From "Skin Boosting" to Butt Fillers: The Future of Injectables
It's safe to say that when it comes to skincare technology, the future is now. Lasers are more potent, fillers look more natural, and things like Botox bars exist. The quest for smooth, bright skin knows no bounds, and we're here to report on all the latest and greatest so you can make an informed decision when it comes to taking charge of your own skincare regimen. Bothered by chin fat? We were to first to talk about Kybella. Lunchtime nose jobs? We've got answers. We're firmly in the camp that the more informed you are, the more empowered—which is why we're giving you the lowdown on what's to come in the world of fillers and injectables.
Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, is the founder of PFrankMD in New York and a dermatologist with a discerning clientele (Madonna, whose skincare line, MDNA, he consulted on, is rumoured to be one) and always on the cutting edge of the latest skincare technologies and advances. Thus, we had high expectations when we asked him to share the most innovative new treatments available. But even we were surprised by how, well, out there some of the treatments he mentioned are. Of course, that's not to say we weren't excited…
Keep scrolling to hear about some of the buzziest new treatments coming out of the skincare world.
"Skin boosting": Frank says that 50% of injectable practice is using them in different ways. For example, he does something called "skin boosting" in his practice. "It's a European way of doing things, and there's no FDA approval," he says. It involves placing Botox (or another neurotoxin) and hyaluronic acid into the very superficial layers of the skin instead of deep into the dermis (which is the traditional use); research has shown it can have a positive biological effect. Supposedly, it helps with everything from hydration to rosacea and is usually added on as an "extra" after a typical Botox or filler treatment.
Aquagold microneedling: We're all well versed in what microneedling is by now, but Aquagold microneedling involves creating "personalised concoctions of neuromodulators," according to Frank. The microneedle punctures your skin, and these ingredients are delivered into the skin in fine amounts after injectables. "It really takes results to the next level, especially when it comes to crepey-ness around the mouth and neck," says Frank.
Off-label filler use: Most people might recognise the brand names Sculptra and Radiesse as popular filler brands. But did you know lots of dermatologists use them off-label to lift and firm different areas of the body? For example, for saggy skin above and around the knees. Just make sure to research your doctor and ask them about their previous experience to ensure they're qualified.
The 5th Avenue Butt Lift: Fillers… for your butt? It might just be the next big thing (watch out, Kardashians). "We're pushing the boundaries now with the amounts we're using in the buttocks," says Frank. "In fact, we're now getting results that are almost equivalent to fat transfer in this area, commonly known as a Brazilian butt lift."
Obviously, it takes many treatments and a significant amount of time and money to accomplish the same effect using fillers instead of fat, but Frank says that in his practice, it's become a sort of status symbol. "It's almost like the Birkin Bag of fillers," he says.
He does the treatments at monthly intervals with the main goal being contour. The downtime is very little, results last up to several years, and so far there have been no problems with reactivity to the fillers.
Sophisticated fat: Fat transfers have been common for a while now but largely been overshadowed by fillers in the past few years. Plus, fat transfer was complicated—the actual procedure is invasive, not to mention the risk for complications. But at the end of the day, Frank argues that fat is really where it's at because of the robust number of stem cells found in it.
"Now we have new ways of extracting fat," he says. "We can really isolate the stem cell tissue in the fact, and more importantly, we're now 'fertilizing' it and mixing it with your own growth factors in the office, mixed with things like PRP (platelet-rich plasma)." The combination of these treatments is now done in an office visit, similar to just getting Botox and fillers. The result? Patients can get much longer value out of the quality of their fillers.
Sculpsure for your neck: Lately, it seems everyone is obsessed with neck-firming. We've got Kybell and we've got Coolsculpting, and now you can count Sculpsure as another option for you to get rid of stubborn chin fat. Sculpsure is a non-surgical laser treatment previously used to zap fat from areas like your stomach, back, and inner and outer thighs, and it's now been approved to be used on the neck area as well.
The parent company, Cynosure, just released an FDA-approved handpiece specifically for targeting the chin and neck area. "It's done in two treatments, and we're seeing very good results with it," says Frank. "What I like about it is that it's faster than Coolsculpting, less painful than Kybella, requires less downtime, and it's actually effective."
Tattoo removal lasers for pigment lightening: Consider yourself blessed if you've never experienced a regretful tattoo. Those of you who have might be familiar with Pico technology, the name of a laser commonly used for tattoo removal. But what Pico really stands for is the speed of the laser delivered, which is incredibly fast. And now, doctors are using it off-label to zap away melasma, scars, and dark spots, especially in darker skin tones.
"This is really the holy grail because as you've all learned, pigment is not created equal," says Frank. "There are different skin types and different layers of the skin. And Pico technology is transforming the way we treat darker skin types." He carries out signature procedures where he combines the Pico technology with other lasers such as Clear and Brilliant, Fraxel, as well as chemical peels and microneedling.
"I can say in the last 10 years, I've seen nothing that has made a greater impact in my practice than these combinations of technology. I think we're going to see a lot more about the off-label uses of this technology. They're still very expensive, so I think one of the things we're going to see is them coming down in price, as well," says Frank.
Vaginal laser enhancement: And now, onto vaginas. It's natural for age and other factors (not least of which is childbirth) to cause changes in your vagina. And now, there are more and more solutions to tighten the skin and mucosal tissue of the vagina, both externally and internally (bet you didn't see that one coming). But it's not just for aesthetics.
Frank mentions that a common concern after childbearing is urinary stress incontinence, where a woman may have problems controlling her bladder. Previously, surgery was an answer; now, lasers and other energy-based devices can boast significant improvements. "It's not very different than treating the tissue on the lips or inside the nose," says Frank. In his own practice, he works with a board-certified ob-gyn to ensure everything is safe and approved. He admits the treatment is still in its infancy, but predicts big things. Suddenly, "lasering your vagina" has taken on a whole new meaning.
Were you surprised by any of these treatments? Next: See the five things one editor wishes she'd known before getting Botox.