Beauty Skincare Body Care All the Beauty Treatments You Should Do This Winter — and Why It's time for laser. By Elise Tabin Elise Tabin Elise Tabin is a beauty expert and editor. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on January 5, 2023 @ 05:30PM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Getty Images There's nothing like the cozy feeling that winter brings — think dressing in oversized knit sweaters, fleece-lined boots, and spending weekend afternoons binge-watching Netflix fireside. It's also the perfect time to indulge in beauty treatments, especially the ones that require hiding out at home as the skin recovers. Indulging in beauty treatments during the winter allows for ample healing time and less sun exposure for better results. However, some beauty treatments, like fillers, LED, and radiofrequency treatments, are safe to do 365 days per year because they don't disrupt the skin barrier or carry risks of sun-induced hyperpigmentation. Dr. Daniel Belkin, a Board-Certified Dermatologist, says exposing just-treated skin to UV rays can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (temporary pigmentation in a specific area due to an injury) or prolonged redness. "It's important to avoid significant sun exposure (for one to four weeks) following certain procedures, which most people find easier to do during the fall and winter months when they are covered up, and the UV index is low." That’s why winter is the perfect time for a skin or body reboot with invasive lasers, downtime-heavy chemical peels, and even noninvasive body-sculpting treatments (yes, you read that right!) to be primed and prepped for summer. Read on to discover the best beauty treatments to do during winter. Can Gua Sha Replace Your Regular Injectables? Lasers of All Kinds Most dermatologists prefer performing heavy-duty lasers during the winter, including ablative CO2, to correct major sun damage and stubborn lines and wrinkles because of decreased UV exposure. But that's not to say that doing a laser during other times of the year is entirely off-limits and frowned upon. "Both ablative and non-ablative laser treatments require the skin to be untanned, making winter the ideal time to do them," says Dr. Kim Nichols, a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Founder of NicholsMD. "Also, we constantly cover up our bodies in the winter, so the additional layers of clothing make it easier to protect post-treatment skin." Limited sun exposure makes for more effective laser treatments that target spots, textural issues, and wrinkles. The skin needs a few days off so it can flake off and rejuvenate itself, and it shouldn't transpire with the hot sun beating down on you. Dr. Belkin adds that most lasers disrupt the skin barrier in some way, which can increase transepidermal water loss or dry out the skin in dry or cold environments. Dry skin undoubtedly worsens during the winter, which is why a good post-procedure skincare routine that incorporates ample moisturizing is important. "The best way to protect the skin from transepidermal water loss is with an occlusive ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor." For acneic skin types that break out after lasers, use a thinner, lighter option like Avene Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream instead of heavy ointments. "Though the dry air has to be contended with, most lasers are worth doing in winter to avoid excessive sun exposure that can lead to prolonged redness or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)," he adds. Another reason to splurge on wintertime resurfacing lasers is that the cool winter air helps alleviate any burning sensation in the skin, according to Dr. Julio F. Gallo, a Board-Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) isn't a laser (because of its various wavelengths) but frequently falls under the overarching laser category. The light-based treatment is used for everything from hair removal to improving discoloration, age spots, and more. Dr. Gallo says laser facials and LED treatments stimulate collagen production in the skin, which can create heat. "They may generally feel better when there's less warmth in the air," he shares. "Light and laser treatments can also brighten and refresh dull, dry skin from cold air and indoor heating." Laser Hair Removal In the spirit of "prep now, be grateful you did later," comes laser hair removal. This time-tested fuzz-reducing treatment is a godsend for those who want to be hairless in all the right places for summer. But there's a time component to consider, since several sessions are needed over many weeks. This is because different body parts have different requirements, and for laser hair removal to work effectively, at least six sessions every four to six weeks are needed. It can take up to six months or more to see the full results. Dr. Nichols often sees an uptick in laser hair removal treatments during winter. "We cannot perform laser hair removal if the skin is tan or has been in the sun for an extended period." The more sun-induced pigment in the skin, the less effective the laser. However, she adds that the treatment can induce redness around the follicle, which can last a few days. “As with any inflammation or redness, sun protection is important