August 30 2014

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Antiaging Facials: Worth It?


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail

I’m intrigued by antiaging facials that claim to make your skin look ten years younger in one session, but most are extremely pricey. How much stock should I put into them?

“Antiaging facials done outside a doctor’s office have limited antiaging effects because they should not be very strong. Treatments that have the most dramatic effect on the skin, like lasers or strong chemical peels, should be delivered by a medical expert to avoid side effects like prolonged redness, discoloration, or, in the worst cases, scarring. Although these treatments are exceptionally safe when performed properly, the results can be tragic when done by inexperienced practitioners. In general, MDs have more training than non-MDs, so it’s important to research your facialist thoroughly. The bottom line is that antiaging facials can feel nice and give the skin a temporary glow, but they will not be particularly effective in significantly reducing the signs of aging. For the money, I would book intense pulse light treatments or IPL for early photo damage and mild facial discoloration, which deliver noticeable results that last.”

Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D. is a cosmetic dermatologist and co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at John Hopkins Hospital Center. She is a leader in the field of laser surgery and recognized as one of the most experienced experts in the field of injectable procedures.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

The Doctor Is In