When it comes to wedding prep, brides-to-be pay close attention to their beauty regimen, trading in their one-step cleansing routines for an array of products that promise glowing skin by their wedding day. And for those who really want to step up their skincare game, there are the splurge-worthy beauty treatments at the dermatologist's office. From lasers to micro-needling, the skin-perfecting options are seemingly endless, so we chatted with some of our favorite dermatologists to see what beauty treatments are trending among their bride-to-be clientele.
Ultimately, it's up to you and your dermatologist to decide on a treatment that meets your needs, but below are some dermatologist-approved beauty treatments that are ideal for brides.
1. Clear + Brilliant Laser
"This is my number one laser treatment for brides-to-be," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "The laser punches microscopic holes in the skin to create a controlled wound. It takes advantage of the skin’s ability to repair itself, creating new healthy collagen and improving skin tone, texture, and radiance."
While there is some discomfort during the treatment, it's temporary, and so is the virtually zero downtime. Dr. Zeichner explains that you will be red for a few hours after the treatment and afterward, you'll have minimal redness and a sandpaper-like feel to your skin for about a week. "The laser safely can be performed two weeks before the wedding to give your skin a glowing appearance on your big day," he says. He typically recommends a series of three treatments one month apart (the last one being 2 weeks before the wedding) and adds that the cost per treatment can range from $500 to $600.
2. Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal has always been popular among brides-to-be, and with new lasers hitting the market like the Lumenis LightSheer Desire recommended by New York City dermatologist Dr. Estee Williams, it's never been easier. "LightSheer Desire is a laser hair removal procedure that is truly state-of-the-art—the large handpiece can treat a hairy man's back in under eight minutes! With approximately four to six monthly sessions, you can expect almost all hair to be gone," she says.
"Laser hair removal works by using a beam of light that is absorbed by the pigment within the root of the hair follicle," explains Dr. Zeichner. "The heat generated by that beam of light destroys the follicle to permanently eliminate the hair." Since it can take a few sessions to permanently eliminate hair, it's important to start early, notes Dr. Zeichner. The cost for laser hair removal depends on the area being treated, but it can range from $250 for a small area, like lip and chin, to upwards of $500 for the bikini area or back. The price of laser hair removal is a splurge indeed, but Dr. Zeichner warns against looking for deals or coupons, to which Dr. Williams adds, "This [laser] is a medical device and laser hair removal is the number one cause of aesthetic lawsuits, so make sure you go to a well-reputed place—not where you get the best discount."
Non-invasive fat reduction is on the rise among brides-to-be, says Board Certified Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Deanne Robinson. "Lots of brides come in right after buying their dream dress looking to sculpt their figure to look and feel their best on their wedding day," she says. "Many brides come in asking to reduce the upper arm fat and are looking for a more toned upper body." Dr. Robinson suggests Coolsculpting specifically for the upper arms, noting that it can take two to three months to see full results, so timing is important.
"Coolsculpting is an FDA-approved treatment to reduce the fat of the upper arms and usually reduces the fat layer by about 20 percent after a single treatment." She explains that the process works by "freezing" fat and can range in price from $1500 to $3000 per treatment. "Fat doesn’t like extremes of temperatures so the extreme cold makes the fat inflamed and our body senses the inflammation and slowly digests the inflamed fat, resulting in the fat reduction." You can treat the area more than once, but Dr. Robinson suggests speaking with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to come up with a customized plan.
In-office micro-needling offers a deeper level of resurfacing to even out skin tone and achieve a radiant complexion, says Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "Microneedling works by stimulating collagen, resulting in smaller pores, reduction in fine lines, and improvement in scars to give a beautiful skin tone and texture."
To get the full benefits, Dr. Farber recommends micro-needling with PRP—also known as the "Vampire Facial"—which involves drawing blood to really amp up those skin-rejuvenating results. "The blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and growth factors—the liquid gold, so to speak—used for the micro-needling with PRP." To see the full benefits of micro-needling, with or without PRP, Dr. Farber says one to three treatments are needed. Pricing for the treatment can range from $600 to $1200, depending on whether it is done with platelet-rich plasma.
Ultherapy is the only FDA-cleared non-surgical ultrasound treatment for lifting and tightening skin on the brow, under the chin, and on the neck, and smoothing the décolletage. When it comes to the latter, Dr. Robinson says "Dress selection usually also leads to [Ultherapy] amongst brides." The ultrasound treatment uses ultrasound imaging, which allows physicians to see the layers of tissue that are being targeted for precise results.
"I like to treat the décolleté with Ultherapy, which is a micro-focused ultrasound treatment that helps speed up collagen production and improve the appearance of fine lines," she says. It can take three to six months to see the full effects of Ultherapy since the body needs to produce new collagen and elastin fibers, so timing is important for this treatment as well. Utlherapy is a one-and-done treatment and pricing for the chest can range from $1500 to $3500 per treatment according to Dr. Robinson.