12 Bizarre-Sounding Anti-Aging Treatments That Really Work
Many of us would do what we can to minimize aging. As odd as they may sound, these treatments are the ones dermatologists like best
Options you might not know about
Taking good care of your skin now is one of the best ways to ensure that it’s as healthy as possible in the future, too. If you’re already eating the anti-aging foods experts have every day and you’re aware of these anti-aging myths, you might want to consider trying one of these out-of-the-box anti-aging treatments, too. Although they sound bizarre, experts say they offer good results.
This technique gained notoriety from a 2013 Keeping Up With the Kardashians episode in which Kim gets an anti-aging treatment that leaves her face spotted with blood. The “vampire facial,” or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, utilizes the body’s own growth factors to regenerate tissue and promote collagen production. “During this procedure, blood is taken from the patient’s vein and placed in a specialized centrifuge,” says plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor, David Shafer, MD. “As the blood spins at a very fast speed, the components of the blood separate into serum, platelets, and red blood cells, and the PRP layer is isolated and used for various rejuvenating procedures.” While the PRP does not add volume, Dr. Shafer claims it can give local cells a healthy boost. Keep in mind that this may require a topical anesthetic because it’s done in conjunction with micro-needling, which can be painful. Kim Kardashian herself said she regretted having the procedure because she did it without numbing cream. (Here are more weird facials you never knew you could get. )
This anti-aging treatment might sound like something that would require work on the patient’s part—but it’s not like the gym for your body. Face Gym is a non-invasive muscle manipulation technique that is used to tone the muscles. All you do as the patient is lie down and relax as a technician uses combined skin rejuvenating techniques and products on your face. “While Face Gym is not a substitute for traditional facelift surgery or even dermal fillers to replace lost volume, it is a great maintenance program,” says Dr. Shafer. (Here are science-approved facial exercises can make you look years younger.)
Micro-needling, the method of pricking the skin with small needles to generate new collagen and skin tissue for firmer, smoother skin, has been gaining popularity over the last several years. Morpheus8 is a similar technique, although it’s a bit more extreme than basic micro-needling. “Morpheus8 uses radiofrequency energy to carefully and directly apply full thickness through the skin to the underlying fat space to not only tighten the skin but also the three-dimensional structure underneath,” explains Spero J. Theodorou, MD, a plastic surgeon in New York City. “The reason it is effective is the unique application of the energy and the reliance on the body itself to produce more collagen and elastin over time.” Read on for more benefits of micro-needling.
This skin-enhancing, anti-aging treatment is becoming more popular for its ability to constrict blood vessels, resulting in a reduction in inflammation, shrunken pores, and an overall tighter face. It uses liquid nitrogen, aka freezing cold temps, to reduce facial swelling and stimulate collagen, explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Although further research is necessary to totally prove its anti-aging abilities, Dr. Zeichner says, the results, although temporary, can be impressive. Learn more about cryotherapy.
Fractionated skin resurfacing, also known as Fraxel, is a non-invasive treatment that involves the use of controlled, microscopic injuries that cause tiny perforations in the treatment area while leaving zones of healthy surrounding tissue intact and untouched. Research has found it to be effective not only in skin rejuvenation, but also in treating acne as well as certain dermatological diseases. “The specific zones of injury trigger the patient’s natural neocollagenesis (collagen rebuilding process), which rejuvenates the skin and improves its appearance,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. “Improvements continue over time (up to six months post-procedure) as new collagen continues to rebuild.” Discover exactly how laser treatments work to resurface skin.
If you’re looking to brighten your skin tone and reduce symptoms of premature aging, facial acupuncture might be for you. In fact, one study found that facial acupuncture increased the water and oil content of facial skin, thus giving it a more youthful appearance. “Acupuncture stimulates the nerves increasing tone and blood flow to the face, which helps clear away toxins and bring essential nutrients to the superficial layers of the skin,” says Dr. Shafer. “Since the skin of the face is a highly metabolic area with constant turnover of skin cells, this elastic production, and removal of toxins from the environment is key.” Here’s how acupuncture changes your body.
This type of procedure is a more noninvasive facelift than the traditional facelift. One study found that it delivered satisfactory results in the majority of patients while proving to have few complications (only 6 percent of patients reviewed experienced complications). It involves the application of temporary sutures in the skin to produce a slight, but visible, lift in the skin. “Thread lifts are good for patients looking for a quick, non-invasive boost to their cheeks, improved definition to their jawline or lifting of their neck,” says Dr. Shafer. “Patients have to have guarded expectations, however, as the results are not comparable to a true surgical face or neck lift.” Here’s more about thread-lifts, including some before-and-after photos.
“While new technologies emerge for skin tightening and resurfacing, there is no alternative to neuromodulators (aka Botox) when it comes to reducing dynamic wrinkles which occur with movement,” says Dr. Shafer about the injectable neurotoxin that smoothes fine lines on the face. “The FDA-approved treatment areas are the glabella (the 11s between the eyebrows), the crow’s feet to the sides of the eyes with squinting and the transverse forehead lines.” If you’re considering trying this classic anti-aging treatment, here’s what you should know about Botox before you go.
While lasers and facials improve skin texture, there is no more effective treatment to adding volume than with dermal fillers such as Voluma, Juvederm, and Vollure, according to Dr. Shafer. One study found that the treatment of age-related lines and wrinkles using dermal fillers is both safe and effective, supporting Dr. Shafer’s opinion. “These products are made from hyaluronic acid which is naturally found within the skin and are highly biocompatible,” he says. “Where someone is looking for natural lip enhancement, smoothing of the lines around their mouth or lifting the cheeks, dermal fillers give an instant result at a low risk.” Speaking of anti-aging treatments, here are 20 ways dermatologists wake up with younger-looking skin.
This anti-aging treatment uses focused ultrasound technology to stimulate tightening of the deeper layers of the skin; in clinical studies, researchers have found that it can be effective. “Unlike lasers, which treat the surface of the skin, ultherapy directs the treatment under the skin with ultrasound guidance in three dimensions to help lift and sculpt the face,” says Dr. Shafer. “The treatments do take some time—one to two hours—and the results can take four to six weeks to appreciate, but there is little-to-no downtime as the surface of the skin is not affected.” It’s one of six new skin-tightening treatments that seem to work.
Hyaluronic acid injections
There is a new treatment in Europe that involves shallow injections of hyaluronic acid all over the face—about 100 injections in total, according to Dr. Engelman. “Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate naturally occurring throughout the body, but it makes an effective moisturizer because it can hold 1000 times its weight in water, meaning it does wonders in hydration,” she says. “By plumping the skin from within, overall texture and elasticity are improved for up to nine months.” Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient in many moisturizers. Here are 10 common moisturizer ingredients decoded.
This treatment recently became FDA-approved, making it the first filler for use on hands, which tend to be one of the more obvious areas of aging. “Having a young face and old hands can give away your age, which is why Restylane Lyft has become a very popular option among patients,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Injections can give long-lasting improvement to hide prominent veins and bones.” Got lip lines? Here’s what a dermatologist would do.
- David Shafer, MD, plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor
- Spero J. Theodorou, MD, plastic surgeon in New York City
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Nonablative Fractional Laser Resurfacing in Skin of Color: Evidence-based Review"
- Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study"
- Dermatology and Therapy: "Outcomes in Thread Lift for Facial Rejuvenation: a Study Performed with Happy Lift™ Revitalizing"
- ANZ Journal of Surgery: "A systematic review of dermal fillers for age-related lines and wrinkles."
- Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology: "Noninvasive skin tightening: focus on new ultrasound techniques"