The Hottest Beauty Products and Procedures

Whether it’s an anti-aging cream or other treatment, as women, we’re always on the lookout for something revolutionary to stop the clock and keep our skin healthy and radiant. And a genuinely long-lasting lipstick wouldn’t hurt either. So what are the latest beauty trends, including the hottest products and procedures?

Lasers Are HOT

According to dermatologist N. Fred Eaglstein, D.O., founder of the Dermatology and Laser Center in Orange Park, the latest trend is all about big results without surgery and minimal downtime and pain. Indeed, according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 82% of the cosmetic procedures performed in 2007 were nonsurgical.

Dr. Eaglstein, who commonly sees patients with photodamaged skin, views laser resurfacing, which “vaporizes the top layer of the skin and rejuvenates underlying collagen,” as the gold standard for severe sun damage. But there are some downsides, including a downtime of about seven to ten days and redness that can persist from one to three months. Now other laser treatments have hit the market, hoping to rival laser resurfacing by providing optimal results without the disadvantages.

Two of the hottest treatments include plasma laser resurfacing and Fraxel CO2 laser. After converting nitrogen gas into plasma, plasma resurfacing destroys skin without sloughing it off, thereby promoting faster healing, says Dr. Eaglstein. He suggests one deep treatment over a series of light ones and adds that because this technology is still new, it’s unclear whether plasma resurfacing works as well as laser resurfacing.

But how does Fraxel CO2 compare to the competition? Though Dr. Eaglstein calls it “the best next big thing” and it heals skin sooner, from what he’s witnessed, this laser treatment doesn’t measure up to laser resurfacing; it only slightly tightens the skin and improves sun damage.


Lipo is So Last Season

Non-invasive procedures like lipodissolve and mesotherapy claim they’re alternatives to liposuction; both deliver a series of shots to dissolve fat around areas like the abdomen, thighs and upper arms. Unlike liposuction, though, these injections work best on people who aren’t overweight and need improvement in a very small area. In an article for MSNBC’s website, Dr. Roger Friedman, a plastic surgeon who performs these injections, says they take away inches, not pounds. Lipodissolve injections typically include a mixture with “phosphatidylcholine (a soybean derivative) and sodium deoxycholate (a bile salt),” says Friedman. This type of treatment also known as mesotherapy, actually originated in the 1950’s in France as a brew of vitamins, plant extractions and even medication.

Not only do these procedures offer questionable result, their injection cocktails are not FDA-approved, says Dr. Eaglstein, but there’s also “incredible risk.” Others agree: In the MSNBC article critics of the procedure point out there’s no long-term, peer-reviewed research on safety or efficacy, let alone how these injections actually melt away the fat.


Thermage: The New Facelift?

Continuing on the heels of nonsurgical options, Thermage has been touted as the alternative to a traditional surgical facelift. Instead of scalpels and general anesthesia, Thermage uses radio waves to tighten the skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles, requiring only a topical anesthetic. With downtime and discomfort at a minimum, Thermage is attractive to many patients.

Dr. Eaglstein take on it? “It has a good theoretical basis, but there’s no way Thermage tightens the skin like a traditional facelift,” he explains, noting in his experience, there’s a “five to twenty percent chance of improvement.” So along with the short recovery and little pain, expect minimal and short-term results — no more than two years. As Dr. Eaglstein explains for many of these nonsurgical options, “we haven’t gotten there yet, although we’re making progress.”


Botox the Blockbuster, and Fillers, Too

Though Botox has been around for awhile now, it’s still the hottest wrinkle-reducer. Because it weakens the muscle, thereby causing less wrinkling, Dr. Eaglstein uses Botox for crow’s feet and wrinkles in general. For patients with folds or deep creases, he prefers the FDA-approved fillers, Restylane and the relative newcomer, Juvederm, both of which contain hyaluronic acid.


Beautiful Beauty

Professional makeup artist, educator and spa consultant Noreen Young, who also owns a cosmetics and makeup studio here in Jacksonville, says the key to spring and summer colors is to “lighten and brighten up your makeup.” The best way to create a rosy, fresh complexion? With a sheer wash of color and any shade of pink, suggests Young, a color palette that’s particularly popular today. With so much versatility, you can apply pink to your cheeks, lips and eyes.

Always timeless but especially trendy this year is a red pout; the key is to choose a shade that flatters you best, whether it’s a sweet cherry or a more dramatic crimson. Another classic, the smoky eye, has received an update: this year, it’s all about various shades of gray and gold. The summer and spring also usher in an old friend — the sun-kissed look. Give your pink blush a short break, and apply bronzer along your cheekbones for a radiant complexion.

In Vogue Ingredients

Dr. Eaglstein uses such newcomers as Prevage — which contains the effective anti-aging ingredient idebenone — and Vivite — a product that combines alpha hydroxy acids and antioxidants, so it absorbs free radicals and stimulates collagen.

With a track record of well-documented efficacy, alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids are ideal, classic ingredients for improving the quality of the skin, boosting collagen and helping with wrinkling, says Dr. Eaglstein. If you’re prone to acne then there are acne-friendly body washes that just might help you deal with your acne scars.

Additionally, antioxidants have bombarded the beauty market. According to Dr. Eaglstein, the best studied is vitamin C, which helps to absorbs free radicals; in fact, after sunscreen, vitamin C is the second line of defense against sun damage. Young agrees, who says she loves vitamin C products because the “skin just glows.”

Luminous skin is always in, and there’s an array of hot ingredients that help revitalize your complexion. Alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body and is found in food, “helps cell turnover and smoothes the complexion with its gentle exfoliation,” says Young. Similarly, fruit enzymes also “gently slough off dead skin cells, helping skin turnover and repair and rejuvenate the skin,” adds Young. A mega-moisturizer, pumpkin also acts to clarify the skin. Other “in” ingredients include peptides, which “help cell turnover and improve the texture of the skin,” and coffee grains, which “exfoliate dead skin and supposedly improve cellulite over time.”


Buzz Words in Beauty

Young says the latest beauty products are all about nourishing and multi-tasking. With nourishing beauty, a lipstick isn’t just a lipstick, or as Young puts it, “the lipstick of today isn’t your mother’s lipstick,” because it not only paints your lips with color, but it also contains vitamin C, olive oil and avocado oil that nurture the lips with moisturizing products. Other great ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin include shea butter, macadamia nut oil, rose oil, grape seed oil, olive oil and jojoba, says Young.

As a multitasking product, a face bronzer doesn’t just provide you with a sun-kissed look, but it also makes a gorgeous blush or eye shadow when wet, says Young. Another product that’s picking up really well are vitamin c serums with hyaluronic acid, they’ve been getting a lot of attention from big names like Oprah and Doctor Oz.

A lip stain becomes a lip plumper, lip gloss and cheek stain, she adds. Multipurpose products are perfect, especially when they reduce the spread of bacteria, while keeping your complexion fresh and irritation-free, as is the case with what Young refers to as “shine busters” or Asian powder papers, a combination of a light powder and face blotter that takes up the oil — certainly a must-have to combat our scorching summers.

The Bottom Line in Beauty and Trends

Though Young recommends staying up-to-date as a whole, she explains, “Don’t feel you have to do something only because it’s a trend; do what’s right for you, and use what makes you feel comfortable.”

In addition, with such a large number of products and procedures hitting the market, one of the problems with trendy skin care and of-the-moment treatments is “they get thrown out on the market too soon and aren’t regulated enough,” says Dr. Eaglstein. He suggests people go with what’s been studied, reported in a reputable journal and proven to be effective.