Speak of facelifts and most people express a fascination with how a surgical procedure can make a person look 10 or 20 years younger. The brows are more lifted, eyes can now peek out of droopy eyelids and shine again, eyebags smoothened, cheeks are round and elevated, and that sexy jawline is back. Rarely, this fascination piques an interest, and a surgical facelift is done. Why people are exploring non-invasive ways to look younger (or at least maintain their looks) isn’t difficult to understand – the surgical facelift has great results but there are real risks of vascular and nerve injury, poor wound healing, unintended skin loss, and the downtime is long – 2 weeks and approximately 1 full year before all the residual swelling, bruises and changes in sensation resolves.
So non-invasive face-lifting treatments found their niche in this majority who are looking at subtle ways to stop the sag, apart from daily sunscreen and anti-aging cream, some treatments to reverse a peeking jowl or to keep that jawline razor-sharp.
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WHAT’S THERE TO LIFT?
Is there an age when aging begins? For the skin, it is a lot harder to pinpoint exactly when it starts, but Malcom Gladwell summed it up pretty well – that the tipping point is that magic moment when an idea crosses a threshold, and spreads like wildfire. Age creeps up on you before you know it, and by the time you notice its effect, its already started the epidemic. So in the world of beauty and age-defying prevention, “aging gracefully” is actually a misnomer, if the attitude it refers to means to let nature take its course, especially in the world of non-invasive rejuvenation.
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THE DOCTOR RECOMMENDS
Wrinkles are part of aging. They begin as fine lines and gradually deepen over time. Aging skin looks thin, noticeably in the 40s for most, but the process starts a decade before this, as collagen production in the skin dips around the age of 30 and the skin starts to lose its elasticity. In the world of anti-aging, prevention is the key. Hence, it would be prudent to start collagen-stimulating treatments in your 30s, building it up as your approach your 40s, the decade when most people start to look a lot older, faster.
Non-invasive facelifts cleverly trick the skin into producing this vital protein, without the knife. Ultherapy, an FDA-sanctioned microfocused ultrasound skin-lifting treatment, and Thermage, an unrivalled radiofrequency skin-tightening device are commonly done by anti-aging aficionados once a year. They stimulate a collagen-rich layer beneath the dermis and fat, resulting in a productive wound-healing response, which generates high quality collagen over the following 3 to 6 months. A combined procedure known as the Trinity Facelift using Ulthera and Thermage ensures subtle (but noticeable) 3D lifting, as well as a skin thickening, pore-to-pore tightening effect.
A new and extremely interesting innovation which gives an impressive contouring lift of the lower face (double-chins and disappearing jawlines can thank us later) is the Profound Contour Lift, which delivers radiofrequency energy into the skin via microneedles. According to Syneron Candela, Profound is the only treatment currently available that is clinically proven to generate elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid, the 3 vital building blocks of skin.
Dr Chia Hui Ling, Consultant Plastic Surgeon of the SW1 Clinic performs this treatment for sagging cheeks, heavy jowls, the double chin, turkey neck and even crepey skin on the neck, problems which are notoriously hard to reverse non-invasively for her patients who still find the full surgical facelift too controversial. Considered “minimally invasive”, this treatment bridges the gap between subtler non-invasive facelifts with the surgical facelift.
“Very fine microneedles gain access to the deep dermis layer of the skin at approximately 1 to 2mm beneath the surface of the skin, and then radiofrequency energy is delivered directly to this layer.” Says Dr Chia.
Indeed, the hint is that the access gained with fine needling ensures that the treatment is applied effectively at every point, and this resonates with the available research literature, which documents a 100% response rate. There is even a cartridge for subcutaneous access, for eradication of the double chin.
A warning, as with all things good, there are cheaper versions which just do not do the same, so don’t fall for these, afterall cheaper doesn’t mean cheap, and they are not necessarily safe or the same!
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