A Beginner’s Guide to Non-Invasive Beauty Procedures

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Photographer: Olivia Graham

We all have heard of non-invasive procedures like laser resurfacing and microdermabrasion, but what a lot of people don’t know is just how many non-invasive procedures are out there and the extent that they can better the way you look. Haute Living delves into the world of non-invasive cosmetic procedures and experience them firsthand, so we can report on what they accomplish.

“It seems like there is something new every day,” says Dr. Marina Peredo, owner of which has offices in NYC (1047 Park Ave.). “The non-invasive aspect of the work is wonderful because it allows people to use the science as a preventive measure to keep aging at bay.”

While many procedures are widely available at “medispas” and marketed through deal sites like Groupon, Dr. Peredo cautions against deal searching. “You want to be sure the person doing these procedures is knowledgeable,” she says. “Many of these devices, especially the lasers and ultrasound, have the capacity to harm as well as help. You also want to be sure that the person doing the procedure is educated in the aesthetics. This is not a one-size-fits-all business.”

Waiting Room at Rosenthal Apa Group
Waiting Room at Rosenthal Apa Group


At Skinfluence patients undergo BeautiPHIcation, a facial-mapping technique that precisely measures an individual’s features using a specialized caliper that follows Leonardo da Vinci’s mathematical principle of beauty. “Just because you want bigger lips does not mean they will look good on your face,” says Dr. Peredo. “It’s the doctor’s job to let you know that and show you what will work well for you.”

At Skinfluence clients experience their patented Firmatherapy procedure, which is two-fold: Ultherapy (which can take up to nine months to see the full effect) and a mix of fillers and toxins (which have an immediate effect). If you Google Ultherapy, you will find two things: Many people are happy with the lifting effect the procedure has, and that the procedure itself hurts. To combat the pain, it is advised that you take 800mg of Ibuprofen two hours before go time. Ultherapy utilizes focused ultrasound waves that penetrate deep into the skin, igniting collagen growth. This collagen generation lifts skin on the eyebrow, under the chin and on the neck.

I thought I had a pretty high pain tolerance, so I went to the appointment without the aid of medication. It was the wrong move. The wand used to do the Ultherapy looks like a smaller version of those used in medical ultrasound procedures, but the energy output is much higher. What starts out as an annoying tingle builds into real pain as the procedure continues, and soon your body begins to anticipate that pain. It was tough, but hey — no pain, no gain!

If I were to do it again (and I would), four Advil would do the trick. Once the procedure was over (about 90 minutes later), there was a little swelling for 24 hours and a bit of tenderness for about a week. That’s it. When you think of the payoff, it’s a no-brainer: A natural facelift that occurs gradually over six to nine months. Every morning you wake up, you look a little better. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is GOLD. One treatment is all you need, usually, and the results last for up to three years.

The next step for my Firmatherapy was a touch of Radiesse (a filler used to correct the “parentheses lines” around the mouth) and Xeomin, which works similar to Botox to paralyze muscles and smooth wrinkles. This was done about a month after the Ultherapy, so that my face could heal and any swelling could subside. “We like to do things little by little,” says Dr. Peredo. “It is always better to do too little than too much.”

The Radiesse shots were a little painful (the solution is thick, so the needle needs to be as well), but I hardly felt the Xeomin at all. Instead of placing the Radiesse into the parentheses lines around my mouth, Dr. Peredo did shots along my cheekbones to build them up and lift my face. It worked! The Xeomin went into the neck waddle, which also worked. Anyone planning to get fillers should note that swelling is significant the same day, so don’t count on re- turning to work or having a night on the town. By the next day, the swelling was not noticeable to anyone but myself, but my face felt stiff for a couple of more days, and a small bruise (easily covered by makeup) showed up a week later. If you bruise easily, try not to take any blood thinners (aspirin, Ibuprofen, fish oil, etc.) two weeks before your appointment.

Skinfluence’s Dr. Marina Perado
Skinfluence’s Dr. Marina Perado


Many of us were not as conscientious with sun protection as we should have been when we were young, and as a result we have skin discolorations. IPL can solve the issue in three to six sessions. Google IPL and the horror stories are plentiful, and for good reason: The IPL laser is strong and can burn in the wrong hands. “The laser we use today for IPL is a great step up from those used in the past,” says Kinga Bagnowska, general manager at Lucy Peters Aesthetic Center in NYC (150 East 58th St.). “It has a narrower wavelength and is less powerful, but it is still very hot, so you need to make sure the practitioner is well-trained. In addition, the patient has a greater responsibility than ever before. They need to follow instructions or the outcome will not be what they want.”

