Beauty Insider Wendy Lewis

When the VIPs of the world decide it’s time to fill, nip, or tuck, cosmetic-surgery consultant Wendy Lewis and her company, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, is their first call. We asked the pro about the most promising news in treatments—some FDA-­ green-lighted, others anxiously awaited.


FILLERS The News: Edging out the competition among the new pack of hyaluronic acid fillers is Belotero, from Merz Aesthetics (creators of Radiesse). The general consensus is that this gel leaves a smoother-looking appearance than its predecessors (Juvéderm, Restylane, and Perlane). Lewis’s Take: “The differences are subtle, but the doctors I’ve spoken to in Europe really like it. One main advantage is Belotero’s softer formulation, which doctors think will be useful in the tear trough area, which is tough to treat. The main disadvantage now is that it isn’t available with lidocaine, a local anesthetic.”

SPOT TREATMENTS The News: Hydroquinone creams or standing laser and chemical peels have been the most effective way to fight hyperpigmentation—­until now. Syneron’s new nonirritating topical cream, elure, uses melanozyme, a proprietary enzyme that directly targets dark spots and breaks up already-formed melanin clusters. Lewis’s Take: “Elure is safe for all skin tones, has no side effects, and can be paired with laser treatments and even hydroquinone. You have to consistently use the product, though—once you stop, it’s back to baseline.”

ADVANCED LIFTING The News: Derms are raving about the radio frequency tissue-­tightening device Exilis, thanks in large part to its temperature sensor. It lets them know exactly how deeply heat is penetrating the skin, allowing for more precise fat contouring. And unlike its rival treatment, Thermage, patients won’t need topical anesthesia or painkillers for what doctors are calling a painless procedure. Though it’s FDA approved only for lifting and tightening, studies focusing on its body-contouring capabilities are being conducted. Lewis’s Take: “All the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs from devices like Exilis start to look the same, but at the end of the day there are people who absolutely do not want to have surgery, and these procedures are really popular with them.”

FAT ELIMINATION The News: Kythera’s ATX-101 (its company code name) is a chemical injectable undergoing clinical trials in Europe and the U.S. Because of its ability to target fat cells, it seems poised to become the holy grail of fat melting. Lewis’s Take: “There’s minimal downtime, and the idea of being able to noninvasively shrink the presence of fat deposits in a certain area—like under the neck—is very exciting. Who doesn’t want that?”

KINDER, GENTLER INJECTIONS The News: Needlephobes who’d rather keep their wrinkles than face daunting syringes should look out for the release of Restylane Vital and Juvéderm Hydrate. Both hyaluronic acid fillers are injected via tiny needles, which doctors overseas are using on the backs of hands and around the eyes. These are great for someone who needs less than a full-fill job but more than a potent moisturizer. Lewis’s Take: “When it becomes available here, it will be great for people with fine, sun-damaged skin, but it’s not for deep wrinkles. It’s temporary, but it really hydrates the skin—another option for someone who doesn’t need or want a long-term filler and just wants to try something on for size.”

Model: Richard Burbridge/Art & Commerce