How Often Do You Need To Touch Up Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures?
From Botox® and filler to microneedling and ultrasonic skin tightening, here’s a guide to how frequently non-invasive treatments need to be performed in order to maintain your desired results.
Whether it's monthly facials or quarterly Botox® appointments, minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic treatments have become a routine part of many people's beauty regimens thanks to their expediency and lack of downtime. Treating signs of aging, skin tone, sun damage, sagging skin, acne scars, and even a double chin (to name a few!) is all possible without going under the knife, but the results don't last forever.
So, how often do these non-invasive treatments need to be performed in order to maintain your desired results? Here, we break down the ideal frequency for some of the most popular non-surgical procedures.
Whether you're looking for a quick radiance boost or a deep resurfacing, chemical peels can treat everything from visible signs of aging (think: fine lines and sun damage) to hyperpigmentation and scarring. The type of result you see and how often you can repeat the treatment depends on the strength of the acid(s) involved. Generally speaking, they are classified as light, medium, or deep.
- Light Chemical Peel: Also known as a superficial chemical peel, an alpha hydroxy acids is used to lightly exfoliate the epidermis (read: outer) layer of the skin. Minor flaking may occur in the days after treatment, and the radiance-boosting benefits often last a couple of weeks. Treatments can be repeated every three to six weeks.
- Medium Chemical Peel: Medium depth chemical peels, which typically involve trichloroacetic acid (TCA), reach the papillary dermis layer of the skin (the uppermost layer of the dermis) and can correct uneven skin tone and texture. Patients can expect to deal with peeling skin for up to 10 days post-treatment, and the procedure can be repeated every three to six months for prolonged results.
- Deep Chemical Peel: If ever there were a case for one-and-done, it would be this. The intensely exfoliating treatment reaches the lower layer of the dermis, which allows it to completely resurface the skin. Up to three months of recovery time may be needed to heal, and the procedure is rarely performed more than once on a single patient.
This non-surgical liposuction alternative permanently destroys fat cells by freezing targeted areas. The body contouring treatment is often used to treat stubborn fat deposits on the stomach, hips, thighs, and chin area. After one session, Coolsculpting® patients can expect to see a 25 to 30 percent fat reduction within about four months. A series of one to three treatments spaced at least 60 days apart are often needed to fully treat each problem area.
Injectable filler has become one of the gold standards of minimally invasive aesthetics thanks to ability to reshape the face sans surgery. From temporarily mimicking the effects of surgery (hi, liquid rhinoplasty) to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dermal filler comes in a variety of forms that treat different areas and last for different lengths of time.
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Filler: The most temporary option is found under brand names like Juvederm®, Belotero®, and Restylane® and lasts six to 12 months as the body absorbs the particles.
- Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA) Filler: CaHA injectables like Radiesse® can be expected to last 12 to 18 months thanks to the thicker viscosity that is ideal for treating deeper lines and wrinkles.
- Polylactic Acid (PLA) Filler: More than just a filler, PLA products like Sculptra® are classified as 'collagen stimulators' thanks to their ability to help skin naturally rebuild collagen over time, in addition to smoothing lines for 18 to 24 months.
- Polymethyl-methacrylate Microspheres (PMMA) Filler: Bellafill® is the only FDA-approved PMMA injectable treatment on the market. The synthetic, biocompatible substance takes the shape of a microsphere under the skin that provides structure and firmness for about five years.
- Polyalkylimide Filler: Semi-permanent injections like Aquamid® have a layer of collagen form around them over time that can boost the filler-like results that already last for five-plus years.
FDA approved to treat moderate to severe submental fat, the deoxycholic acid injection can eliminate a double chin and provide jawline definition. While the results are known to be long lasting, multiple Kybella® treatments may be needed to achieve desired results. A single treatment consists of up to 50 injections spaced one-centimeter apart, and up to six single treatments (staggered at least one month apart) may be administered.
Laser Hair Removal
The laser therapy treatment is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the U.S. and involves heating and killing the hair follicle to prevent future hair growth. Sessions are scheduled every four to six weeks to complement the natural hair growth cycle, with six to eight typically needed for full results. While electrolysis is the procedure FDA-approved for permanent hair removal, laser hair removal touch ups are usually only needed every six to 12 months (if at all).
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Like chemical peels, lasers can be used to treat a variety of skin concerns ranging from superficial to deeply resurfacing depending on the strength of the product used. Generally speaking, lasers fall into two categories, non-wounding and wounding, and the results can be judged accordingly.
- Non-Ablative Laser Treatments: Non-wounding lasers like pulsed light, pulsed dye lasers, and fractional lasers do not remove layers of skin, which means an initial series of treatments spaced four to six weeks apart will be for best results. From there, treatment plans can be restarted or touch ups can be administered a couple times a year, as skin tone or texture concerns return.
- Ablative Laser Treatments: These wounding treatments include carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium lasers that remove the outer layers of skin. Typically used to correct concerns in one treatment (versus the many treatments needed with non-ablative devices), results last several years.
The collagen-inducing therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that stimulates the body's natural healing mechanisms to address skin concerns like laxity, fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, stretch marks, and pigmentation. Microneedles puncture the skin's surface to create micro wounds that activate collagen production. Combining microneedling with platelet-rich plasma or radiofrequency can boost the results, but a series of three to six treatments spaced four to six weeks apart is usually needed to see best results.
Botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) injections temporarily paralyze underlying muscles to prevent contraction and smooth the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles (think: crow's feet, horizontal forehead lines, and frown lines). While they are colloquially called 'Botox,' the Allergan-manufactured injectable is actually one of four approved by the FDA. Botox®, Dysport®, Jeuveau®, and Xeomin® each come from different pharmaceutical companies and have their own unique formulations, though each can be expected to last about three to four months.
If a non-surgical facelift is what you're after, thread lifts provide lifting and firming effects for six months to one year (i.e. until the threads dissolve). The goal of a thread lift is to reposition underlying skin tissue by weaving a dissolvable polypropylene thread in a cross-hatch or basket weave pattern under the targeted area to provide an immediate lifting effect, in addition to long term collagen stimulation.
Ultrasonic skin tightening, like Ultherapy®, utilizes concentrated ultrasound waves to create heat deep within the dermis that triggers the body's natural collagen and elastin production. Most patients only need one treatment to start and maintenance sessions beginning one- to two-years after the first procedure can sustain and improve the results.
Unlike cosmetic surgery, which often requires weeks or months of recovery time, many non-invasive procedures allow patients to enjoy results with little to no downtime. What non-surgical procedures lack in invasiveness, however, they often make up for in maintenance. In addition to needing a series of treatments in order to see results (think: three microneedling appointments spaced four to six weeks apart), routine touch ups (like going in for more Botox® every three to four months) will likely be needed. Consulting with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon will ensure you are on the best treatment plan for your needs.