Non-invasive skin treatments

Everybody wants flawless, youthful looking skin. There are several methods to getting an amazing complexion but some of them are a little too invasive. For example, a face lift will definitely help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles but it will also cost a fortune and require surgery.

With the advances of modern technology there are many alternatives to expensive, painful surgery which won’t involve you having to go under general anaesthetic and the results can be extraordinary.

We’ve listed some skin treatments that are non-invasive and will work wonders by helping to reduce pigmentation and leave your skin supple and smooth.

Non-invasive skin treatments

Laser Skin Resurfacing

This is an advanced method of skin rejuvenation and is particularly good at treating stubborn conditions such as acne scarring and deep lines and wrinkles.

How Does it Work?

Using an extremely focused beam of light, the laser precisely targets the affected area and the thermal energy vaporises damaged skin. By damaging specifically targeted sections of the skin the body then gets to work creating new tighter and younger looking skin, which has smaller pores and fewer imperfections. This method of skin treatment can be used to even out pigmentation, smooth the skin, improve the appearance of scars and even treat particular early skin cancers.

Preparing for Laser Skin Resurfacing

You’ll need to consult a plastic surgeon or ideally a dermatologist to see if you are suitable for laser resurfacing. Be aware that if you are prone to blisters or cold sores, this treatment can trigger breakouts. To help prevent this, your doctor may prescribe you to take an antiviral medication.

If you currently take any medication which can cause clotting, your doctor may suggest that you stop taking it roughly 10 days before the treatment. Also, if you’re a smoker it’s a good idea to stop at least a couple of weeks before your procedure as this can affect the result of the treatment and prolong healing.

Laser skin resurfacing is normally a day-case which means that you can go home on the same day – so you’ll be snug in your own bed by bedtime. The procedure is generally done under local anaesthetic which completely blocks pain from your face and you are fully conscious the entire time. If you think that you may be a little anxious about the procedure then your doctor may give you a sedative to help calm your nerves.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

Depending on the complexity of your procedure, it take can anywhere from 30-45 minutes up to 2 hours if you are having your entire face treated. The idea of laser skin resurfacing can seem a little scary and painful as well but as you will be under and local anaesthetic you will feel no pain during the procedure. After your treatment the surgeon or dermatologist may cover your face in an ointment or dressing.

What Can I Expect After the Procedure?

Generally after the treatment your skin will feel a little raw and uncomfortable – this is completely normal. If you have been under general anaesthetic, it’s likely that you’ll feel a little dazed, this should wear off after roughly 24 hours. During this time you shouldn’t drink, drive, operate machinery or sign any important documents.

It will take about a week to 10 days for your skin to heal and roughly two to six months for all the redness to fade. During this time if your skin still feels sensitive you could take over-the-counter painkillers to help alleviate the pain. Always remember to read the outpatient information and consult a pharmacist.

An important point to take into consideration is that you’ll need to stay out of the sun until the redness fades. If you do need to go out, apply at least factor 25 sunscreen which blocks out both UVA and UVB rays. Failing to do so can result in dark patches developing on the skin particularly for tanned, brown and dark skin.

Chemical Peels

If the thought of having your face zapped with lasers isn’t appealing to you, then a chemical peel might be a better alternative, these work great on reducing fine lines, treating certain types of acne and sun damage.

How Does it Work?

Chemical peels work by applying a chemical solution to the face, hands or neck which creates a controlled wound. There are a variety of strengths of solutions that have different effects:

  • Superficial Peels: These only remove the very top layer of skin (epidermis) which means that the treatment is fairly quick only lasting a few minutes but needs to be regularly repeated to maintain the effects.
  • Medium Peels: These remove the top and middle layers of skin. Due to them being a little stronger, you may feel a slight burning or stinging sensation as it is applied. It can take up to six weeks for skin to return to normal and must be repeated every 6 to 12 months to maintain the effect
  • Deep Peels: These affect the deeper layers of skin and have to be left on the skin for around 30 minutes or longer. Deep peels are more risky so you’ll need a local anaesthetic and sedative to be applied. It’s recommended that these are administered by a trained professional. As the treatment affects the deeper layers of skin this treatment only needs to be done once – phew!

