How can I look 10-years younger–without surgery?

A dermatologist to the stars reveals the non-invasive treatments that really work.

Meet Dr. Howard Sobel at the Beauty Bash, Oct. 1-2 in New York City.

“Most women in their 50s do not need a facelift.”

So says cosmetic dermatologist Howard Sobel, a New York MD who’s gained a cult following among women who want to look tighter and smoother, without going under the knife. One conversation with Sobel and it’s clear that this is a man who’s passionate about his job. If you’ve ever witnessed a football fan discussing his Fantasy team, you get a sense of what Dr. Sobel sounds like when he talks about laser treatments. Here, he discusses the latest non-invasive treatments that “really work.”

  • FOF: When it comes to their faces, many FOFs are particularly interested in non-invasive anti-aging treatments–creams, lasers, facials and so on. Which ones work the best?
    • Dr. Sobel: I know we’ve all heard this, but the very best anti-aging regimen starts with prevention. Stay out of the sun and use a sunscreen properly. That means putting a full teaspoon on your face every day and re-applying every 2-3 hours if you’re outside. SPF 30 is probably enough (there’s not a big difference in protection when it goes above 30).
  • Is there a specific brand that you recommend in your own practice?
    • Well, we created our own line, DDF, which is now owned by P&G. It’s good, but there are a lot of good sunscreens on the market. Just make sure it blocks UVA and UVB rays.
  • Okay, so what about the woman for whom the damage is done. Now what?
    • Right, so once you have that sun damage, you’re naturally going to lose elasticity in your skin. You get fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmented areas where skin becomes irregular, rough and lumpy. There are amazing lasers for that.
  • Let’s start with the least involved! Are there any creams that work?
    • There are some topicals that will get rid of the uneven pigmentation–somewhat. The key ingredient is hydroquinone. Some people are a little afraid of hydroquinone because there were studies connecting it to cancer in mice. But we know now that hydroquinone is very safe and there’s nothing wrong with using it. The trouble is, it doesn’t always work.
  • Tell me about the lasers.
    • The one I like is the Fraxel Dual laser–1927 wavelength. It really removes the sun damage…brown spots, uneven skin, etc. It’s terrific. You’ll need one or two treatments, depending on how much sun damage you have, and there’s no downtime. You might get what looks like a little cat scratch right afterward–you can cover it with makeup.
  • How much does that cost and how long does it last?
    • Not costly by laser treatment standards. It’s $1500 per treatment, and the results last as long as it takes for you to re-damage you skin through sun exposure. Also, it’s a laser that really works. There are a lot of lasers out there that promise to do everything–and do nothing.
  • Does that also get rid of wrinkles and sagging?
    • Yes, you can set that same laser to a different wavelength, and it removes wrinkles and fine lines and tightens the skin. I think it’s most effective to get rid of the pigmentation first and then have the patient come back in two or three months to have the wrinkles done. Some doctors will put the laser up to half strength and do a little of each, but I find that doesn’t work as well.
    • Another great laser for skin tightening is the eMax. It actually goes below the skin and tightens the collagen fibers and stimulates the collagen. It gives the skin back its elasticity.
  • What are other laser procedures really work?
    • The ulthera laser–it’s actually ultrasound, not a laser–tightens skin and stimulates the fibroblasts to make collagen.
    • And the C02 laser works well to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. C02 lasers used to have several weeks of recovery time, but now we have C02 lasers called fractional C02s which have very little downtime–they’re excellent.
  • You’re known for doing “facelifts” with injectibles. Can you tell me about that?
    • It used to be that if you had a little loose skin, and you wanted to look younger, plastic surgeons were very keen on doing facelifts–earlier than later. But now most people believe that volume creates a younger face. A surgical facelift causes the skin to get pulled, and if you don’t put volume back, you look like you got caught in a wind tunnel. So you don’t have loose skin anymore, but you don’t necessarily look better–you just look like someone who had surgery. Injectables like Juvederm, Radiesse, etc, create volume.
  • I know that injectables can fill in wrinkles, but if you have sagging skin and jowls, do they really help?
    • Yes, they absolutely lift. For example, I’ll inject filler on top of your cheekbone, and that creates volume that actually lifts the skin on your cheek. It’s like re-draping a shirt on a hanger. I do a very popular procedure called “The Trifecta” which involves three types of injectables–Botox, Radiesse and hyaluronic acid. The results are comparable to a facelift. Wrinkles and lines are smoothed and sagging skin is actually lifted and tightened.
  • What is the Botox for? That’s not really a filler, right?
    • Nothing works better to get rid of dynamic lines than Botox. Your crows feet, your worry lines, the wrinkles on your chin. No matter how much filler I use on those, they’ll keep coming back because you’ll keep creasing the skin. Botox actually stops the muscle from moving so the creasing stops. Unfortunately, you have to do it every 3 or 4 or 5 months, but, like I said, nothing works better.
  • So who is a good candidate for “The Trifecta”–or any “injectables” lift?
    • That’s for someone who wants to look younger and fresher, but doesn’t want surgery. Patients literally can walk out and look ten years younger.
  • What are the limitations of these non-surgical procedures? In other words, when do you refer a patient to a plastic surgeon?
    • Between the lasers and injectables there’s so much you can do. And I think the biggest mistake you can make is doing too much. But once you get into your 60s and the skin around the neck area starts to hang, you probably will need the knife to get rid of it. Filler won’t be enough. But just cutting, without filler, isn’t enough either. Because these days, the trend is to do a lift and then still add volume back in.
  • What is the biggest mistake women over 50 make when it comes to their faces?
    • Of course, spending too much time in the sun. The other thing is, women come in and have cutting and pulling procedures a little earlier than they needed to. They wind up with their eyes up near their scalp. Too much surgery is much worse than no surgery at all. Start with the simplest procedures and work your way up.
  • What non-invasive procedures on the horizon are you most excited about?
    • Injections and topicals that can actually turn on individual cells to increase collagen production and give us back our youth. Or that can inhibit the enzymes that stop collagen production. There are are topicals now with stem cells and dermal growth factors but they don’t work yet. They just don’t penetrate the skin. And this is something you have to be careful with, because any factor that encourages cell growth might encourage a cancerous cell to grow–like a melanoma. I don’t know when it will be ready, but that’s the future.
Dr. Howard Sobel, MD
Dermatologic SurgeonDr. Howard Sobel, MD, is a Board Certified Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgeon and the first editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology. He is recognized by both New York Magazine and the Castle Connolly Guide on How To Find the Best Doctors in the New York, Metropolitan Area as one of New York’s premier cosmetic dermatologic surgeons for eleven consecutive years.