Bagnowska treated my sun-spotted décolleté with the IPL laser (you need to be sure that no retinol products are used on the area to be treated for a week prior). Treatment duration was about 15 minutes and did indeed feel hot, but because the laser was constantly moving, it was at no time uncomfortable. An ice pack was placed on the area after the treatment was completed, and I left the gorgeous midtown office with strict instructions not to expose the area to sun for two weeks (sun exposure after IPL will cause hyperpigmentation) and to stay well-moisturized. The treated area lightened, gradually, for a week after the treatment. To see the full effects, three or four more treatments would be necessary.


Think of Laser Genesis as an enhanced facial. Normally performed in regular spas, the treatment is ideal for many skin types and is especially effective for those with enlarged pores, mild to moderate acne scarring, diffuse redness and uneven texture. We went to Skin Spa in Union Square (55 West 21st St.), which is just one of the company’s NYC locations. You will need to buy a package of four to six treatments (usually spaced two weeks apart) to fully benefit. Google Laser Genesis and you will read that the feeling of the treatment is one of lying in the sun. We had a hotter experience than that. At first, the heat felt from the laser was downright alarming, but once you get used to it, it’s fine. You might feel pops of heat as well as slight sizzling sound.

After five treatments, my skin was more even toned, plumped and healthier looking. After the procedure my skin was slightly red, but that lasted for only an hour and could have been easily covered with a little makeup.


This was the easiest treatment of the bunch that we experienced. We walked into the lovely, yet tiny, Wellpath Center on the Upper East Side (903 Madison Ave.), lay down on a comfy table in a quiet sunlit room, was fitted with four small battery-pack-sized devices, covered with a light blanket, then left alone for 20 minutes. Once the procedure is complete, you’re up and out, with instructions to exercise for 30 minutes (I walked briskly downtown). So easy you almost can’t believe it, but know that the i-Lipo does not destroy the fat calls but tricks them into emptying their contents, which means that they can fill up again. Four treatments will make one or two dress sizes disappear for that big event or vacation.

Before and After Firmatherapy at Skinfluence
Before and After Firmatherapy at Skinfluence


“As you age, you tend to show more of the lower teeth and less of the upper,” says Dr. Michael Apa, co-principal at Rosenthal Apa Group (30 East 76th St.). “Easy to correct, but you need to take the entire face into consideration.” The natural law of beauty is the Golden Proportion, an essential component in creating the perfectsmile,accordingtoApa. gyoursmileintobalanceiskey,andthatbalance changes as you age. By giving your smile a lift, you can see additional changes to the mouth, including less visible smile lines, a lift to the upper lip and more support to the lower face.

A visit with Dr. Apa is a breeze. The office is lovely and hip. Once in the chair, you can plug into the TV mounted on the ceiling and go to whatever happy place is calling you as Dr. Apa sculpts your new look by hand (and ultraviolet light). During the 15-minute “smile restoration,” Dr. Apa balances your features by reshaping teeth to fit more harmoniously with the face. Once the look you love is achieved, photos and molds are taken. When the temporary structures are removed, you’re on to lunch or whatever else you have planned that day.

“The difference between the veneers that we do and those you get elsewhere is that ours are much thinner,” Dr. Apa says. “We only do the minimum to prep the teeth, so the supporting structure is maintained.”


Kybella is a brand-new, FDA-approved injectable that does away with the double chin easily and with no downtime. Kybella is a non-human, non-animal derived version of deoxycholic acid, which is a naturally occurring material, found in all of us that helps breakdown fat and absorb it. It is injected into the neck and over the next three to four weeks, the acid breaks down the fat. “It is one of the most exciting offerings we have had in a while,” says Dr. Sachin M. Shridharani, who owns the NYC practice Luxurgery (800A 5th Ave.). “What this injectable does under the chin is wonderful, and the off-label possibilities are also pretty amazing.”

Like Dr. Peredo and Bagnowska, Dr. Shridharani cautions those who might want to look for a deal. “There are many places offering injectables, laser treatments and fillers at a cut-rate, but you really want to be sure to investigate who you are going to,” he says. “Anyone can inject Botox, but if you don’t know how the underlying bone and muscle of the face works, you run the risk of doing more harm than good.”

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Treatment Room at Lucy Peters