Beauty & Fashion

Why Stomach Tightening Is a New Skin-Care Trend

The “Miu Miu set,” a scant crop top and ultra-low-rise pleated mini that was part of the brand’s spring/summer 2022 collection, has now been photographed and knocked off so many times that it has its own Instagram account (@miumiuset). While the look is a paragon of the Y2K frenzy besieging fashion, its popularity and that of other midriff-baring runway styles (see the low-slung pants at Vaquera, Balmain, Tom Ford, Lanvin, Brandon Maxwell and Marni, among others) are also helping drive a surge in interest for body treatments. “Given that the most recent Fashion Weeks displayed that exposed midriffs and micro-minis are back, there has definitely been an increase in requests for body-contouring methods,” says Shirley Madhère, plastic surgeon and founder of Jet Set Beauty Rx, adding that the most requested procedures in her Manhattan practice have been tummy tucks and liposuction of the abdomen and thighs.

In January, comedian Amy Schumer revealed on her Instagram that she’d had liposuction, explaining to Chelsea Handler in an interview in March: “I just want to be real about it.” Laura Dyer, a physician assistant who treats patients at dermatologist Amy Wechsler’s practice, says celebrity transparency helps set more realistic expectations for everyone. “Honesty around how they achieve their bodies is important,” says Dyer. “Not everyone looks 22 using just olive oil.”

Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in Manhattan, thinks one factor driving more people to explore body treatments is that there are significantly more options and advances than there were even a few years ago. For crepiness and skin tightening, Frank has been deploying body-specific radio-frequency microneedling handpieces, which use tiny needles to deliver high-intensity radio-frequency energy to targeted tissue; for superficial sun damage, he turns to BroadBand Light Hero light therapy. (Still, for severe laxity or to significantly change body shape, he steers people away from noninvasive treatments towards a surgical intervention like tumescent liposuction.)

Dyer’s gold standard for body contouring remains CoolSculpting, despite the negative press around it after model Linda Evangelista experienced paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), a rare, but not unknown, side effect in which the fat increases instead of diminishing. According to Allergan Aesthetics, the brand behind CoolSculpting, the reaction occurs in 1 out of 3,000 treatments. Frank says he’s used liposuction to fix many cases of PAH and that patients should always be aware of potential side effects. “Complications can occur with noninvasive as well as invasive too,” he says.

At L.A.’s popular Le Jolie Medi Spa, Emsculpt Neo, a noninvasive toning procedure using radio frequency and high-intensity electromagnetic energies, is the most requested treatment, and the abs the most requested area for it. Dennis Gross, a New York–based dermatologist says that appointments in his office for SculpSure, a laser for contouring, have been off the charts. Younger women, in particular, are asking to “snatch their waistline” to make their hips look more pronounced, says Gross’s director of aesthetics, Courtney Brooks, citing the curvature of women like Adele, Beyoncé and the Kardashians as the driving force.

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