By Marian Hussein
We’ve heard it all before: “Combats ageing.” “Makes wrinkles fade away.” “Takes 10 years off in just 2 weeks.” Yep, beauty creams make a lot of lofty promises, but rarely deliver. Moreover, we’re just starting to learn about the nasty chemicals that go into many of these ‘miracle’ products – some of which, like Oxybenzone may actually accelerate the signs of ageing.
Wrinkles are a concern for many of us over 30, but there are other indications of diminishing collagen, atrophied muscles and reduced cellular growth that start to appear around that age too – sagging jowls and turkey necks come to mind. Unfortunately, most creams can only give temporary improvement to those issues.
Sure, ageing is natural and happens to us all and yes, we all need to accept that our skin won’t retain its youthful glow forever. But if you’d like to stave off the most obvious signs of ageing, technological solutions are far more effective than anything in a jar.
Wondering about the best high tech Face Tightening Treatments? Here, after a few visits to the Dermavita Clinic in London’s Kensington over the past few months, I’ve been able to try and test some of the most efficient ways of helping your skin to reduce wrinkles, sagging and other signs of ageing.
How it works: A machine emits controlled levels of radiofrequency waves that heat the collagen fibres deep under the skin, causing them to contract and tighten, thus giving your skin a firmer base.
How it feels: First, I was asked to lie down on a comfortable table, and a gel was applied to my face and neck. The machine’s golf ball-like tip was moved around the treatment area in quick little circles. Over the course of around 20 minutes, it got increasingly warm and sometimes a bit too hot, which felt a bit like a pinprick, but just for a millisecond. Generally, the whole process felt nice, kind of like a firm facial massage, but fear of that little pinprick lurked in the back of my mind. At the end of the treatment my skin was slightly red, but this was temporary.
Results: The sagging skin under my chin was greatly tightened and firmer after just one treatment. I went back for two sessions and the results were more or less the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to complete a whole set of treatments, but I would like to! You should see results within a day or two and these continue to improve for around two weeks. By that time, what you see is what you get. For optimal results, you should get treatments once every three weeks or so for 3-4 months. Results should last a year; then you may need to come in for touch ups every six months or so.
Best for: Those with puppet lines or slight sagging under the chin. This technique can also be used to tighten skin around the knees, arms and stomach.
How it works: Two electric ‘wands’ glide over your face like two chopsticks trying to pull up noodles. The wands provide electronic stimulation of the muscles in the face, causing contractions of the muscles beneath the skin. This helps build a firmer foundation for the skin on top of the muscles, but it doesn’t tighten the skin itself.
How it feels: Weird and pleasantly tingly. A pad was affixed to my back to avoid any shocks, and the two double pronged stick devices were used to pick my skin up between them in a kind of gentle ‘pinching’ motion. There was a slightly metallic taste in my mouth sometimes, but I enjoyed the feeling of the wands gently picking up, pulling and pressing on the skin on my face. Afterwards, I was given a gel mask that smelled and felt amazing, and left my skin glowing.
Results: My skin definitely felt tighter, immediately. You know how your butt gets firmer after you do a lot of squats? It was kind of like that – you could seriously feel that the muscles had tightened. It did diminish the ‘puppet lines’ on the side of my mouth a bit, too. But those effects went away the next day. My therapist, Anna, told me I would need a course of one treatment a week for up to six weeks to see a lasting difference.
Best for: Those with slight sagging, notable ‘puppet lines’.
How it works: Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive anti-ageing skincare option, and it’s even used for tightening up areas of the body that are prone to sagging, like knees and upper arms. Unlike other laser treatments that simply target the outer layers of skin, ultrasound therapy goes deeper than the skin’s surface, stimulating collagen in the deepest layers.
The dermis layer of the skin contains most of the skin’s specialized cells and structures. It synthesizes less collagen each year after about age 20. For women, estrogen levels decrease after menopause. This leaves the skin drier, thinner, and not as taut as before.Once the dermis begins producing the new collagen, sagging facial and neck skin lifts and starts to look younger and tighter.
How it feels: First, my skin was cleansed well, and a gentle peel was applied. This was rinsed off, and a serum was massaged into my skin. A flat, duck bill type of device went over my skin with high speed oscillations targeting deep tissue layers loosening up the dead skin cells and tightening pores. After that, the device was applied in upward motions to tighten my skin and a relaxing lymphatic drainage massage was done all over my face and neck, followed by the application of a cooling antioxidant serum designed to boost collagen development. The whole thing took around 60 minutes, and felt a little bit warm, but not unpleasantly so.
The results: I noticed reduced pores and a firmer complexion immediately, but after a few days this seemed to fade.
Best for: Those with mild to moderate skin laxity on the face and neck, or anyone who wants a cleaner, clearer complexion.
In the beginning, these were rather painful and invasive. The procedure was performed using from two to four large-sized threads, made of various materials including 24k gold – which often snapped. It wasn’t until Korean surgeon and aesthetic dermatologist Dr Kwon Han Jin began developing a new way of providing the treatment while minimising discomfort and downtime that the modern thread lift was born. Also known as the Ultra V Lift, this new technique involved the use of a larger number of smaller threads and became extremely popular among celebrities (Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox and Kylie Minogue are said to have had the procedure) who were seeking an effective beauty regime that fit within their busy schedule.
Today, the threads are safer than ever, being made from natural materials, and the effects can last up to three years. These are the most common threads used today:
- Polydioxanone (PDO), which is often used for stitching in surgeries, lasts from six to twelve months depending on the circumstances. The threads will typically be dissolved within no more than one year, but help stimulate the production of collagen in your skin which is an effect that can sometimes last until well after the thread has gone.
- Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA – same as the filler known as Sculptra), another material often chosen for surgical sutures, is even more effective at stimulating collagen production with a thread lifetime of more than two years. Once dissolved, the material breaks down into lactate, glucose, carbon dioxide and water, and has become one of the commonly used materials by advanced threadlift doctors for treatment in Singapore. Even after the thread has dissolved, collagen production can last for up to one more year.
- Polycaprolactone infused with Vitamin C, another material often chosen for surgical sutures, can last for 2 to 3 years. This is because the bonds and structure in PCL are stronger and more complex – thus it takes a much longer time to be dissolved by our skin. The slow rate of degradation of such threads also makes it a good material to deliver Vitamin C at an expected rate to the surrounding tissues. Vitamin C is proven for preventing pigment formation, lightening pigments that has formed and has anti-aging effects ( prevents the formation of free oxygen radicals generated by UV rays). It is also very potent at stimulating collagen production. Once dissolved, the material breaks down into carbon dioxide and water, and is fast becoming the latest in-thing for dark eye circles reduction. Even after the thread has dissolved, collagen production can last for up to one more year.
To see our writer’s experience of PDO threads click here. Spoiler alert: she loved it!
Images: Dermavita. Interested in tightening your skin? Visit: Dermavita Clinic, Kensington