Medical aesthetics aficionados know that one generally needs to be patient to see the results of an in-office cosmetic treatment. But the reality is that we live in a world of instant gratification: Two-day shipping is now standard, wine deliveries arrive within mere minutes of ordering, and you can see loved ones halfway around the world simply by tapping FaceTime.
During the frenzy of a busy social season, that yearning for satisfaction can quickly shift from impatient to frantic, in hopes of looking our best for every in-person appearance. And honestly, why shouldn’t we be able to walk out of a provider’s office and see instant benefits? Of course, we can’t expect total transformations from one appointment without significant recovery time, but there are a handful of professional procedures that can deliver right-now radiance. Even better, they require practically no downtime—making it a genuine possibility to hit up your derm in the AM, then show up looking stunning at an evening soirée.
With the help of board-certified dermatologists Dr. Dennis Gross in New York City and Dr. Ava Shamban in Beverly Hills, California, we’re breaking down three in-office treatments to try for an instant (or nearly instant) glow.
IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy
IPL—aka the photo facial—is “a treatment of choice for a ‘go-and-glow,’” says Dr. Shamban. This procedure uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths to heat up skin tissue, addressing dark spots (including post-summer sun damage), uneven skin tone, and skin redness. “It works best on light skin because it searches [for] and targets pigment or melanin,” says Dr. Shamban.
As long as you avoid retinoids, chemical exfoliants, and other potent actives for the first 48 hours post-treatment, you can basically expect zero discomfort or downtime. It is an ideal treatment 2 days before an event or a night out. “The ultimate payoff is cumulative over time with a series [of treatments], but you will see the first dividend immediately,” says Dr. Shamban, adding that the initial glow lasts for a few weeks.
However, if your complexion is on the darker side of the Fitzpatrick scale, avoid this treatment and try one of the others on this list—melanated skin can suffer from both hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation when exposed to powerful heat.
For more information on Quiet Waters IPL service click here.
If you’re already a power user of at-home chemical peels, you know how this treatment works, but let exfoliating authority Dr. Gross refresh your memory: “Typically, dead skin cells are naturally shed every 28 days,” he says. “However, this process slows down as you age. [Peels] work on multiple levels of the skin, to safely remove the top layer of dead, dull skin cells, revealing the new, radiant skin underneath. It is not uncommon for patients to come in for the peel on their lunch break and head back to the office,” he adds. It’s gentle enough to get once a month.
Dr. Gross suggests an Alpha Beta Professional Peel (which uses a cocktail of acids, such as glycolic, lactic, mandelic and salicylic), he recommends looking for a professional peel that similarly works by blending multiple acids rather than a harsh, single-acid peel, which could compromise the moisture barrier—leaving your skin parched, irritated, and flaky.
“Your skin is an organ, and you shouldn’t damage it and expect it to improve—you wouldn’t do this to your heart or lungs,” he points out.
Of course, you should work to keep your glow going at home with over-the-counter peels. “I love the idea of ‘microdosing’ peels in between your in-office treatments,” says Dr. Gross, who explains that this will ensure you continuously stimulate cell turnover and collagen production—the key to healthy, youthful skin. Just make sure you’re protecting your fresh new skin from damage with sunscreen.
For more information on Quiet Waters Medical Esthetic’s Alpha Beta chemical peel click here.
While you might think that repeatedly stamping dozens of gilded needles into your face would cause significant trauma that necessitates days of downtime, that’s not the case with this derm-beloved treatment. Though tiny needles are indeed inducing micro injuries, and leave microchannels in the skin; take advantage of this by using quality skin care post-treatment, which will maximize your glow. “While the channels are open, a serum can be infused into the skin—a leave-on silicone sheet mask to follow ensures that the dermis is plump and dewy,” says Dr. Shamban.
Expect to see smaller pores, smoother fine lines and wrinkles, and improvements to texture and tone as well as an instant plump and dewy glow that will last for at least two days. “While visible in one treatment, the compounded benefits from a series are outstanding,” she adds. If your skin tends to be especially sensitive, let your provider know before treatment. They may leave your sheet mask on longer or expose you to further red LEDs for accelerated recovery.
For more information on Quiet Waters Medical Esthetic’s microneedling service click here.