"GentleWaves is a new low-intensity light-emitting diode (LED) device that looks like a LITE-BRITE," says Dr. Lisa Airan, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. Introduced four years ago, this glowing gadget uses non-thermal light to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Researchers believe that skin reacts to non-thermal, low-intensity light by boosting natural enzyme production — much like plants use chlorophyll to convert the sun’s rays into cellular building blocks.
Who it’s for Anyone with fine lines, wrinkles or sun-damaged skin.
What’s involved A patient sits in front of the LED device for about 40 seconds while 2,000 tiny amber lights emit a gentle light energy.
Duration One session per week for 12 weeks, or two sessions per week for six weeks.
Recovery time None.
Pros The procedure is quick, painless and non-invasive and can simultaneously treat large areas, such as the face, neck and chest.
Cons Monthly treatments are recommended for best results.
Expense About $100 per treatment in Canada and $170 per treatment in the U.S.
Launched in fall 2004, Fraxel is still one of the only lasers that works on all skin types, including dark skin. Superficially, it treats fine lines, melasma and pigmentation problems (such as sun spots). At a deeper level, it treats scars (including acne scars), deeper wrinkles and large pores. Its wavelength targets water and improves the overall appearance of skin.
Who it’s for Anyone with fine lines, pigmentation, sun damage or acne scars or who wants to refine and tighten their skin.
What’s involved An oral painkiller, a numbing facial cream and a layer of water-soluble dye are administered. The laser will only work through the dye and won’t damage skin that’s left uncovered. A wand passes over the skin and a Zimmer cooling device blows cold air onto the face, creating microscopic wounds in the dermis or epidermis that regenerate within a day to boost collagen production and result in younger-looking skin.
Duration About two hours. Most patients require three to five treatments, depending on the treatment area.
Recovery time One or two days on average, but it depends on the patient and treatment area.
Pros The laser is suitable for all skin types — from fair to olive to dark skin — and won’t cause redness or broken or oozing skin.
Cons The procedure is moderately painful, and the skin may feel hot and swollen for two or three days and turn pink or look bronze during this time.
Expense About $4,000 for a package of four Fraxel laser treatments.
Image courtesy of imaxtree.com
Mini neck lift
Practised in New York since the ’90s and in Canada for at least four years, this modified neck lift produces dramatic results that can last for up to 10 years and is popular with both men and women.
Who it’s for Anyone with a sagging, fatty or wrinkled neck. What’s involved Three tiny incisions are made under the chin and behind each ear. Suspension sutures are inserted to pull, contour and tighten the skin and redefine the jaw. Excess fat is also removed, and the neck muscle is tightened.
Duration About 1-1/2 hours.
Recovery time About one week.
Pros The procedure has a short recovery time and produces minimal scarring and long-lasting results.
Cons There may be a feeling of tightness in the neck for about a week, along with bruising and swelling.
Expense About $7,500.
Where Dr. Arie Benchetrit, Cosmedica, Montreal, 514-695-7450.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.