UNDER the skin | Pocketmags.com

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UNDER the skin

Aesthetic technologies are increasingly being used to replicate the effects of invasive treatments with almost no downtime. Kezia Parkins explores the latest developments

Treatments don’t always need to be invasive to get great aesthetic results. While some have considered the surgical face lift as the gold standard for achieving dramatic rejuvenation since the 1960s, in recent years, countless devices have come to market promising to tone, tighten, resurface and revitalise, many of which don’t even pierce the skin.

According to a report published by Growth Plus Reports, the global aesthetic devices market is expected to grow to $22.33 billion (£20.19bn) by 2030 and is being driven by increased awareness, innovation and social media influence.

A facelift is often still the best treatment for those with significant laxity of the face and neck tissues, but in the right candidates, non-invasive interventions can give excellent results. “The results are different, but non-invasive devices can achieve a significant lift to the skin of the face and neck with little to no downtime,” says Dr Sophie Shotter, medical director and founder of Illuminate Clinics.

Age-old problem

Ageing is a natural process, but it’s one many are seeking to slow. Ageing is characterised by decreasing skin elasticity resulting in thinning of the epidermal and dermal skin layers leading to fine lines, wrinkles, tone and skin texture issues.

Plastic surgery, and minimally invasive treatments such as dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections, are on the rise. However, these come with significant risks by changing the structural integrity of the face, adding product, removing tissue or freezing muscles rather than focusing on the cause of the ageing process – loss of collagen.

“With surgery, you have one treatment and get an instant results,” says Dr Samantha Hills, clinical director at Lynton Lasers. “With non-invasive devices you won’t get the same degree of tightening, but you can get very close.” She adds that while non-invasive devices tend to involve more treatments, they are lower risk and less expensive.

“It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. I remember speaking to someone who had a facelift and was very happy with the results but her concern was that she still had ‘old lady skin’,” she recalls. “Surgery didn’t do anything to improve the texture, colour or tone of her skin. For that side of rejuvenation, you need a non-surgical intervention.”

Radiofrequency for rejuvenation

Radiofrequency (RF) is a technology increasingly used to treat skin laxity by increasing tissue temperature. The aim of this non-invasive technique is to induce thermal damage, stimulating neocollagenesis in the deep layers of the skin.

Radiofrequency penetrates to the subcutaneous layers, producing an exothermic reaction. The physiological effects on the dermis include tightening, firming and brightening. This is thanks to the thermal reaction that causes collagen to contract, promoting collagen synthesis and tightening the underlying skin structures without damaging the top layer.

The technology has increased in popularity in recent years since celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Victoria and Daid Beckham spoke out about its benefits.

Before and two weeks after RF microneedling and HIFU treatment with Lynton Focus Dual at Clinic 10

In combination

Radiofrequency in combination with microneedling (RFM) is one of the up-and-coming solutions being lauded for the ultimate “non- surgical face lift”. Microneedling on its own involves pricking the skin with tiny sterilised needles. These small wounds cause your body to make more collagen and elastin, which heal skin and help it look younger. Radiofrequency microneedling combines both technologies for ultimate collagen-producing power. Microneedling encourages collagen production superficially while RF goes much deeper to boost this production, creating faster and more dramatic results that improve over time.

The union of these two techniques helps to lift, firm and tighten the skin, reduce wrinkles, shrink pores and even minimise acne scars and other blemishes.

Radiofrequency microneedling can offer similar results to ablative laser procedures but with significantly less discomfort and downtime. It can also be used as a preventative and to avoid even more invasive procedures such as surgery when laxity is not severe.

Devices such as Lynton’s Focus Dual creates controlled trauma that boosts production of collagen and elastin. The results are firmer, tighter, smoother, more lifted and hydrated skin.

“It’s all about prevention and remodelling that collagen so that its better quality,” says Dr Hills. “There’s lots of technologies that can plump the skin and stimulate collagen such as RF and ablative lasers. But if you really want to tighten as you would with a facelift or threads, you need to target the SMAS [superficial musculoaponeurotic system] layer.”

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can be added to cause reversible damage to the far deeper SMAS layer of the skin, which then helps tighten and pull, especially in the jowls and around the eyes. By combining HIFU with RFM, results can be maximised at every layer.

“A facelift is still going to give the most dramatic results. But if your client is not ready for that step, or can’t afford the downtime, risk or financial expense, then HIFU is a really good option,” says Dr Hills.

Sofwave is another device that uses ultrasound to target ageing. Sofwave harnesses Synchronous Ultrasound Parallel Beam (SUPERB) technology to precisely target the depth of wrinkles – 1.5mm below the skin’s surface.

