How to Tackle 5 of Beauty’s Biggest Problems

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This article first appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

When faced with a cosmetic concern, finding the appropriate solution can be a guessing game. There are so many options today, so it can be confusing to know where to start or what to try next if something doesn’t work. These are the top treatments for hair, skin and body improvements, according to the experts.

Concern: Constant Breakouts

Do this first:

If stubborn acne is ruling your life, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. and affects up to 50 million Americans annually. It can be difficult to treat, but your first line of defense can be found in the skin-care products you’re using. According to Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD, ingredients to look for are “benzoyl peroxide, retinol or retinoids, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and bakuchiol.”

“Acne treatment is a juggling and balancing act, and sometimes it’s simply a matter of trial and error because of its unique but vast variability,” adds Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “And because acne affects 80 percent of Americans at some time in their lives, it is quite a ubiquitous dermatologic condition.”

Then try this:

When you’ve exhausted every acne-fighting ingredient on the market and the breakouts don’t end, Dr. Downie suggests making an appointment with a dermatologist ASAP. “Topical dapsone, prescription retinoids like Altreno, spironolactone, and antibiotics like clindamycin or erythromycin, can work very well for acne. If topicals don’t work, then I will prescribe oral antibiotics, or even oral Accutane.”

New FDA-approved topicals will be available soon, including Winlevi, a 1-percent clascoterone cream that Dr. Downie says is “non-drying,” and Twyneo, which combines benzoyl peroxide and a retinoid.

Concern: Wrinkles

Do this first:

For the onset of fine lines and wrinkles, Dr. Honet recommends the gold standard in anti-aging, a topical retinoid. “Prescription-strength retinoids like tretinoin or tazorotene are anti-aging powerhouses, effectively reversing sun damage, retexturizing skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production, reducing the depth of wrinkles, and improving laxity.”

Then try this:

Dr. Downie says that if you’re not doing more to stimulate collagen, you’re missing out. “The next step is radio-frequency microneedling or laser-resurfacing treatments like Fraxel and LaseMD that create microinjuries to help build collagen,” she explains. A new technology called ellacor was recently FDA cleared to treat wrinkles in the mid-to-lower face. Miami dermatologist Jill S. Waibel, MD says it works by “using hollow needles to remove micro-cores of excess skin.” Unlike microneedling, which only punctures the skin, ellacor removes skin on the micro-scale, improving its architecture. However, the technology is very new, so there is no current data on long term efficacy.

Dr. Waibel performed three ellacor microcoring treatments to tighten skin and reduce this 69-year-old patient’s deep lines.

Concern: Cellulite

Do this first:

To smooth dimples on the butt, thighs, arms, or abdomen, the winning equation includes losing body fat, firming the muscle under the skin, and increasing blood flow and circulation in the area. “We explain to patients that the best way to enhance circulation is through exercise and massaging,” Houston plastic surgeon Henry A. Mentz, MD says. “With a consistent diet of low-fat, lean proteins and veggies, you will be able to maintain your desired results. We can’t express enough that patients need to avoid sugar, starches, alcohol, and processed foods.

Then try this:

For stubborn dimples that just won’t budge with diet and exercise, an injectable treatment called QWO can help, as it works by dissolving and releasing fibrous bands, redistributing fat cells, and stimulating the growth of new collagen. “QWO is injected by a trained and licensed provider directly into targeted dimples in the buttocks using a small needle, and injections take as little as 15 minutes,” Dr. Mentz explains. “Three treatment sessions, repeated every 21 days, are needed.” You can also expect some bruising. Another new option is FDA-cleared Resonic, which uses sound wave technology to break up fibrous bands, and results improve over time.

Concern: Hair Loss

Do this first:

New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD’s initial approach to hair loss involves combining at-home treatments with a laser procedure to stimulate new hair growth. “My protocol is to start off with Nutrafol supplements for three months, which you can take at home. If we don’t see the results we want, then I’ll combine it with a LaseMD and Keralase hair loss treatment. It’s a nonablative laser that exfoliates the scalp and creates ‘microchannels’ that allow topicals to penetrate deep.”

We’re seeing better, faster hair growth than with PRP…

Then try this:

For those who need a more aggressive treatment, Dr. Peredo has seen success with exosome therapy. “It’s a stem cell therapy that includes growth factors, but it’s not the same as platelet-rich plasma, or PRP,” she explains. “The stem cells are highly potent, and instead of coming from your own blood, they are placental-derived mesenchymal stem cells. They promote wound healing by activating a patient’s own regenerative cell response, which enables new blood vessels to form, helping to feed the cells. For patients that don’t respond to PRP, we’re seeing better, faster hair growth and less inflammation as well.”

To treat this 59-year-old patient’s thinning hair, Dr. Peredo performed a series of exosomes injections in the scalp.

Concern: Stubbord Abdominal Fat

Do this first:

To tighten the stomach, nonsurgical Emsculpt NEO is getting rave reviews. “It combines electromagnetic technology with radio frequency, and it’s approved for all skin types,” says Dr. Downie. “It is like doing 20,000 sit-ups in half an hour.” For excess fat that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise, Dr. Mentz says liposuction partnered with a skin- tightening technology like BodyTite, can provide the best possible results. “Liposuction debulks and contours while the radio-frequency energy of BodyTite can help firm up the skin.”

Then try this:

If you have excess fat and lax skin, the best way to get rid of it in one go is a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty surgery. “It can repair the abdominal wall musculature—it’s kind of like creating an internal corset—which will flatten the tummy and recontour the waist,” explains Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD. “The best candidates are generally patients who have loose skin and tissue in their abdomen. This is more common in women because pregnancy often causes a separation of the rectus muscles, which weakens the abdomen from the rib cage to the pelvis. Performed correctly, tummy tucks should have a low complication rate and a relatively easy recovery.”

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