2015 has been the year of innovative breakthroughs in beauty. (Photo: Getty Images)
The beauty industry has been working overtime this year. Whether you want to eliminate a double chin, fight acne, or get rid of that tattoo you regret, this year brought less invasive, faster and more effective treatments. A more natural-looking saline implant, a hair-removal laser that works on blond hair, injections that eliminate a double chin, and a radio frequency device that offers a nonsurgical alternative to a face lift are just a few of the innovations of 2015. Here are seven breakthroughs that are transforming the beauty world.
Breast augmentation surgery was the No. 1 cosmetic procedure in 2014, but surprisingly women’s implant options have been limited. “Silicone implants are the most popular, but there is a long history of controversy regarding silicone. Even if they are safe, it’s hard to tell if they have ruptured internally,” explains plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD. The material was banned from 1992 to 2006 after concerns that the implants ruptured or could lead to health problems. The other option is to go with a saline implant, and while it’s easy to detect when they break (your breasts deflate) and the saline is considered safe, there is a downside. “They don’t look or feel very natural,” says Youn. However the newly FDA-approved Ideal Implant (available in the U.S. since September) might prove to be a more appealing option. “It looks and feel more natural. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds,” says Youn.
Enlighten laser tattoo removal
“One in four Americans has a tattoo, and an estimated 25 percent of them regret one or more of those tattoos,” says Youn, making a case for effective tattoo removal. According to Youn, most lasers require 8 to 10 treatments to remove a tattoo, often without clearing it entirely. Lasers have proven to be even less effective on darker skin tones. Enter the new, faster Enlighten laser, which Youn says “can clear a tattoo much more quickly than ever before and treats virtually all skin types. It’s the most advanced tattoo removal laser ever.”
Kybella double chin eliminator
This groundbreaking procedure literally melts fat underneath the chin, offering patients a noninvasive alternative to liposuction or a neck lift. The 20-minute treatment is nonsurgical but involves dozens of small injections. A doctor creates a grid of dots targeting the fat under the chin and then administers multiple injections in one session. Patients will need to have three to six treatments, each spaced a month apart. “It opens up a new horizon. Now for the first time we have something we can inject to generate an aesthetic changes,” explains dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, who was one of the principal investigators in the FDA trial of the just-launched drug.
Profound radio frequency lift
Profound is a needle-based radio frequency treatment that creates new elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid and has the ability to lift and contour sagging jawlines. On the face, it can smooth out wrinkles and restore volume to skin. “It’s a whole new chapter in lasers,” explains Alexiades-Armenakas. “It’s the closest we have gotten to a surgical facelift, nonsurgically.”
MiraSmooth hair removal
While laser hair removal is nothing new, treatments have generally been much more effective for women with darker hair. Enter MiraSmooth. “It’s a breakthrough because to date, with the exception of electrolysis, we haven’t really had a device that can treat all hair colors, even very light hair,” explains dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. While it is effective at hair removal, it also can target sweat-producing glands. The FDA-cleared treatment uses microwave energy to banish hair, targeting only hair follicles or sweat glands.
Avene Cleanance Expert acne fighter
“This product is a breakthrough for acne patients, especially sensitive skin patients. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and kills only the bad bacteria and nothing else,” explains Shah. Another bonus? The over-the-counter acne solution from the French beauty brand is available at drugstores such as Duane Reade and Walgreens. The powerful product contains unique ingredients like monolaurin, which helps regulate oil production without drying the skin, X-pressin, an enzyme from papayas that gently exfoliates the skin without drying it out, and a unique acne fighter called Diolenyl.
Building on the huge popularity of CoolSculpting, which freezes fat, the CoolMini treatment is the same procedure, just now approved by the FDA for the neck. The treatment promises a 20 to 25 percent reduction in fat thickness. There are no needles or surgery, but you may experience some discomfort as the fat is frozen and then massaged. It takes anywhere from one to three months for your chin to look tighter and the fat to dissipate. Most people need only one treatment.