The signs of aging in the face can be addressed by focusing on four categories (Relax, Revolumize, Resurface, and Reposition)
RELAX: This category addresses the expression lines of the face. Lines created with movement of facial muscles are softened with the use of neuromodulators such as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. Commonly treated areas include the forehead, glabella, and Crowe’s feet. In many cases, this modality is used to prevent the permanent etching of deep wrinkles at rest.
REVOLUMIZE: As we age, we lose the superficial and deep fat pads of the face. Although many of us strive to lose body fat, the face is a location where we like to maintain our fat stores and hold onto a youthful appearance. There are numerous fillers to choose from ranging from temporary to semi-permanent to permanent materials. Some recent additions to our filler toolbox include Belotero which can be used to fill very superficial lines and Voluma which is used for mid-facial volumization and promises 2 years of longevity for this indication.
RESURFACE: Resurfacing is my favorite category to address since it involves working on the actual canvas of the face. In doing so, we can effectively lift pigmentation, treat broken blood vessels, and improve fine wrinkles. One of the most popular devices for resurfacing is with the use of a fractionated non-ablative laser.
REPOSITION: This item combats the gravitational changes that occur in the face by providing a lifting force. Thermage is a non-invasive laser which utilizes radiofrequency to lift and tighten targeted areas. This treatment can be used for prevention or to treat areas of sagging skin on the face. Thermage is an effective treatment for people in their 20’s to people in their 60’s and 70’s. This procedure offers an excellent non-invasive alternative for those patients who are not prepared to go under the knife.
Thermage treats symptoms such as redundant folds of the lower chin.upper neck under the chin, prominent jowls, and skin laxity.
Thermage is a radio frequency device that provides heat energy that penetrates deep within the skin. The heat makes the collagen underneath contract which has the effect of immediate tightening in the skin, which can be appreciated immediately. There is also effective stimulation of collagen production with added results best appreciated 6 months after treatment.
The operator of the device can alter settings to increase the amount of radiofrequency delivered to the tissue. The way I perform this procedure may be quite different than other practitioners since I don’t put my patients under sedation. I consider this to be an interactive procedure in which I rely on the patient to provide feedback. Patients who are not conscious during the procedure may not feel the heat if it is too hot, which can lead to severe redness, blisters, and burns. During the procedure, I closely observe my patient to evaluate their response to the treatment and to make sure they are comfortable. At times, I will adjust the settings depending on the feedback I get from my patient.
Some mild redness is ro be expected immediately following the procedure but this should resolve very shortly thereafter.
The patient may appreciate the full effect of this treatment 6 months after their procedure when their face takes on a more rejuvenated appearance.
Thermage has evolved over the last 10 years and is now much more effective in treating aging symptoms in a more comfortable manner for the patient. The updated tip known as the “total tip,” is able to provide twice the energy of its previous counterpart which has increased its effectiveness in lifting areas of the face suffering from excessive laxity and sagging. Moreover, they have added a vibrating function to the hand piece which provides added comfort for patients.
It is important for providers to discuss facial rejuvenation procedures in the context of the 4 R’s so that patients can attain a better understanding of the treatment options available for each respective area.
Thermage is a great option for those who are looking for a non-invasive procedure to lift and tighten areas including the upper eyelids, jawline or neck. Thermage can help patients achieve a more youthful look with minimal to no complications at all.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Jennifer Ahdout of Century City Dermatology in Los Angeles, CA.