What Your Derm Can Do
Doctors' turn-back-the-clock nonsurgical treatments work fast and require little downtime. The catch: They can be pricey.
Best for: resurfacing hand and neck skin, building and tightening collagen
How they work: Lasers like the Fraxel and Nd:YAG direct thousands of tiny bursts of energy that heat the collagen layer, stimulating new growth and improving texture. Skin will be pink for a few days afterward, and perhaps even rough or peeling.
Sessions required/cost: three to six sessions; $1,000-$2,000 each
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Best for: removing sunspots on hands
How it works: IPL machines work similarly to lasers, but can be better for brown spots, and have a shorter recovery time, Dr. Tanzi says. Brown spots may darken — like pepper on skin — before flaking off for good.
Sessions required/cost: three to five sessions; $250-$500 each
Best for: hyperpigmentation and superficial wrinkling on hands
How they work: Superficial glycolic acid peels and Jessner peels (blending lactic and salicylic acids and other ingredients) and medium-depth trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels remove surface discoloration and smooth out skin by increasing cell turnover. The deeper TCA produces faster results and can also stimulate collagen production. Note: Many doctors say neck skin is too prone to scarring to risk deep peeling.
Sessions required/cost: five 15-minute treatments; $150 each
Best for: plumping hands to disguise prominent bones, joints, and veins
How they work: A small amount of fat is taken from the buttocks via a needle and then injected beneath the skin. Fat transfer can be more economical than synthetic fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse because the fat is harvested just once, then frozen for later use, says Dr. Draelos. This is a relatively new procedure on hands, so make sure your doctor has experience: Ask to see her before-and-after photos.
Sessions required/cost: one session; around $1,500 for fat transfer, $500 for injections using harvested fat; $1,000-$1,500 for Sculptra or Radiesse injections
Botox (Botulinum Toxin)
Best for: strained-looking neck muscles
How it works: Doctors inject Botox down the muscle bands in the neck to relax them. In many cases, this gets rid of the strained look that sometimes comes with lost volume and tone in the neck. "It doesn't take much Botox — about the same amount as for one band in the forehead — and there's no downtime," says Dr. Draelos.
Sessions required/cost: one session; $200-$400