If you are interested in receiving aesthetic treatments, you may have seen the terms invasive, non-invasive, and minimally invasive being used. But do you know the difference between them? In this article, we will break down what they mean.

What Are Invasive Aesthetic Treatments?

Anything where the skin is broken is considered to be an invasive aesthetic treatment. Typically this includes surgery of some sorts. Some examples of invasive treatments include nose reshaping, fat transfers, breast augmentation, facial surgery, and post massive weight loss surgery.

Compared to non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments, invasive treatments usually offer longer lasting and more noticeable results. However, these treatments can involve local or general anesthesia with extended recovery times where the client may experience swelling, bruising, pain, and scabbing. Invasive treatments may also cause minimal scarring, but a good surgeon will utilize techniques to minimize and hide the scars as much as possible.

What Are Minimally Invasive Aesthetic Treatments?

When it comes to treatments that are minimally invasive, a medical professional uses techniques that limit the size and quantity of the incisions or injections. Some examples of minimally invasive cosmetic treatments include injectables, radio frequency microneedling, thread lifts, stem cell facelifts, liposuction (due to the small incisions needed), ablative laser skin resurfacing, and deeper chemical peels.

A few of the benefits of choosing a minimally invasive treatment is the fact that it offers a shorter recovery time, less scarring, and few risks (like infection) overall when compared to invasive cosmetic procedures—yet still offer noticeable results.

What Are Non-Invasive Cosmetic Treatments?

The rise of non-invasive aesthetic services have become incredibly popular for a variety of reasons—including diminished risks of scarring and no need for general anesthesia. However, with some treatments types a local anesthesia or numbing cream may be used prior to the treatment being administered. Non-invasive treatment types also offer a treatment option for those with health issues or who are not suitable for invasive treatments, like surgery. Examples would include IPL (and other non-ablative light and laser devices), Botox, light and medium chemical peels, microdermabrasion, Cryoskin, and Endospheres.

Just because the treatment is referred to as non-invasive doesn’t mean that there will not be downtime or risks involved. Furthermore, obtaining the desired results may require repeated treatments over time, which may drive up the costs when compared to a surgical or invasive treatment. To be effective, non-invasive treatments still alter the body in some way. For example, chemical peels and non-ablative lasers damage the skin cells to stimulate the growth of new ones while some body contouring technologies destroy fat cells permanently. All of this is to say that after these treatments, swelling, bruising, redness, and pain still may be experienced.

So, Which Treatment Type Is Right For You?

Understanding the differences of the three cosmetic treatment types is the first step in understanding which direction is right for you. Talk to your dermatologist or skincare specialist to see which options will help you achieve your skin and body goals, meet your budget, and your lifestyle.