8 Anti-Aging Fixes for Awards Season — Without Going Under the Knife

Kiki Ljung

New nonsurgical interventions for issues like fine lines and less-than-firm skin include gold-plated needles and machines to induce muscle contractions.

At a time when Instagram and HD are constant reminders and magnifiers of imperfections, even slight flaws can loom large. Rolling into awards season, beauty doctors and estheticians are at the ready with the latest knife-free solutions.

PROBLEM Flushing, sweating and excess shine on TV

FIX Microgold stamping and mesopuncture ($250-$2,000, depending on ingredients)

A gizmo fitted with gold-plated micro-needles injects customized ampules into the superficial epidermis. The serums can contain low levels of Botox, filler or vitamins, depending on the person's needs. "A lot of celebrities do it before they go on TV because adding Botox limits sweating and oil production, as well as decreasing the size of the blood vessels, making them less likely to dilate and redden your face," explains Beverly Hills dermatologist Jason Emer. New York dermatologist Anetta Reszko prefers to use slightly longer needles in mesopuncture treatments that penetrate more deeply. “These actually inject into the dermal layer where collagen synthesis occurs and [deliver] solutions of new-generation peptides and anti-inflammatory proteins that can improve elasticity and target specific skin conditions like depigmentation," she explains.

PROBLEM Fine lines on face

FIX Plasma pen ($1,800-$2,500)

"It's our fun new toy, and it's the biggest thing in a decade in my opinion," says nurse practitioner Christine Nell, a partner at the dermatological practice Ava MD Beverly Hills."I just had it done — I look pretty beat up right now, but in a few days I’ll look great!" The pen, which doesn't touch the body, incinerates air particles in front of the skin to pass heat into it. "It looks like an invisible blow torch," says Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeon Ben Talei. The furrow-eviscerating procedure creates small scabs that fall off in five to seven days, leaving the skin a little pink. It also can help correct lid laxity, opening the eye area.

PROBLEM Loose skin on the neck

FIX Injectable radio frequency ($4,200 for four treatments)

The newest radio frequency microneedling machines — which stimulate collagen, reduce pores and tighten skin — "are more powerful and increase collagen levels for years," maintains Talei. “They are the strongest and safest radio frequency treatments for the face and neck." It's not spa-style relaxing though: Lidocaine and nerve blockers are needed for pain. But, says New York-based plastic surgeon Lyle Leipziger, “Even face- and necklifts don’t address fine lines the way these machines do." 

PROBLEM Gravity's effects on the face

FIX Microcurrent gloves ($400-$700)

The beauty cognoscenti have long relied on microcurrents to lift facial muscles and add radiance. Shani Darden, who opened a skin-care studio in Beverly Hills this summer, is delivering the voltage through microcurrent gloves. “I can get my fingers in areas the regular wand won’t reach," she explains. Danuta Mieloch at NYC's Rescue Spa adds a multivitamin and growth factor cocktail to her treatment. Meanwhile, for the truly obsessed, NuFace, which makes a microcurrent device for home use, has introduced an extremely portable one called The Fix ($149) that’s about the size of a pen and promises to lift the eye or mouth area in three minutes.

PROBLEM Too-long recovery time

FIX Exosomes ($5,000-$7,500)

These nanoparticles, derived from human placenta (not for culture warriors or the faint of heart) and delivered on dry ice, are used to reduce downtime after lasers or surgery by stimulating growth factors. "It's very expensive, but my patients who go in front of the camera love it," says Emer. "In my experience, it speeds heeling by about 30 percent." The material must be injected or applied topically within two hours of arrival.

PROBLEM Jiggly arms

FIX EmSculpt ($2,500 for four sessions)

This treatment — which induces strong muscle contractions — caused a sensation last year because of how effectively it firms up abdomens and butts. A new device works on tough-to-tone arms. "It builds triceps and biceps," says NYC dermatologist Howard Sobel. "Skin will appear tighter around the muscles."

PROBLEM Receding hairlines and thinning hair

FIX Stem cell ($5,000 per treatment, three recommended) and PRP injections ($500 per treatment, 10 recommended)

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from one's own blood is being used to stimulate hair growth on the scalp, and now stem cells are being injected as well. “We have seen profound results after treatment with a customized blend of growth factors," says Paul Labrecque, who is using the technique at his New York and Palm Beach salons. New York plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono reports that stem cell therapy for early-stage hair loss can be an effective way to keep the hair you have and encourage regrowth. “The therapy extracts adult-derived stem cells from a patient’s fat and then delivers them into their scalp," he explains. “Because the fat is removed from the stem cells, the treatments do not make the scalp thick or bloated." To boost the results of these treatments, Nutrafol now makes a series of hair-growth supplements, while Revitalash has a convenient, purse-sized Volume Enhancing Foam ($175), that allows those who are particularly motivated to apply the stimulant at a moment’s notice.

PROBLEM Annoying wrinkles on the knees

FIX Radio frequency (RF) skin tighteners ($450 per session for TriPollar Pollogen; $4,000 for BodyTite)

Beverly Hills-based facial plastic surgeon and dermatologist Ronald Moy uses the TriPollar Pollogen radio-frequency device to make knees snugger as well as to deal with fine lines around the eyes. “I’ve seen a difference in just one treatment,’’ he says. For more drastic improvement, Talei likes BodyTite, which has a wand that actually penetrates the skin and is minimally invasive. “It can shrink skin by about 30 percent,’’ he observes, “but you have to be careful because it makes you lose fat and if someone is too skinny it can actually cause crepiness.’’

Sometimes, though, clients will want to go the route of surgery to attack problem areas. Now there are a pair of new approaches that offer more permanent solutions and recovery time that can be achieved over the course of a weekend. Below are two of plastic surgery’s gold-standard procedures that are being toned down to meet the demand for less-invasive treatments without weeks of downtime.

PROBLEM Drooping upper eyelids

FIX The T Lift ($15,000)  

When Meryl Streep visits a cosmetic doctor to ask about what she can do to fix her drooping upper lids in the Nancy Meyers film It’s Complicated’, he advises a brow lift, explaining that it requires an incision across her scalp and usually results in a headache that lasts about 6 months. She runs out of his office. Now there is a less barbaric way to fix a descending forehead. New York facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono performs a far less invasive alternative he calls the “T Lift’’. Two small endoscopic incisions are made in the hairline inches above the eyebrow arches and, there is a headache, but it lasts only a couple days, and recovery time is under a week. “There are two types of candidates for this,’’ says Dr. Jacono. “Those that are looking for a more permanent solution to Botox for the style and position of their brow, and those that have facial drooping that comes with age. It creates a more energetic and fresh eye and brow arch.’’ The operation also avoids two notorious pitfalls of a classic coronal brow lift. “It has a limited incision and will improve without creating a surprised look or altering the hairline,” says Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dennis Dass.

PROBLEM Sagging jawline and smile lines

FIX The C Lift ($7,500)  

New York plastic surgeon Robert Silich, who is known for his natural-looking enhancements, has introduced a mini facelift with a very small incision behind the ear about a third the size of a classic short-scar procedure. Though the effects last a couple of years instead of a decade, the procedure takes only about 30 minutes, costs less than half the price of a regular short-scar lift, and has so little downtown that you can arrive for surgery on a Friday morning and return to work on Monday. “This lifts the cheeks and re-suspends the mid face,” Silich explains. “It has almost no bruising and you can start exercising again in a couple of days.’’ Adds Dass: “It will improve jowling, nasal labial folds and the jawline. It’s a great alternative to a classic lift.”  

A version of this story first appeared in the 2019 Women in Entertainment Power 100 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.