Cosmetology (procedures centered on physical aesthetics) relates to disciplines like hairdressing and surgical procedures in addition to esthetics (skin care). These practices date back to the prehistoric era, when early modern humans used natural pigments from fruit and plants to decorate their faces and bodies.

From the 1800s onwards, cosmetic surgery was introduced to the world of esthetics, although procedures were often conducted by underqualified surgeons. Advancements in technology and stricter regulations in addition to less invasive techniques have since made cosmetic treatments safer and far more effective.

In addition to at-home beauty tech, skin concerns can also be addressed using specialist treatments offered at places like the Luxe Room in Denver and Boulder Colorado, who offer a range of bespoke cosmetic treatments ranging from cosmetic injectables to signature facial treatments. This is a guide to the types of treatments available and how they can address various skin concerns.

Popular Types of Cosmetic Treatment

Surgical treatments 

While the two both aim to improve the look of the face and body, plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are different. The first is intended to also restore functionality to the body, while cosmetic surgery is based entirely around aesthetics, making it non-elective (not considered medically necessary and so tends not to be covered by health insurance).

If considering this route, take time to find a licensed, professional surgeon and make sure that your motivations are healthy. This means that you have realistic expectations and are not attempting to resolve deeper mental or emotional issues that may be better resolved with a licensed therapist.

Laser 

The word “laser” is in fact an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”, a term used to describe a single wavelength source of high energy light focused onto a specific area. There are two main types used: ablative lasers treat the surface of the skin (epidermis), while non-ablative lasers focus deeper without affecting the epidermis.

Lasers can be used for a multitude of cosmetic treatments including hair removal and anti-aging procedures, in addition to the removal of skin tags, tattoos, scars and veins contributing to redness around the cheeks and nose.

Botox

Botox  is a type of neurotoxin designed to prevent the release of acetylcholine, a chemical transmitter that attaches to the receptors of muscle cells, causing them to contract. It’s typically used to treat wrinkles, and when injected into the skin (intradermally), this temporarily paralyzes the muscle, reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming. 

Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions such as eye disorders, muscular spasms or stiffness, overactive bladders and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). The effects of botox are temporary, lasting for around three to twelve months.  

Humidifiers

These devices (typically used in the home) add moisture to the surrounding air. In addition to a number of medical conditions such as cold and flu symptoms they are also reported to help improve dry skin conditions, particularly if used in conjunction with a cream-based moisturizer layered over a serum containing hyaluronic acid.

The type of humidifier you choose will depend on things like available budget and space, but if you are using one specifically to treat dry skin, a small portable cool mist model may be useful, as opposed to steam vaporizers, which can be a burn risk, especially if you have any children or pets in your home. 

Skin-needling

Also known as collegiate induction therapy or microneedling, this is a minimally-invasive technique used to rejuvenate the skin through creating channels, or “micro-wounds” which should close after 10 minutes if the procedure is done correctly. 

These micro injuries target small blood vessels and superficial collagen strands, stimulating the production of new capillaries, elastin and collagen to strengthen the skin. Skin-needling can be used to treat scars, stretchmarks, wrinkles and pigmentation issues like melasma, but it is not advisable to do this at home, especially with derma-rollers (as these can drag on the skin’s surface, causing damage).

LED Light Therapy

Initially used by Navy SEALS to treat wounds, LED (Light emitting diode) light therapy can also be used to treat inflammation and acne in addition to having reputed anti-aging effects. Treatments tend to take around 20 minutes and frequency may vary depending on personal needs.

LED light treatment uses a variety of wavelengths or frequencies. These include red (infrared) light, which targets the outer layer of the skin to stimulate collagen production and reduce inflammation, and blue light therapy, which affects overactive sebaceous (or oil) glands while reducing acne-causing bacteria and scarring.

While a relatively safe procedure (since it does not contain UV rays), LED light therapy may pose a risk to those using accutane or other products that increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. 

Home LED treatments such as masks are available, although they are lower frequency than salon treatments. As with any cosmetic treatment, it’s important to first consult your doctor about any potential risks or side effects and to ensure that it’s safe for you to use.

The Future of Beauty Tech

Where once skincare marketers could attempt to sway consumers with pseudoscience, greater access to information online has made consumers more discerning about the products and treatments they use. This demand for the use of evidence-based science and technology in skincare is driving further developments in beauty technology.

Beauty Tech, Home and Away 

Pandemic lockdowns saw an increase in beauty devices for home use. In addition to LED light masks, skin-toning devices, ultrasonic cleansers and ionic facial steamers. Not all treatments are suitable for use at home – but now that clinics have reopened, dermatologist-only treatments including hydradermabrasion, water jet exfoliation and laser facials are all likely upcoming trends.

Transparent Supply Chains

This leads into another ongoing trend for more ethical, sustainable practices across multiple industries including the health and beauty sector, with some suggesting “smart contracts” as a way to offer consumers transparent information on the supply chain journey of their chosen product.

Personalization

Another fast-developing trend is for “status skincare”, or personalized regimes that make use of only the ingredients necessary for optimal skin health, depending on individual needs. To assess the condition of your skin you can also use smart skincare devices to assess the health of your skin using AI, though the accuracy of these products is still up for debate.

Virtual Reality

Elsewhere, VR technology looks set to play a major role as beauty brands venture into the metaverse. While this is still in its initial experimental stages, there is ample scope for ways to enhance the consumer experience, from community building to stores offering skincare recommendations online. 

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