More and more people are deciding not to go under the knife when it comes to having a face lift. The wide variety of medical spa treatments available on the market today means that you can enjoy a lunchtime facial rejuvenation that is not only quick, but also relatively painless with virtually no recovery period. So if you fancy a quick spot of non-surgical tightening, plumping and even a bit of wrinkle relaxation – without actually opting for a heavy hospital stay – read on…
1) Mesotherapy for Face and Neck Rejuvenation
If it’s French, it has to be good, right? Mais oui! This treatment was pioneered around 60 years ago by Frenchman extraordinaire, Monsieur Michel Pistor. It involves injecting a specially formulated concoction of vitamins, minerals and medications to improve parts of the face and body, giving them a sleek, new contour. It is considered especially effective for sagging necks and faces, although it is also used to treat cellulite and other skin conditions.
Pro: Side effects are limited, as the work is localized to the areas that need work only.
Con: Effects may be only slightly visible, at best.
2) Facial Acupuncture
It’s thought that inserting needles into specific points on your face can stimulate the production of collagen, which is produced naturally in our body and makes us appear more youthful. But is facial acupuncture really an ancient Chinese secret, or simply a modern western scam?
Pro: Relatively painless with virtually no recovery period needed
Con: If you have a needle phobia, this isn’t the treatment for you.
3) Oxygen Facial
If you want to pay big bucks to have some air sprayed at your face, try an oxygen facial. Actually, it isn’t just the Big O that’ll hit you: the oxygen “atomizer” also contains a blend of collagen, vitamins and minerals that are designed to smooth out wrinkles and plump up your face. