Have you ever paid a medical professional over $1,000 to inject your own blood into your face?
Yeah, me neither.
It sounds outlandish, but as the skincare industry continues to grow, scientists are developing a wide variety of treatments designed to give you younger-looking and smoother skin. You can now pay a dermatologist or medical spa professional to target virtually any blemish on your body, from acne scars to precancerous growths.
Say goodbye to the days of only using sunscreen and moisturizer, and hello to the new frontier -- technology that will literally de-age your face. Go ahead and read on for five of the most common anti-aging skin treatments. Just be careful -- some of these may make you squeamish.
How it works: Microneedling is exactly what it sounds like. A medical professional applies either a fine-needle roller or a pen-like device to your skin, which creates a whole bunch of tiny tears. Creating tears in your skin when you're trying to improve how it looks might sound backward, but that's the whole point -- the subsequent healing process increases collagen production. Since collagen is the main component of skin, this treatment tightens and smooths out any wrinkles or signs of aging.
Cost: For a professional treatment, you'll typically need around four to six sessions for the full effect, with each one running around $300 to $700. At-home microneedling kits can range from around $20 to more than $100.
Where you can get it: If you're thinking about using an at-home kit, talk to your dermatologist before taking a stab at it (pun fully intended). If you want to go the professional route, you'll need to find a medical spa near you.
Is it worth it? While regular needles are fine by me, the thought of several tiny ones in my face makes my stomach crawl. However, some studies have shown that microneedling can treat facial scarring and stretch marks, so it could be worth the squeamishness.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy
How it works: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has long been used for treating injured tendons, and it's now popular for skin, too. This medical treatment is often called a "vampire facial" and was made famous, in part, by Kim Kardashian West. A doctor takes a sample of your blood, extracting plasma and platelets to create a concentrated sample of PRP. They then use microneedles to inject the solution back into your skin, promoting collagen production. It's said to help get rid of fine lines, acne scars and even hyperpigmentation.
Cost: Around $1,300
Where you can get it: Since PRP is a medical -- not cosmetic -- procedure, you'll need to find a medical spa or dermatologist's office near you that offers this kind of facial. You can use Google and call the medical spas in your area for price estimates, or use a website that will locate a nearby place for you.
Is it worth it? Paying over $1,000 to inject my own blood back into my skin through a bunch of tiny needles isn't exactly my cup of tea. either. Plus, the results can fade after three months, so you're probably better off investing in something else.
Radiofrequency skin tightening
How it works: Radiofrequency treatments tighten loose skin through a micro inflammatory process that increases collagen. Essentially, a handheld device emits energy into your skin to heat up the layers of your skin, which stimulates the production of collagen -- it reportedly feels like a hot stone bath. Radiofrequency can tighten skin all over your body (yes, even your butt.) Dermatologist Stefanie Williams explains that you'll need anywhere from 6 to 12 treatments for optimal results, because the benefits are induced over time.
Cost: Considering you'll need multiple treatments, the whole shebang will run you anywhere from $1,000 to $7,500.
Where you can get it: To ensure the safest procedure possible, you should find a board-certified cosmetic surgeon near you. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery has a handy database for this.
Is it worth it? Judging from the price tag, I can't imagine. I think I'll stick with putting my face really close to my FM radio and hoping it does the trick. Plus, researchers point out that most studies attempting to prove the effectiveness of radiofrequency skin tightening are designed with poor parameters, so I'm not even sold on whether it works or not.
How it works: Ultherapy is similar to radiofrequency skin tightening -- it uses ultrasound technology to target deeper layers of the skin, helping you produce more collagen. Ultherapy is also marketed to get rid of loose skin and wrinkles. In practice, it looks similar to the ultrasound machines used during pregnancy.
Cost: Around $1,800
Where you can get it: You can find a physician near you that provides Ultherapy through this website.
Is it worth it? For $1,800 I could buy 750 McFlurries, which in my opinion, is a very tempting option. But, Ultherapy is cleared by the FDA as a noninvasive skin tightening treatment, and seems to be fairly effective for tightening and lifting facial muscles. I'll give this one a hard maybe.
How it works: During a chemical peel, a liquid solution is applied to the skin that removes varying outer layers, depending on how deep the peel goes. The skin then grows back and looks smoother and younger. Chemical peels can remove wrinkles and scars, and deeper ones can even treat precancerous growths.
Cost: A lighter chemical peel only costs around $150 to $400 at a spa, but a medical-grade peel done at a doctor's office can cost up to $6,000.
Where you can get it: Chemical peels, especially medium and deeper ones, are typically performed by a dermatologist or a professional at a medical spa. Lighter chemical peels can be done at home, though they'll be less effective.
Is it worth it? Given how much I love exfoliating, I'd give a chemical peel a shot. Just one lighter treatment won't break the bank, and if it leaves me with a face as smooth as a baby's bottom I'll be satisfied.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.