When Venus Williams told us her favorite in-office treatment is a full-body chemical peel, our ears perked up. After Kim Kardashian confessed that radio-frequency microneedling gave her a tighter stomach, we took out our pens and paper. When countless body creams suddenly included retinol in their formulations, we said it’s not a coincidence. As we’re learning, our bodies can benefit from the same modern anti-aging treatments that work above the neck. Here, we explore head-to-toe treatments that deliver smoother, more even-looking skin.
Solutions for glowy skin from limb to limb.
01 Active Ingredients
“The skin on our bodies is much thicker than the skin on our faces,” explains West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth R. Beer, MD. “There’s a big range of variability in thickness. For instance, the backs of your hands are three skin cells thick, while your elbows are 15 cells thick.” The ingredients we use to improve our facial skin also work from the neck down. Dr. Beer says to moisturize the décolleté, neck, hands, arms and legs with lotions that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide. And to encourage cell turnover, choose formulas with retinol and vitamin C, as well as glycolic, mandelic and salicylic acids.
02 Chemical Peels
“I always tell people who have a lot of photodamage that if you’re only concentrating on your face, it’s never going to blend in with the aging occurring on the rest of your body,” says Studio City, CA dermatologist Dr. Jacquiline Habashy Hakim. “We commonly do chemical peels on the chest and hands to match what we’re doing on the face.” To smooth stretch marks, treat body acne, diminish pigmentation, and fade scars, Houston plastic surgeon Olga Bachilo, MD utilizes the professional VI Peel Body, which is safe for all skin types. “We also formulate medium-strength in-office glycolic peels,” she adds. “You can peel away signs of damage to reveal softer, smoother skin underneath.”
03 Stretch-Mark Erasers
When it comes to “tiger stripes” across the stomach, butt, thighs, or anywhere skin has stretched, the approach depends on how fresh the marks are. Newer stretch marks that are still red should be treated ASAP for better results, says New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD: “The best time to treat them is early on when they are still active and red,” she explains. “The VBeam Prima pulsed dye laser reduces the red or pink marks without pain or numbing.” Miami dermatologist Alyx Rosen Aigen, MD says once those marks whiten, they can be treated using a hyperdiluted collagenstimulating filler like Sculptra or Radiesse to improve their overall appearance and results may vary.
04 LED Light
LED therapy has been available since the ‘60s, but has recently become an at-home essential face tool. They are useful for a variety of conditions, including acne, lines and wrinkles, psoriasis and more. “I have a full LED bed at my studio,” says Los Angeles aesthetician Shani Darden. “It has the same anti-aging benefits for the body as for the face, like minimizing lines and boosting collagen. It can also boost your immune system, so you look and feel amazing as well.”
These treatments go below the surface to polish, tighten and tone.
For a significant amount of skin damage, a resurfacing laser can work wonders. “Laser treatments can reduce the look of brown spots, red spots, fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Beer. “We most commonly treat the neck and chest with Fraxel or Clear + Brilliant, or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for the arms and hands.” Microscopic wounds created by the laser’s heat trigger the body to heal and stimulate new collagen, resulting in a tighter, smoother skin surface.
02 RF Microneedling
New collagen is the name of the game for thicker, stronger, firmer skin. Radio-frequency (RF) energy can reach multiple depths in a single pulse through microneedles that help remodel tissue. “This is good for acne scars, smoothing, tightening, stretch marks and cellulite—it has a myriad of benefits,” Dr. Bachilo says. “You can do it on the thighs, upper arms, abdomen, or wherever you have a small pocket of fat or texture issues.” Miami-based aesthetician Amy Peterson adds that she often uses Genius RF microneedling on the abdomen after fat reduction. “Along with a muscle-building, fat-melting treatment like Emsculpt NEO, it can help tighten skin on the stomach.”
03 Filler Fixes
New York plastic surgeon Elie Levine, MD says longer-lasting fillers can help achieve a fuller butt nonsurgically. By alternating between off-label Sculptra injections and an injectable adipose matrix called Renuva, he adds volume for those who want an alternative to a fat transfer. “Sculptra encourages the body to stimulate collagen, and results can last for more than a year,” he explains. Hyperdiluted filler, or filler that has been “thinned out” can also be used to temporarily plump crepey hands, smooth neck bands and fill in hip dips.
04 Cellulite Solutions
Cellulite treatments have come a long way. Dr. Levine typically addresses dimpling with radio-frequency assisted liposuction (RFAL) or subscision with Avéli, the latest minimally invasive cellulite procedure. “With Avéli we release fibrous bands that pull the skin,” he says. “It’s very precise because we can see beneath the skin with the device, so we’re able to cut the bands we need to and leave other areas alone.” Dr. Bachilo uses noninvasive Emtone. “It uses radio-frequency heat to tighten, and acoustic energy to release the bands with targeted pressure,” she says. Resonic, another nonsurgical smoothing option, also uses acoustic energy to temporarily reduce cellulite.
05 Scar Revision
For hypertrophic scars, Dr. Bachilo uses Venus Viva, a radio-frequency energy device that resurfaces skin without needles. “I use it on patients for tummy tuck scars, breast surgery scars and acne scars,” she says.
Body Products for Smoother Skin All Over
These efficacious formulations help moisturize, exfoliate and refine skin texture from top to bottom.
Help your arms and legs snap back with Dermelect Lipo- Conquer Body Toning Cream ($45), which delivers a tighter look and feel everywhere it’s needed.
MAËLYS B-Glossy Smoothing Body Serum ($59) targets laxity with a cocktail of anti-aging peptides that helps reduce the look of wrinkles and reveal firmerlooking skin.
Plant-based retinol takes the main stage in Oui the People ALL IN ALL Retinol Body Balm ($95), which is formulated to melt into areas like the hands, feet and décolleté.
Banish dull skin with the fast-absorbing, exfoliating Glytone Resurfacing Body Oil ($56), which uses 5- percent proactive glycolic acid to slough away dead skin cells.