The Innovations and Trends Dermatologists Are Most Excited About This Year

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The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Conference is a meeting of all the best minds in the industry. We discovered interesting findings and new products we’re excited about, but we also got to chat with some of the best in the business. We asked top board-certified dermatologists which innovations they’re most excited about and what they see trending in their practices so we know what’s on the horizon.

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Co2 lasers are back in a big way

Many of the experts we spoke to at AAD said they’re seeing a surge in the same treatment—CO2 lasers. Philadelphia board-certified dermatologist Margo Weishar, MD calls it “a reawakening of interest in CO2 resurfacing.”

She says COVID changed the whole landscape. The people who used to say they didn’t have time for downtime changed their tune saying, “Just give me the thing that’s going to work. I’ll take a week. I’ll turn off my video on Zoom.”

Dr. Weishar says she’s doing more CO2 resurfacing now than ever before. “CO2 has been a standard of care for a long time. When it’s done carefully and safely it really produces results like nothing else,” she adds.

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A new CO2 laser

Speaking of CO2 lasers Chapel Hill, NC board-certified dermatologist Sue Ellen Cox, MD says there’s a new fully ablative ULTRApulse Alpha CO2 laser. The original ULTRApluse came out decades ago, but this is an innovation.

While it has some serious downtime, the results are amazing and can last up to five years. “CO2 gives the most contraction and the most smoothing under the eyes,” she explains, noting that you don’t get the same type of tissue tightening from fractionated CO2 lasers. 

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Ultrasound to detect misplaced filler

“I think one of the trends, unfortunately, is going to be to use ultrasound to find misplaced filler,” predicts Dr. Weishar. “If it ends up in the wrong place, or it ends up swelling, you’ve got to get it out,” she says. “It can look great for six months, and then all of a sudden, from the muscular activity, you get this blockage, and you get fluid building up.” This is where a handheld ultrasound comes into play, helping to locate areas of filler.

Dr. Weishar adds that filler actually “lasts a whole lot longer than we’ve told patients. They’ve seen traces of filler years later in patients.” She notes that, of course, this can work to your advantage because you won’t have to re-up as often if it was done correctly, but if not, it could be dangerous.

biggest filler myths
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New toxins coming

A company called Kroma is working on a new neurotoxin option. Dr. Cox predicts it’ll be more similar to products like Jeuveau than Botox Cosmetic.

She notes Galderma’s RelabotulinumtoxinA is also on the horizon. “It’s liquid, so it’s not having to be reconstituted, it’s coming right out of the bottle,” she explains. Dr. Cox adds that RelabotulinumtoxinA is looking at longer durations similar to that of Daxxify.

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Different injection pattern for glabellar toxin

“One of the most fascinating things that I’ve seen repeated over and over at every cosmetic lecture I’ve attended is people talking about a slightly different injection pattern for glabellar toxin,” says New York board-certified dermatologist Gabriela Soza. It’s “completely different than what we’ve been taught and what we’ve been doing in the past.”

glabellar lines
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More bio stimulators, less hyaluronic acid fillers

New York board-certified dermatologist Erin Kil, MD says she’s been seeing “less hyaluronic acid fillers and more biostimulators” used in her office, so “the Radiesses of the world” are trending in terms of what’s being injected. 

skin care after injections
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“The exosome world is one of the things that I’m really excited for,” says Hallandale Beach, FL board-certified dermatologist Dr. Bertha Baum. “I know there could be some issues with it, but I’m just really, really looking forward to what we can accomplish in wound healing and post-procedural and even hair loss.”

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Skin boosters

From boosters to lasers, Dr. Baum says she’s noticing “a lot of focus on skin, more than ever.” She notes that she’s seeing a lot of desire for skin-hydration boosters.

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Uptick in Ellacor

Yorba Linda, CA board-certified dermatologist Daniel Chang, MD says he’s seeing interest in Ellacor rise. It’s “a first-in-its-class innovation where they actually take out little micro holes of skin,” he explains. “So you almost have a facelift-like result without surgery.”

Award Photo: ellacor
Award Photo: ellacor
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More consideration about injection spots

“I think we are getting smarter as injectors about where we inject,” says Dr. Kil, noting she’s noticing more lower-face injections. She adds that people seem to be “trying to avoid the overfilled, overstuffed look.”

hyaluronidase filler dissolver
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Neck injections

Dr. Cox says at the conference she learned about doing injections for biostimulation on the neck, noting that one of the injectors showed hyperdiluted Radiesse for collagen stimulation. Another showed very superficial hyaluronic acid injections with a fanning technique to help improve skin quality.

neck acne
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Radiesse in the collarbone

“Somebody was doing Radiesse in the collarbone, and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s incredible,’” says Dr. Soza. Although she uses Radiesse in many areas in her office, she says it’s genius to use it on the collarbone and hadn’t thought of it. The result is what we all want—a more defined collarbone.

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New cyst removal technique

Dr. Cox says she plans on bringing this fascinating find back to her practice. Experts at the conference shared that they’re removing the contents of specific kinds of cysts and then injecting them with polidocanol, a detergent that injures the inside of the capsule of the cyst. “That’s something I’d never heard of. No scars, get rid of the cyst, one treatment.”

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Microdroplet injections into fine line

Dr. Soza has found herself doing a lot of microdroplet injections into fine lines on the face and neck. “It seems like I’m doing more and more and more every week.”

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