to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” Dr. Belkin says. And that’s a rule to follow regardless of the time of year. Sclerotherapy If pesky spider veins have you seeking solace in the form of pants all summer long, there's hope. A simple treatment known as sclerotherapy safely and effectively reduces visible purple and blue veins and vessels that like to take up residence on the legs. Sclerotherapy employs a vein-collapsing solution, polidocanol, that’s injected into unsightly veins to eliminate them. Targeted lasers that eradicate spider veins are also an option. Patients prefer sclerotherapy in the cooler months when PIH is less likely. Dr. Belkin says the skin is more at risk for hyperpigmentation when exposed to the sun while it heals. "At baseline, darker skin types tend to be more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," he adds. Compression garments are mandatory to wear after injections and are more comfortable when cold outside. "They get hot and sweaty in the summer and can be a pain," Dr. Belkin shares. In addition, the compression hose you'll likely have to wear (up to two weeks) can be non-discreetly hidden under long skirts and pants. Chemical Peels Some chemical peels are safe to do year-round; others aren't. Those that deeply exfoliate the skin also leave fresh skin exposed to damaging environmental elements and the sun, leading to redness and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels expose brighter, more even skin underneath, and the dryness associated with them is something Dr. Nichols says people often forget about. “Patients must follow up the treatment with an at-home regimen that addresses specific skincare needs,” she advises. "In the winter, I recommend most patients switch to a heavier moisturizer to combat increased dryness." Specialty Facials A lack of moisture in the winter air can leave skin feeling tight and dry. If moisturizer doesn't cut it and you need something extra, try an oxygen facial, which floods the skin with oxygen alongside intense skin hydrators like hyaluronic acid. HydraFacials are also suitable for rehydrating winter-compromised skin since they use skin infusions and can dial up moisture levels in the skin. Dr. Belkin recommends sticking with facials that rehydrate the skin rather than resurfacing it. It's not so much that these facials and treatments are exclusive to winter because of sun exposure risks; they tend to be more beneficial to the skin when it requires hydration the most. HydraFacials, which use skin infusions and can dial up moisture levels in the skin, are also suitable for rehydrating winter-compromised skin. As a bonus, couple a hydrating facial with dermaplaning, a manual mode of exfoliation that uses a surgical scalpel (we promise, it doesn't hurt and isn't the least bit scary) to buff away dead skin and peach fuzz. Body Sculptors Noninvasive body sculpting treatments require next to no effort on your part since these treatments do the work for you to tighten, trim, and tone. But the results take time to be seen, so you'll want to map out your treatments. Dr. Gallo says body contouring treatments, like CoolSculpting Elite, require multiple treatments and a couple of months to see the final result. "To be bikini ready for the summer, start these treatments at the beginning of the year, so there is time to reap the maximum benefits." Fat-melting injectables like Kybella (it gets rid of fat under the chin) result in post-treatment swelling. "The best time to do Kybella is during the winter because you can easily camouflage the swelling and bruising with a turtleneck or scarf," says Dr. Dulce Mascarinas of DNAge Medical in Miami. "You can also layer more clothing — and get away with it — to mask the swelling." Fillers and Injectables Yes, we said there’s no bearing on when you can do fillers and injectables, especially since Dr. Gallo calls hyaluronic acid injectables, like the Juvederm family, and neuromodulators, like Botox Cosmetic, maintenance products. “They can be performed all year round to maintain a youthful, refreshed appearance.” But there is an advantage to doing injectables and fillers in the dead of winter versus other times of the year. According to Dr. Mascarinas, less sun exposure during the winter benefits the skin. "Excessive sun exposure and heat can cause hyperpigmentation in injected areas causing darker patches of skin," she says. "Discoloration is an undesirable risk that I warn many patients of after any cosmetic procedure." Microblading Microblading is the treatment de rigueur for perfectly filled-in eyebrows requiring little work — you wake up with flawless arches ready to go. While microblading is a year-round treatment, it is easier to comply with post-treatment instructions when the weather is unseasonably cold rather than humid and warm, says permanent makeup artist Melissa Pruett of Melt by Melissa. Pruett says it's critical to avoid sun exposure on freshly bladed brows, especially since the added pigment is fragile. "The sun can bleach it out, and the goal is to get that pigment to bond into the skin." She also advises against sweating, which can bead and drip down into the brow follicles, causing the precise brow strokes that create the illusion of more eyebrow hair to become diluted and lose their crispness.