Stop Grays with a Pill! Melt Fat with a Laser! (And Other Possibilities By 2020)
There are currently several over-the-counter handheld lasers marketed for hair growth (one, the HairMax, is FDA approved). But scientists are working on more powerful ways to thicken hair with light. "Soon you may be able to go to the dermatologist and sit under a hood of red-light-emitting diodes that boost hair growth," says Neil Sadick, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Medical Center. "The lights increase blood flow to stimulate the follicles."
Hair transplants will also evolve. Today's versions require surgically removing hair from an area of the scalp where growth is dense and transferring it to thinning patches—a technique that's often not feasible for women, who usually experience allover thinning. In the next decade, however, doctors hope to be able to take just one hair follicle and use it to grow your hair in a lab. That hair could then be used to fill out thinning areas—without compromising thickness elsewhere.
A Smoother Brow—Minus the Needles
Doctors will soon be able to rub out fine lines—literally. A new gel that contains botulinum toxin type A penetrates the skin topically to smooth wrinkles. The gel is applied, left on for 30 minutes, then wiped off. "As with injectable Botox, you'll notice lines smoothing after a few days; results last at least three months," says Fredric Brandt, MD, who has conducted early studies on the product. Revance Therapeutics, the biopharmaceutical company behind the drug, hopes it will be FDA approved for use on crow's-feet (it could then be applied "off-label" to other areas of the face) and available in doctors' offices by early 2013.
A Brighter Smile, Faster
"In ten years, I think in-office teeth-whitening will take five to ten minutes, not 45," says Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS. Peroxide will remain the active ingredient in the process, but chemical systems now in development will help it penetrate more quickly. This advance should make at-home teeth-whitening faster, too. And if your teeth are crooked, gapped, or badly stained, getting veneers should be a far simpler process within the next five years, say Marc Lowenberg, DDS. Using camera imaging, dentists will be able to make porcelain veneers right in their offices—and they'll be so thin, they'll require hardly any filing of the natural tooth. Plus, since the veneers will be produced by machine—not by hand as they are now—they'll cost about half as much ($500 to $1,250 per tooth).
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