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Top Derm Solutions to 2016’s Biggest Beauty Dilemmas

How the pros treat their patients’—and their own—most pressing concerns

DR. PAUL JARROD FRANK 

Patients: Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Frank estimates that about 25% of his practice is fat removal, and clients are asking for new, faster, less invasive procedures. Enter SculpSure, which uses laser technology to destroy fat cells in targeted areas—think belly fat or love handles—by exposing them to very high temperatures. Once the fat cells have died, the body gradually disposes of them, providing noticeable results in 6 to 12 weeks following treatment. “It won’t replace liposuction, but it does help patients get rid of those last 3-5 pounds we all complain about,” he says.

Personally:  “I’m 46,” Dr. Frank says with a laugh. “Sure I use all the usual injectables and I try out those less invasive fat-removing techniques on myself.”  But if he were on a desert island and could bring only one syringe or a single machine? “The Fraxel laser to resurface skin,” he says, without missing a beat. “It not only helps you look younger, by erasing irregular pigmentation and causing the skin to rejuvenate itself it actually decreases the risk of skin cancer.” Now if only health insurers would cover the procedure.

DR. ELIZABETH TANZI

Patients: “Aging skin. Sun damaged skin. Brown spots, I get asked to treat those a lot,” says Maryland-based dermatologist Dr. Tanzi. “By the time people come to me they’ve already tried topical creams and they haven’t worked.” Instead, Dr. Tanzi uses an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser in the form of a flashgun that’s passed across the face—“there’s little downtime between treatments which are repeated three to four times every few weeks,” she says. For targeting individual brown spots, she’s a fan of Q-switched lasers, which release the offending pigment into the skin so it can be naturally reabsorbed.  One treatment will usually take care of 75-100% of the spots although two weeks of crusting means you have to plan around any special occasions.

Personally: “My eyes are starting to get wrinkly and hollowed out,” says Dr. Tanzi, who fights back with a four-step plan.  First, Botox to banish crow’s feet, then a little Restylane for those undereye circles caused by loss of volume. Fraxel laser treatments around and underneath the eye promote collagen growth, which improves skin’s elasticity and firmness. Finally, to stimulate slacking collagen above the brow line, Dr. Tanzi opts for two treatments, one year apart, of Ultherapy, which uses heat produced by sonic waves. “This tightens skin and the underlying tissues, and it lifts the brow. It’s a real eye-opener,” she says.  Pun intended. 

DR. ROBERT ANOLIK

Patients: Maybe it’s those unflattering images we see of ourselves in selfies or on Skype, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a record 55,000 neck lifts were performed in 2014. Still, while the problem hasn’t changed the remedy has. Renowned New York dermatologist Dr. Anolik says “In the last six months I’ve had as many people asking for Kybella (an injectable that helps dissolve excess fat in the chin area), as patients asking to banish their crow’s feet.” Kybella mimics the same natural acid that helps us digest food when we eat. There’s some bruising or swelling for a few days, but after two to six treatments spaced roughly a month apart, patients enjoy reduced neck fat and a more contoured jawline. 

Personally: While admitting to using injectables and lasers, Dr. Anolik keeps the specifics to himself because, “If I say ‘I do this or that’ patients will ask for those procedures when really, I want to do what’s right for them.” But he does reveal what’s next on the horizon. A new technique that’s in clinical trials which boosters claim will replace surgery and injections:  A cream for removing undereye fat.

DR. ELLEN MARMUR

Patients: “My patients want help with all those persistent, tenacious, annoying muffin-tops, post-baby belly fat, arms, knees and that ‘banana roll’ between the butt and thigh,” says Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Marmur. “Just about anywhere there’s extra fat or sagging skin. I treats wider areas of soft fat on the abdomen and thighs with BTL Vanquish ME, which, in up to four sessions, targets fat with radio frequency waves.  For areas where you can pinch over an inch of fat, I’m a fan of Cool Sculpting (CS), which has anatomically shaped applicators for under the chin, the inner and outer thighs.”

Personally: “I’m going to do as much as I can as long as I can to keep aging at bay,” Dr. Marmur declares. Her own routine includes treating her sun-damaged chest with a combinations of lasers—Clear and Brilliant, a so-called entry-level Fraxel, which treats the skin from the inside out by drilling microscopic holes; when healed, skin is smoother and more glowing. And a broad band light laser to help eliminate red and brown spots. She’s also a recent convert to sun-protective tops. Then, once a year, Dr. Marmur indulges in a Thermage treatment. “It’s a radio-frequency laser that lifts and tightens—I call it shrinky dink for the skin.”

DR.  PATRICIA WEXLER

Patients: Dr. Wexler is the den mother of derms—and while she was an early adopter Botox in the ‘90s, her motto is: “Never the first to use some new technique, never the last. I like to see what complications crop up,” she says. When patients come in for a consultation, they talk about what’s bothering them and Dr. Wexler helps them choose two or three areas to work on. “Often they’re unhappy about the loss of volume in their face and those lines around their lips.” To correct the nasal labial folds (ironically called laugh lines) that bracket the mouth, she’ll use Restylane on the periphery of the face and the jawline and along the bone in front of the ear to “lift” the face, rather than trying to fill in the folds, which she considers a big “don’t.” To conquer those dreaded—and ubiquitous—lip lines, Dr. Wexler is excited about Infini, a relatively new multi-needled radio frequency device that passes through the dermis to deliver light energy under the top layer of skin, resulting in plumper, smoother skin within about five days. It’s also effective on acne and scars. 

Personally: “I’m in the office five days a week, I don’t have time to go out, so I don’t have sun damage. I spend most of my time working on my patients,” says Dr. Wexler, with a laugh. Still, she does make time for Infini laser; she’s a big believer in peptides and exfoliation, available in her eponymous skincare line; and every two or three years, “I use Ultherapy on my face and neck. I love it,” she exclaims.

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