The idea of growing older gracefully is a noble one. But in this day and age, looking fresh and vital is not just a matter of vanity but also professional survival. Luckily, a proliferation of next-generation noninvasive cosmetic procedures—futuristic lasers, nimble fillers, and resurfacing treatments—offer, when done in succession and with restraint, subtle refreshment without the scalpel.

The concept is highly appealing to cosmetic surgery virgins like writer Jancee Dunn, who, in the January issue of Vogue, wrestles with turning 50 and embarks on a yearlong rejuvenation journey.  Here, in the first installment of a four-part series, Dunn undergoes the first of many microtreatments that promise to redefine what it looks—and feels—like to be happily middle-aged.