Each pulse delivers seven parallel cylinders of energy to heat the tissue to between 60 and 70ºC, stimulating fibroblasts and new collagen to be produced. Meanwhile, Sofcool, an integrated cooling mechanism, protects the uppermost skin layer.

The Sofwave device and RFM device, Profound RF, are Dr Shotter’s go-to non-surgical options. “With these devices we can achieve a significant lift to the skin of the face and neck with little to no downtime,” she says. “We can further enhance these results by combining with fillers, for example, to restore volume loss and support the facial structure.”

LED light therapy is another non-invasive technology that can be added into the mix to boost the results of anti-ageing facials. The most scientifically supported wavelengths in LED therapy are blue, red and near infrared, explains Celluma VP brand manager Denise Ryan.

“If you REALLY WANT TO TIGHTEN as you WOULD WITH a facelift or threads, you need to target THE SMAS LAYER„

“Wavelengths emit particles of light energy called photons which are absorbed by cells in the dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin, resulting in a cascade of beneficial metabolic events,” she adds. “The downstream results are an increase in cell proliferation, cell mitosis, RNA and DNA synthesis and protein synthesis, leading to improved skin tone, texture, and quality.”

For acne, LED light therapy works by killing acne-causing bacteria at the source – deep beneath the skin’s surface. Blue and red-light therapies can be used in tandem to get the benefits of both. Ryan says the technology is a great add-on to build into a client’s bespoke facial between the toning and serum stage for both acne and anti-ageing.

The CACI Synergy+ system also uses LED but combines this with microcurrent. It uses pulsed LED light with ultra-low frequency microcurrent and a digital waveform to provide skin rejuvenation and facial toning.

Non-invasive on the go

If you are a mobile therapist or are short on space, you can still offer the benefits of some of these technologies thanks to handheld devices. These are increasing in popularity thanks to famous faces such as Sharon Stone, who posted a video of her glam team using a device dubbed “The Magic Wand” to prep her for Cannes Film Festival and get an instant lift.

Opatra’s Dermasonic II, for example, harnesses RF and red, blue and green LED light therapy. Green light is great for evening skin tone by reducing pigmentation.

Additional heat therapy helps boost circulation and product absorption while minimising the look of fine lines and assisting with easing muscle tension, making the device great for red-carpet-ready results.

Before and six months after Sofwave treatment with Michael Gold, MD

What about injectables?

We’ve covered a hoard of non-invasive technologies that can tighten and improve the skin’s texture and cellular quality but what about alternatives to the explosively popular (and largely unregulated) practice of injectibles?

CACI Trainer Charlotte Richardson, says CACI’s Wrinkle Comb can be used as a needleless alternative to lip filler.

“It plumps up the lip line and softens any lines. Its specific wavelengths of light and electrical high-frequency stimulation cause slight tissue inflammation – this helps to plump out deep lines and trigger tissue repair and healing,” she explains. In regards to anti-wrinkle and collagen injections Richardson says a needle-free alternative is CACI Wrinkle Revolution.

Boosting income

Non-invasive devices not only achieve excellent results, but they can open doors to a whole new world of treatments for beauty therapists because many do not require a medical practitioner to operate them. This can enable salons to increase and diversify income by adding new and popular non-invasive ways to turn back the clock. However, explains Dr Hills, many non-invasive devices are likely to fall under the scope of the new regulation when it is brought in because they pierce and heat the skin. As it stands, it is still uncertain how the industry will be regulated once licenses for cosmetic procedures are introduced (see page 12).

Prevention over cure

We are currently in the age of preventative and precision medicine, and these ideologies are crossing over to skincare and becoming increasingly important to clients. Many non-invasive devices focus on boosting collagen and improving the structural integrity of skin, helping to prevent ageing rather than freezing it in time with injections. Therefore, many of these technologies are suitable for clients of all ages and genders.

“We’re predominantly seeing those in their 40s and 50s having these treatments. We typically see younger clients for skin texture improvement,” explains Dr Hills. “Of course, you continue to age but you have improved the structure of the skin – if you got rid of acne scarring, for example, it’s not going to come back, whereas fillers have a time limit.”

Plus, as both Dr Hills and Richardson say, results with non-invasive devices can appear a lot more natural, a look that becoming increasingly soughtafter.

Dr Shotter adds, “I always urge people to consider non-surgical options, although for me surgery and non-surgical treatments often go hand in hand. The key is consultation – understanding the patient’s desires, expectations and lifestyle will help plan an optimal treatment journey for them.”

This article appears in November 2022

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This article appears in...
November 2022
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