As the urge to hibernate full-time officially sets in this month, consider turning those extra hours of Netflix into a beauty advantage. The absence of powerful sunrays and inflammatory heat during the snowiest months makes it the ideal time to book treatments that would require a heavy-duty beach umbrella (and sometimes a full-body caftan) in the summer.
Whether it’s scheduling a dreaded laser hair removal session or finally ridding yourself of that once-inspirational tattoo, these treatments are better endured now than later, according to Manhattan’s most in-demand dermatologists.
1. Cryotherapy Dark Spot Correction
Stubborn moles and freckles, beware—there’s a new device in town that targets hard-to-treat surface imperfections like never before. SkinCeuticals’s first noninvasive medical device, known as Cryocorrect, “has the ability to freeze off spots with minimal to no scarring,” says Upper East Side dermatologist, Julie Karen, M.D. of Complete Skin MD. The small portable light gently emits carbon dioxide in “a unique way” that gets rid of everything from benign skin growths to keratosis, which were previously difficult to treat with traditional lasers or manual methods. It is safe for all skin types and tones and works fast: “The spot gets darker and a small scab forms,” says Karen “which flakes off after 21 days.” Just six to 12 weeks later, the spot is completely gone and skin returns to normal, provided you keep it under cover from the sun.
Karen also recommends treating unwanted leg veins during the cooler months with the help of injections or sclerotherapy. “Sometimes, veins look worse before they look better,” she explains of the 15-minute, in-office treatment, which consists of injecting a salt solution directly into the vein, causing it to collapse and appear less pronounced. She urges patients to wear compression leggings, which are easy to hide in the winter, post-procedure to speed up the healing process, which may take up to two months.
3. Laser Hair Removal
The technology in laser hair removal is largely based on skin tone, so having an even, tan–free surface to work with means better, faster results. “Laser hair removal is best to do in the winter because there is less sun exposure than other times of the year,” says New York City dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., who sees permanent results in patients within four sessions, each around three weeks apart. “The laser targets pigment, therefore having the least amount of melanin makes the treatment easier, safer, and most effective.” Andréa Young, co-owner of Manhattan’s Beam Laser Spa, confirms that her practice sees yearly clients who strategically book sessions to coincide with the cooler, darker months.
4. Chemical Peels and Micro-Needling
Peels encourage cell turnover, which can temporarily increase vulnerability to the elements. “Since chemical peels make skin more sun sensitive by removing superficial layers, the winter is an ideal time to try one,” says Jennifer Myers, M.D. “Also, exposure of treated skin to a lot of heat can sometimes induce unwanted swelling.” As an alternative, Myers explains that winter’s excessive indoor heating and brisk, cold air can dull the complexion, and a session of micro-needling can allow nutrients, like vitamins C and E, to penetrate and rejuvenate skin, “giving you a radiant glow without the sun.”
If you’re considering taking the plunge into smoothing procedures such as Cellfina, which uses a small needle-sized device to treat the cellulite-forming bands just beneath the surface of the skin, bundling up is the perfect way to hide any bruising or irritation that might result, according to Patricia Wexler, M.D., founder of Wexler Dermatology. “Cellulite reduction is most frequently done in winter months, when clothing is more complicated and concealing, and activities such as outdoor sports and sun exposure are at a minimum,” she says.
6. Tattoo Removal
Finally willing to part with that permanent note on your wrist reminding you to “breathe”? Book your appointment ASAP. “Given that you can’t be exposed to the sun while undergoing PicoSure tattoo removal and it takes several sessions, it’s best to do so during the winter so you’re not missing out on any fun,” says David Colbert, M.D., founder of New York Dermatology Group. “Plus, you’ll be 100 percent ready for tank tops sans ink.”
7. Laser and Light Resurfacing Treatments
“The best winter treatments for skin are those targeting pigmentation,” says Shereene Idriss, M.D., of Union Square Laser Dermatology. “You can have all the wrinkles in the world, but if your tone is even, then it almost does not matter.” Idriss’s go-to picks for winter brightening are light and laser treatments like IPL (intense pulsed light) and Fraxel. IPL targets pesky blemishes, redness, and brown spots, while Fraxel targets pigment to even out color, or help with fine lines and texture. In either case, now is the time to do it. “Posttreatment, your skin is slightly more sensitive to light,” she explains, “which can result in new, unwanted spots.”