From lip injections to laser facials, non-invasive aesthetic procedures that deliver natural results — dubbed “tweakments” — are on the rise. Since journalist Alice Hart-Davis published The Tweakments Guide: Fresher Face in 2019, the idea that nips and tucks are pure vanities has started to melt away (as has the judgment surrounding them). No longer a closed-door secret, hardly anyone bats an eye if you mention a Botox appointment in 2022. “Tweakments are generally now seen as being a positive part of self-care, and a normal part of our care routines,” says Cara Fonteyne, RN and vice president of nursing at SkinSpirit.
According to experts, there are a few reasons why tweakments have recently exploded in popularity. The most obvious: Many people have spent the last couple of years staring at their reflections more than they ever have before. “We have seen more patients ask for skin-tightening treatments, which could be because so many have seen themselves on Zooms over the past two years,” says Dr. Steve Fallek, board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of BeautyFix MedSpa. “Patients are seeing what they consider ‘flaws’ [when] they look at themselves throughout the day on virtual calls.” He adds that tweakments have also extended past the face, with many patients “looking to tone and tighten the body with non-invasive treatments.”
Fonteyne also notes that the tweakment category has grown “tremendously” over the last decade. “In previous years, many of these treatments were perceived as something reserved for the elite,” Fonteyne tells Bustle. “Now, I think social media has brought it to the mainstream and normalized the conversations around these treatments. This works as a positive cycle, where the more experiences we have and share with each other, the more they lose their stigma.” (Of course, there are some negative consequences as well, such as low self-esteem and body dysmorphia.) Some derms, plastic surgeons, and estheticians have even amassed six-figure followings of their own on Instagram and TikTok, taking viewers behind the scenes and lifting the veil of exclusivity.
Non-invasive treatments are also appealing because, unlike more intensive procedures like facelifts and Brazilian butt lifts, they’re generally undetectable and relatively no (or low) pain and all gain; a tweakment won’t take you out of commission for a long period of time, but will give you glowing skin, a more toned physique, and an overall more youthful appearance. When it comes to tweakments, there are two categories. Fonteyne says that there are a few treatments that “deliver on skin maintenance, help with overall glow, and might be considered painless, with no recovery time.” These include things like DiamondGlow facials and dermaplaning treatments, which are highly tolerable for almost everyone.
“Each individual is different. One patient may get a HydraFacial and have no redness and another person may see redness based on skin sensitivity, so there is not a treatment that we can guarantee has zero recovery time,” says Fallek. Still, he notes that these milder tweakments are great options for those who want to avoid anesthesia or using a week or more to dedicate to recovery.
Then, there’s the other side of the tweakment spectrum for those looking for longer-lasting or more significant results — usually involving injections or high-tech machinery. Though the downtime is still minimal, the treatment itself can involve some pain and discomfort. “The reason some treatments are effective is because they address deeper structures and trigger skin healing, which means they also have more downtime,” she says. “When it comes to pain, even something as commonly done as Botox involves needle pricks, which most people find very tolerable but can be challenging for some.” The takeaway is that there is usually a correlation between downtime, pain, and efficacy, says Fonteyne.
Overall, Fonteyne’s 20-plus years of experience have taught her that a well-rounded regimen for healthy aging includes quality skin care, not just appointments with pros. “[The industry] is a symphony of tools that contribute to overall skin health and appearance,” she says. “A regimen of medical-grade skin care over the course of many years has contributed to my overall skin health and slowed down the aging process for me.”
Here, Fonteyne and Fallek tell Bustle all about the most popular non-invasive treatments right now. Read on for a guide to top tweakments like fillers, radiofrequency, and more.
6 Trending Tweakments
The Treatment: Fallek notes that he’s seen an uptick in appointments for this “new, revolutionary treatment by INMODE that combines the skin-tightening power of radiofrequency technology and the deep, penetrable benefits of microneedling.” It can be done on the face, neck, décolletage, arms, abdomen, knees, chin, and any areas that have stretch marks or post-surgical scarring.