0 Responses to “How can I look 10-years younger–without surgery?”

  1. ahuston says:

    The product that has made a huge difference for me is NeriumAD. Mainly in the lines around the mouth, but also on my forehead and the goalposts between my eyebrows. All natural, made to pharmaceutical standards, and exponentially better than anything else! I was so impressed that I became a Brand Partner. Learn more about it and see lots of before-and-after photos at

  2. Dreamatology says:

    I think I’m on to something with Rodan Fields Dermatologists and their new micro-channel roller that puts a peptide and retinol night serum beneath the skins surface. You use it at home and it’s working so well I decided to go to work for them and be a rep so I can share with my friends. They love it. It’s featured in this month’s issue of InStyle.. If you’re still looking for something, send me a message… I can hook you up.. as they say!

  3. Rockyred says:

    I pride myself on being up to date with all the current, non-invasive treatments. Add a new one to my list! I’m 50, I’m Fabulous, but the signs of hereditary ‘jowelage’ is forming – no knives please. Thanks for this, great news!

  4. BraGuru says:

    The ultimate way to get rid of extra skin and immediately shave 10 years off is with the Bring It Up Facelift Tape. It is truly amazing. I am the bra guru for FOF and I work for Bring It Up…I don’t push our products when people ask me about bras because I don’t think it is professional but I had to jump in and say that the Bring It Up tapes are terrific. We have been in business for 10 years and we have customers who have been buying the tapes monthly for that whole time. FOF should do a review of them. Cher uses them and a whole HOST of other celebrities who don’t let us tell their names. They work and they are inexpensive–$20 for 64 pieces of this medical grade, custom shaped tape! FOF you need to get this word out!

  5. twoolson says:

    I thought you were going to discuss the great Treatment Products that are Non-Invasive…like the great breakthrough treatments that Avon has come out with! The treatment creams are absolutely great and they DO WORK!!! There are some for every problem and the newest Avon ANEW Genics is just WOW! Check them out and let me know how they work for you!!! You can see them at my website twoolson thanks!

  6. MJH says:

    This article mainly addresses treatments provided by a dermatologist marketing his services.

    Dr. Sobel details laser and prescription-only chemical treatments which fall within a dermatologist’s practice. The article provides scant information about over-the-counter products which would minimize the appearance of aging. It’s not particularly helpful to those of us lured by the title of the article.

