Donna Trope\ for Bazaar

Forget the old axiom that beauty is pain. Surgical face-lifts and aggressive lasers that keep you under house arrest and on strong meds are taking a backseat to procedures that promise to help you age gracefully with minor recuperation. "Not only are we seeing better results with the latest generation of minimally invasive technology, the amount of downtime required with these treatments is also shrinking considerably," says Mitchell Chasin, medical director of Reflections Center for Skin & Body in New Jersey. "We can now deliver dramatic results without people missing a beat out of their busy lives." Read on for the most buzzed-about options.


Think of this new gentle laser as a facial on steroids. Clear + Brilliant uses fractional laser technology to create microzones of energy, causing a wound-healing response underneath the skin's surface that stimulates collagen production, which boosts radiance and plumps lines. "The big advancement with this laser is that it's safe on all skin colors and you don't have to rearrange your social or professional life" for recovery, says New York City dermatologist Anne Chapas. Investment: $250 to $500 per treatment.

Ideal candidate: A patient (between the ages of 30 and 40) looking for a preventative antiaging treatment stronger than over-the-counter topicals but gentler than intense lasers "who wants smoother skin but doesn't have time to be red and swollen for days," details Chapas.

Problems targeted: Fine lines and wrinkles, blotchiness, uneven tone and texture, and sun damage. "But this would not be my laser of choice for treating deeper lines and wrinkles," says Chapas.

Treatable areas: Face, neck, chest, and hands.

Treatments needed: Six treatments spaced two weeks apart.

Treatment length: A topical anesthetic is applied for 15 to 20 minutes and is followed by the 20-minute laser treatment.

Pain: "Patients may feel a light tingling or mild prickling, but most don't feel anything at all," Chapas says. A small handheld laser-beam device is run up and down the skin.

Downtime: The skin is pink immediately after treatment (similar to post workout or a mild sunburn) but fades within a day. Dry skin can last for a couple of days.

Results: Smoother, more radiant skin, with improved tone and texture and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles with a visible difference in how your skin feels after one treatment, promises Chapas.

Risks: Prolonged redness, hyperpigmentation, and scarring are possible but "very rare," says Chapas.

Maintenance: Touch-ups are advised every three months.