The Downtime & Cost: Downtime is minimal and may include some redness or mild tenderness or soreness for three to five days. Pricing depends on the treatment area, but RealSelf reports that the average cost is about $1,925.
The Results: According to Fallek, Morpheus8 improves “skin tone, texture, and tightness, delivering healthy, glowing skin from the inside out.”
The Treatment: A licensed pro treats your face with Sofwave’s breakthrough device that uses seven high-frequency ultrasound beams to target and rebuild collagen, reducing wrinkles and tightening the overall appearance of the skin. An appointment usually takes about 30-45 minutes, and an ideal outcome is achieved after just one or two sessions.
The Downtime & Cost: Minimal; most patients can immediately continue with their daily routines. Per RealSelf, the average cost is $3,175.
The Results: One week after treatment, you can expect to see facial lines and wrinkles reduced. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving: Your complexion will continue to gradually improve in the 3-month period afterward.
The Treatment: An FDA-approved, non-invasive body contouring treatment, EmSculpt Neo provides simultaneous fat elimination and muscle building via radiofrequency and a high-intensity electromagnetic field in one 30-minute session.
The Downtime & Cost: There’s no downtime, but Fallek says that you may feel like you endured an intense ab workout afterward. Insta-muscles don’t come cheap: Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank told Bustle that the price ranges from $850-$1,100 per treatment. A full set of Emsculpt NEO (the recommended four treatments) could cost up to $4,400.
The Results: It stimulates the effects of 20,000 sit-ups in 30 minutes. “On average, it helps reduce fat by about 30 percent and helps build muscle by 25 percent,” says Fallek.
The Treatment: More and more experts are turning to filler as a non-invasive alternative to plastic surgery, strategically injecting to reshape and straighten the nose in a matter of minutes.
The Downtime & Cost: Often referred to as a “lunchtime nose job,” the recovery time is little to none. “It’s one of our most popular treatments because it’s quick, convenient, and virtually painless,” says Fallek. The cost varies greatly depending on the volume and type of filler that’s used; BeautyFix MedSpa charges an average of $1,500.
The Results: Expert injectors are able to make noses look straighter or more symmetrical. Unlike surgery, the results are not permanent but can last from six months to two years.
The Treatment: “Botox is by far our most popular treatment,” says Fonteyne. “I believe it’s so highly requested because it is so highly predictable in the results, has a low risk level, and a great amount of satisfaction.”
The Downtime & Cost: Little to none. Cost varies greatly based on your injector; expect to pay between $10-25 per unit.
The Results: Though Botox is FDA approved to soften wrinkles and fine lines, it’s used more and more for other aesthetic purposes, such as fixing a “gummy” smile, giving the appearance of fuller lips in a “lip flip,” and slimming the jawline.
The Treatment: Different types of filler can be injected all over the face (and body) to add more volume. “At SkinSpirit, we use hyaluronic acid fillers which have a low risk rate, low downtime, and are reversible,” says Fonteyne. “I believe they’ve grown so much in popularity over the recent years because they offer immediate gratification and impactful results with no surgery or permanent commitment.” The most popular brands are Juvéderm (a go-to for lips), Restylane (which made the first FDA-approved filler for hands), and Sculptra (which boosts your body’s natural collagen production over time, making it a favorite for the booty and hip dips).
The Downtime & Cost: You may experience some redness and swelling afterward, but you can usually get on with your day after your appointment. Hyaluronic acid fillers cost an average of $684 per vial.
The Results: As Fonteyne mentioned, dermal fillers add instant volume. And they’re not just for your complexion: Your hands, knees, butt, neck, and earlobes can be plumped up, too.
Dr. Steve Fallek, board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of BeautyFix MedSpa
Cara Fonteyne, RN and VP of nursing at SkinSpirit