At the Doctor's Office: "If you look at young faces, they're not tight and pulled; they're round and full," says Bank. So dermatologists are plumping up skin by injecting fillers like Radiesse, made of calcium-based microspheres, into cheeks and between the nose and mouth. Also making waves: radio-frequency technology such as Thermage, which stimulates collagen production head to toe, creating a tightening effect on skin's surface. Good news: Thermage is a onetime treatment with zero downtime. You won't see results until four to six months later, but those results can last two or three years.
Future Think: Uplifting news: Dermatologists say we'll see fillers with thicker consistencies, better for creating volume. Coming soon to the United States: Restylane SubQ and Voluma, two thicker fillers currently used in Europe.
Old Think: Out, out, damned spot! Hydroquinone (HQ), a topical skin whitener, has been center stage for the last 50 years. But it's not without controversy: Some women with darker skin tones find that the ingredient actually darkens their skin, and most recently, the FDA listed HQ as a possible carcinogen.
New Think: At home: The search is on for a gentler, safer alternative to HQ. Botanicals such as mushroom extracts, kojic acid, mulberry root extract, and arbutin (found in cranberry leaf) are less effective than HQ, but they will lighten spots over time. Try Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Treatment Lotion (with mushroom extract), $30; Lumecin Overnight Brightening Gluco-Protein Treatment (with mulberry root extract), $45; and Euoko W-00 Active Starch White Masque (with arbutin), $70.
At the Doctor's Office: Lasers target the pigment within the spot, making it scab up and eventually disappear (scarring is uncommon).
Future Think: "My wish is that everyone would wear sunscreen religiously so they wouldn't get brown spots to begin with," says Bank. As for those existing spots: "I'm hoping for a laser that works instantaneously, so you won't have to go through any scabbing," he says.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Old Think: When acne medication Retin-A hit the market in the 1980s, doctors started noticing an unexpected side effect: fewer wrinkles. Since then, retinoids (derivatives of vitamin A) have been a top choice in fighting lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, accompanying irritation and dryness makes it a tough topical to stick with.