Subjecting your face to frigid air or pricking it with teeny needles seems drastic, but these extreme exploits may offer impressive results.
A new beauty treatment can accelerate cell turnover and detoxify pores for a brighter and clearer look. But you knew that. What's surprising is that the effects go beyond skin deep, rejuvenating your mind and instilling a sense of confidence that shows up on your face. "When you actively seek out and try something in the interest of looking your best, you raise your self-esteem and lower stress levels—which are both ways to generate radiance," says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a psychiatrist and dermatologist in New York City. The treatments we cover here are brand new (scientists haven't conducted long-term studies on them, so we played guinea pigs). Here's what we learned.
The name of this beauty trend is misleading: These are tattoos. On your face. But if you fill in your brows every day, you'll think microblading (which starts at $600) is a stroke of genius. The process can give you the fullest, most beautiful brows, and they last for six months to three years (the semipermanent pigment fades faster if you have oily skin). Your first step is to find a technician you trust. "Look for someone with strong referrals and before-and-after photos that show both brows head-on, so you can judge the symmetry," says Piret Aava, a certified aesthetician in New York City. After a consultation to determine shape and color, the technician uses a hand tool to make little cuts in the skin and deposit pigment to look like brow hairs. You'll be numbed, but it still feels like someone is scratching you with a needle. (Hate needles? Consider this brow treatment.) The cuts then scab, and the pigment will oxidize to a very dark hue, which you'll have to live with for up to a week because you have to keep the area dry while it heals, Aava says. This means you can't sweat heavily either. For many people, putting up with temporary Groucho Marx brows to then have perfect arches 24-7 is well worth it.
You may have heard of cryotherapy for the body, which involves hanging out in a subzero chamber for a few minutes to help reduce inflammation (and supposedly burn a ton of calories). The theory is that the extreme cold makes your body churn out more blood and oxygen than usual to promote healing. Experts are now localizing the freezing treatment to your face with a cryotherapy facial, aka frotox (cost: $45), which blasts the area with a stream of minus-250-degree liquid nitrogen to rejuvenate skin. The technician keeps the air moving around so you won't experience the intense cold associated with cryotherapy. In fact, it feels refreshing and will immediately reduce any puffiness you have, says Mila Joura, the owner of the Fuel Stop in New York City, which offers the facial for $45. This makes sense: Chilly temperatures cause the blood vessels in your skin to constrict so skin looks more evenly toned. With regular sessions, you may also experience tighter and smoother skin.
Having your skin pricked repeatedly with needles isn't your typical facial treatment, but many people find the results worth the weirdness (and numbing cream masks the discomfort). During a session (which starts at $200), a pen-shaped device with multiple needles at its tip is rolled along or stamped into the skin deep enough to draw blood. (Skip microneedling if you have this skin problem.) "This creates micro-injuries that spark increased cell turnover and collagen and elastin production while the skin is naturally healing itself," says Sejal Shah, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City and a contributor to the cosmetic treatment website RealSelf. "A few months after the treatment, we hope to see an improvement in pore size, acne scars, fine lines, texture, and even hyperpigmentation." Immediately afterward, most people have mild irritation and redness for a couple of hours, then they can get on with the rest of their day. Within a few days, though, you'll notice a brighter, smoother complexion.