Aesthetic Treatments

Injectable Wrinkle Reducers, Chemical Peels, and More In-Office Treatments You Can Get in Under an Hour

Portrait of a young woman through a window
Stocksy United / BONNINSTUDIO

Does not imply person featured in the photograph had any of the treatments mentioned in this article.

Whether you’re deciding when to do an in-office treatment or if you’ll do one at all, downtime is always a factor in planning. After all, three to five days spent recuperating can throw a wrench into even the breeziest work schedule. Sick days are probably better saved for the flu rather than a medical aesthetic treatment, anyway! 

The idea of an aesthetic treatment done over your lunch break holds a certain amount of appeal. It’s fast and convenient, and the downtime is minimal. That means you don’t have to rearrange your schedule — and you can head back to the office to get back to the grind right away. If that sounds irresistible, read on: we consulted with three dermatologists who revealed seven treatments that offer all these perks — as well as noticeable results. 

The Treatment: Clear + Brilliant® 

One of the gentler resurfacing lasers, Clear + Brilliant, is a favorite among derms and patients alike. “It’s our most popular laser for improving pores, texture, and brown spots, and has minimal downtime,” says Kristel Polder, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, TX. The discomfort is similarly minimal, so much so that most patients don’t need a numbing cream applied before the treatment — meaning it’s that much faster, too (as numbing can take require up to an hour).

Time Investment: 30 minutes. Most patients opt for a series of four sessions, with a month in between each appointment.

What the Downtime Is Like: You may see some redness and puffiness right after the treatment. According to Dr. Polder, after a few days, your face will feel like sandpaper, but that will usually resolve itself in about a week. After a week or two, you’ll notice more brightness and smoother texture. Just be especially diligent in using sunscreen, as this treatment makes skin more sensitive to sunlight.

The Treatment: Ultherapy®

With Ultherapy treatments, ultrasound tightens and lifts skin by stimulating collagen production within the dermis and the fascia. The latter is the deep layer of skin that plastic surgeons tighten during a facelift, says Francesca Ortenzio, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “Ultherapy leads to a beautiful [natural-looking], lifted jawline and face without ever breaching the skin barrier,” she explains. However, it can be painful, so dermatologists often use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to blunt the discomfort.

Time Investment: 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the area(s) being treated. Only one session is needed.

What the Downtime Is Like: Some redness and swelling is possible, but not so much that you have to hide indoors. That said, this isn’t the sort of treatment where you’ll see immediate results, either. As Ultherapy stimulates collagen production, the effects can take two to three months to become visible, says Dr. Ortenzio.

The Treatment: DiamondGlowTM

“[DiamondGlow] is a microdermabrasion treatment that targets skin [concerns] such as dullness,” says Marguerite Germain, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition, it can also address skin dryness and discoloration. It’s a three-in-one treatment that combines exfoliation, extraction, and serum infusion to boost skin’s radiance. She recommends getting it a week prior to a big event, like a wedding, to give skin a healthy glow.

Time Investment: About 30 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.

What the Downtime Is Like: There is minimal downtime involved, but your skin may look a little pink for a few hours afterwards. Dr. Germain advises against working out or applying makeup up to 24 hours after the treatment, too, so your pores stay clear. Added perk: It’s safe for all skin types.

The Treatment: Light Chemical Peel

If you think at-home chemical peels can transform your skin, wait until you try an in-office version. “Professional chemical peels can target acne and signs of aging, and can lessen hyperpigmentation by smoothing the top layer of the skin,” says Dr. Ortenzio, who’s a fan of the Alpha Beta® Professional Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross®. These professional peels are generally comprised of several acids, such as salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acid to exfoliate skin, lift dark spots, and stimulate collagen synthesis. Learn more about in-office peels here.

Time Investment: About 30 minutes. Light peels, which have a lower concentration of acids, take less time than deep peels of the whole face.

What the Downtime Is Like: There’s no downtime for light peels, although skin may look a little pink. The payoff is immediate, with skin looking smoother and more luminous, says Dr. Ortenzio.

The Treatment: Injectable Wrinkle Reducers

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — treatment with injectable wrinkle reducers is relatively quick, making it an ideal appointment to book over your lunch break. “Injectable wrinkle reducers work by blocking the signals from nerve endings to muscles in the area of treatment,” explains Dr. Ortenzio. “This translates to a reduction in the [activity] of the treated muscle, leading to a reduction in [the appearance of] wrinkles.” 

