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April 20, 2012

Lunchtime Tune-ups

It's amazing what you can get done in an hour! These quick doctor's office treatments will have you back at work looking brighter, younger, slimmer, and more refreshed.

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Revive your complexion

The treatment: LED facial
What it does: An LED treatment—often tacked on to a medical facial—involves sitting in front of a bank of light-emitting diodes (low-level lights) for 35 seconds. As Star Trek-y as it sounds, it really works, insists New York dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler. "LEDs have amazing anti-inflammatory benefits to decrease redness, rosacea, and irregular pigmentation." (It's a derm secret for getting rid of a sunburn.)
Time commitment: An LED treatment itself lasts 35 seconds; medical facials are about an hour.
Maintenance: One or two times a week for eight weeks, then once-a-month follow-ups as needed.
Cost: Medical facials run $100 to $500. Solo LED is $100 to $150 per session.

The treatment: Low-energy fractionated laser resurfacing (Clear + Brilliant, Fraxel re:fine)
What it does: "This type of laser works on a shorter, more superficial wavelength to resurface and smooth skin texture and reduce discoloration. It also penetrates deep enough to stimulate some collagen production," explains Washington, D.C. dermatologist Dr. Melda Isaac. "It's perfect for someone in her 20s or 30s who doesn't have a lot of wrinkling or sun damage." Says Wexler: "Consider it a light laser peel."
Time commitment: 15 minutes.
Maintenance: Recommended seasonally (four times a year).
Cost: $250 to $500 per session.

Zap dark spots

The treatment: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
What it does: IPL pulses the skin with a range of light wavelengths that target red and brown discoloration. If you have dark skin or significant freckling, however, skip IPL at lunch. "Any light energy that zones in on melanin can make brown spots turn much darker before they eventually peel off, and it can trigger pigmentation problems in darker skin types," says Dr. Ellen Marmur, vice chair of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at NYC's Mount Sinai Medical Center. In most cases, your skin will be slightly pink for only a few minutes afterward. "I have people come in once a month for a lunchtime IPL treatment," says Washington, D.C. dermatologist Dr. Tina Alster, "because it improves blotchiness and redness, and brightens the skin in general."
Time commitment: 15 to 30 minutes.
Maintenance: An initial series of three to five treatments, followed by touch-ups every year.
Cost: $300 to $500 per session.

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