Preparing for Chemical Peels

First off, you’ll need to consult your doctor and let them know if you have a history of scarring or cold sores that reoccur, they may prescribe an antiviral medication before and after to help prevent a breakout. Before your peel your doctor may recommend that you stop taking certain types of drugs and prepare your skin with Retin-A, Renova or glycolic acid which you could use as a superficial peel depending on the concentration.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

This procedure is classed as an outpatient so you won’t need to stay overnight. Firstly, your skin will be prepped with a thorough clean. Afterwards the specific chemical peel will be applied to small sections of your skin, this will create a tiny wound that allows new skin to grow and take its place.

There are some at home chemical peels such as glycolic acid which is an amazing exfoliator and is known to be one of the safest forms of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Without getting too technical, this are a set of molecules derived from sugar cane originally, but many are now created synthetically, other AHAs include lactic acid (milk), citric acid (from citrus fruits) and malic acid (apples and pears).

The great thing about glycolic acid is due to its versatility it comes in loads of different forms such as serums, moisturisers, eye creams and cleaners.

What Can I Expect After the Procedure?

After the procedure it’ll have a similar effect to sunburn with peeling and redness followed by scaling. Superficial and mild peels can be repeated every one to four weeks until your skin is radiant and supple.

Deeper peels may result is swelling and possibly blisters, they should eventually crust and peel off after 7 – 14 days. Depending on the treatment you may need bandages after to several days while your skin heals, also don’t forget to apply a sunscreen for a few months after – your new skin is delicate!

Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion

A popular skin treatment to help improve the appearance of acne scars, wrinkles and the early stage of some skin cancers is microdermabrasion and dermabrasion.

How Does it Work?

The two techniques are done in slightly different ways and therefore have different results. Dermabrasion is administered by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon where your skin is effectively ‘sanded’ by a high speed instrument with an abrasive wheel. This removes the upper layer of skin to reveal new skin underneath.

Microdermabrasion is less aggressive and will better suit people who want less recovery time and a quicker more subtle result. Tiny crystals are sprayed onto the skin removing the top layer – similar to exfoliation.  Microdermabrasion doesn’t require numbing whereas dermabrasion will require numbing shots on the area being treated.

Preparing for Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion

Before going ahead it’s always best to consult with your doctor or GP to discuss your aims, the benefits of each technique and also any concerns that you may have.

Generally these treatments don’t require any additional preparation compared to other treatments.

 What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

As with all skin treatments your skin will be thoroughly cleansed. If your skin is being dermabrased the dermatologist or plastic surgeon will inject a numbing agent to anesthetise the area being treated.

The procedure will be finished within the same day meaning that you can go home afterwards.

What Can I Expect After the Procedure?

The microdermabrasion technique is less aggressive. Your skin will become pink and feel dry and tight for about a day. Use a nourishing moisturiser to hydrate your skin and it’s best to avoid applying makeup for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Dermabrasion will be a little different. Your skin will feel as if it’s been brushed or burned for a few days after the procedure. Healing will normally happen 7 – 10 days after, you should apply petroleum jelly to the wound frequently to help it to heal.

As the dermabrasion has removed the top layer of your skin the new skin underneath will appear pink, over time this will develop into your normal complexion. After 14 days you should be able to go back to your normal activities but remember to apply sunscreen when your outdoors!

Petroleum Jelly

Superdrug Superdrug The Little Moisturising Blue Lip Balm 20g £1.49 Buy Now
Carmex Carmex Original Pot 2G £1.79 Buy Now
Vaseline Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly 50ml £1.50 Buy Now

Unusual Skin Treatments

The treatments above are commonly used and have scientific backing to the methodology, but there are several alternative treatments which are a little more unorthodox.

  • Cryotherapy: Dipping your body to -106 celsuis is supposed to decrease chronic pain, inflammation and generally promote full body health. However the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found little to no evidence of it actually having any benefit – it’s a great idea for the summer heatwave though.
  • Face-Taping: If you’re after an non-invasive facelift this maybe an alternative. Special tape is used to literally lift the skin on the face which smooths out wrinkles. Research has actually found that face-taping reduces circulation to the skin and can actually speed up the aging process
  • Leech Therapy: Leeches are attached to the face, or possibly other body parts, to help with numerous skin issues. The leeches’ saliva contains bioactive peptides and proteins which are great for the skin – or are they? There is little scientific research to support this and possible scarring, among other things, means that there are other safer alternatives to beautiful skin.