Editor's Note

Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. 

Time Investment: About 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the treatment areas, and whether or not you’ve already had a consultation with your licensed provider. Your repeat appointment should be booked no sooner than every three months.

What the Downtime Is Like: There’s minimal downtime, though the area may look a little red — and there’s always the risk of bruising and swelling. The results may start to kick in within a few days, with the full effects being apparent after a few weeks.

Young woman with white suit in outdoors.
Stocksy United / BONNINSTUDIO

Does not imply person featured in the photograph had any of the treatments mentioned in this article.

The Treatment: CoolSculpting® on Small Areas

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat freezing treatment — and many people who book an appointment say they can watch Netflix®, work remotely, or read during their appointments. “CoolSculpting can target love handles, saddlebags, abdominal fat, and bra fat,” explains Dr. Polder, as well as double chins, upper arms, and thighs. “The fat is cooled to an optimal patented temperature to induce apoptosis, or cell death of the [treated] fat cells, which are destroyed and eliminated by the body over time.”

Editor's Note

The CoolSculpting treatment is a non-invasive fat freezing treatment that effectively reduces fat in certain self-proclaimed “problem spots” in the submental and submandibular areas, thigh, abdomen, flank, and upper arm, along with bra fat, back fat, and underneath the buttocks (you know, those bulges that just won’t go away, regardless of how much you sweat it out on the treadmill). While it isn’t a weight loss solution, fat-freezing can reduce pouches of fat. As with any procedure, there are risks and side effects, so talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you.

Time Investment: About 35 to 60 minutes for areas on the smaller side, such as upper arms, love handles, bra fat, and double chins. Note that other areas may take longer, up to 120 minutes.

What the Downtime Is Like: After CoolSculpting, you may experience mild redness, bruising, soreness, and sensitivity where you received the treatment. The results take about one to two months to start to become visible, with full results in three to four months. Certain medical conditions may prevent CoolSculpting from being an option for you, so talk to be sure to discuss them with your provider. Read one writer’s experience getting CoolSculpting here to learn more.

The Treatment: Pulsed Dye Lasers

Lasers don’t always have downtime, even when you double up on them. “My favorite no-downtime laser combination is an Nd:Yag followed by a pulsed dye laser, such as VBeam Perfecta®,” says Dr. Ortenzio. The Nd:Yag only feels warm, while she compares VBeam® to a finger lightly flicking your skin. “These lasers synergistically stimulate the cells that create new, healthy collagen, leading to rejuvenation and tightening,” she explains. Pulse dye lasers are very effective for treating hyperpigmentation and rosacea, too.

The Time Investment: Up to 30 minutes. Three treatments with a month between each are recommended for the best results.

What the Downtime Is Like: No downtime is involved. Your skin might look a little pink, but this may subside. Patients may notice a glow immediately afterwards. “The tightening takes several weeks after the procedure to occur since the cells are being stimulated to produce more collagen,” says Dr. Ortenzio. Be sure to slather on sunscreen following any laser treatment, as it may make skin more sun-sensitive.

Dr. Marguerite Germain is a paid Allergan® consultant. 

DiamondGlowTM is an Allergan®-owned treatment.


DiamondGlowTM Important Safety Information

Indication and Use

The DiamondGlowTM device is indicated for general dermabrasion of the skin and also delivers topical cosmetic serums onto the skin.

Important Safety Information

DiamondGlowTM is contraindicated in patients who are pregnant or lactating, have compromised skin quality including but not limited to, sunburned, chapped, irritated or broken skin, open wounds, active, weeping acne, cold sores, or herpetic ulcers. Ask your patient about any medical conditions, including allergies, and usage of topical medication on the area to be treated.

Typical side effects include a scratchy, stinging sensation during the treatment and temporary tightness, redness or slight swelling after the treatment. Rare serious side effects may also occur and include severe skin irritation and allergic reactions. Cease use of the device immediately if any of these serious side effects are observed.

Patients should be advised to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher following treatment.

Consult the DiamondGlowTM User Manual for a complete list of Contraindications, Warnings, Precautions, and potential side effects.

Pro‐Infusion Serums Disclaimer

The Pro‐Infusion Serums are intended to meet the FDA’s definition of a cosmetic product, an article applied to the human body to cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, and alter appearances. These products are not intended to be drugs that diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. These products have not been approved by the FDA and the statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.