one for red carpet events.” The non-invasive laser treatment is designed to target fine lines, acne scars, large pores, and uneven skin tone by heating the upper dermis, which accelerates collagen regrowth. The non-ablative Nd:YAG laser uses heat to penetrate deep enough into the skin to stimulate the natural production of collagen, which shrinks pores, evens skin tones, and increases the speed of cell turn over. It also kills bacteria on and under the skin, preventing future acne outbreaks. Bonus: The entire treatment takes just 30 minutes, but you’ll need at least three treatments, spaced four weeks apart.

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