  7. aldingerc says:

    I have tried Avon products and I have not had great results. They don’t work.

  8. twoolson says:

    Recently? This year? Breakthrough products came out this year…genics next month. Proven results!!!

  9. tomiered62 says:

    I know I cant and I dont think a lot of us can afford these treatments you are talking about!We or I was hopeing you were going to give your advice on nonsurgical treatments,such as the best creams and lotions etc.You should have just taken out a full page of advertising,oops!You did!!!

    • Debbie says:

      One of the best things you can do (which I did at 55), is to go see a dermatologist to begin a Retinol and Vitamin C topical treatment. As a baby boomer skin damage was the norm. The topical treatment was amazing and I did look 10 years younger. I liked this interesting read and I appreciate hearing what is new. For the money, nothing over the counter imho beats the prescription grade and I know the fillers help keep the face looking more full and younger longer term. Good luck

  10. jdg says:

    I agree. The title of the article is very misleading, I was hoping for FAB over FIFTY over the-counter news! He seems like a very good Doctor and you helped him get the word out about HIS practice, but unfortunately no help for those of us who aren’t ready for lasers and the like.

  11. jr756xray says:

    Laser surgery is non-invasive as there is no cutiing involved.
    Creams aren’t really mentioned as they really do not work!
    The key word in advertising is “reducing the appearance” of wrinkles – not eliminating them. Also, the pictures of women used for the ads – they must be 20 years old!!! How would they have any wrinkles!!!

  12. says:

    Tell us more. I am interested in something that is inexpensive and works! Where does one get info?

  13. linaperl says:

    HI there – I interviewed Dr. Sobel for this article. I understand what you’re saying. We didn’t go into the typical topicals because most people would argue they aren’t going to make you look ten years younger or give you the same results as a facelift. However, I appreciate your comment! We will definitely do a follow-up story about the less-expensive topical products that actually can improve your skin.

  14. linaperl says:

    glad you liked the article! It was fun interviewing Dr. Sobel…he’s got a lot of great advice. thanks for your sweet comment 🙂
    (FOF Editor)

  15. linaperl says:

    Hi MJH – I interviewed Dr. Sobel for this article. I do understand your point. The idea was for him to talk about the treatments that he likes most, but I realize it would be disappointing if you were looking to learn about the drugstore or department store creams that also work. We’ll be sure to address that in a future article…but perhaps one that doesn’t promise “facelift” results 🙂

  16. linaperl says:

    I interviewed Dr. Sobel for this article and I appreciate what you’re saying. I can honestly say that there was no ad placement here–we just thought Dr. Sobel would have good advice since he’s a popular doctor here in NY. That said, I understand that if you are looking for advice on creams and lotions, this isn’t it. We’ll be sure to address that in a future article. Thanks for your comments.

  17. Dreamatology says:

    I wasn’t sure how to post results pictures, like before and afters, so if it’s okay, I included a link where you can see what the combination of a Micro-Channel technology night renewing serum from Drs. Rodan Fields did for Cynthia’s wrinkles (at home)… Here you go: I’m just so thrilled what’s happened to my friend, I wanted to share. Based on this, I became a rep, so I have more info. I think you can email me on FoF if you have questions….

  18. cathsfifty says:

    Please let me know more about this product!

  19. urokim2 says:

    years ago. I forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder. The strips of clear tape does indeed work. I wear hair (bangs) over my forehead, and would use the small strips to bring up the eye area. I used the tape either under my ears or above my ears to help tighten the skin around my mouth and jaw. I’ll be ordering this asap. With a divorce and raising teenagers, my memory isn’t what it used to be. lol

  20. BraGuru says:

    I just created a promo code for you to use to get $10 off a purchase of $20 or more. Use Promo Code FAB50 at checkout. Anyone else who is interested can use it too.

  21. BraGuru says:

    Hi, I created a promo code for you but I think it got attached ahead of you. Check it out.

  22. marla_j98 says:

    I don’t, but I wish I had the money to get an undereye lift, which would remove the “circles” under my eyes, and an upper eye lift which, with age, has sagged, making my eyes look much smaller than they were before. I would love a tummy tuck and either lipo or the new “fat burning injections” that remove thigh fat. I really also need a knee lift, and last thing on my wish list is a small amount of breast enhancement. I had two cancer lumps removed (one on each breast), and this caused decreased size and more drooping than was there before the removal. I’m sure others can relate to some of these. I don’t want a changed look, but just a return to what I had before the effects of aging. :o)


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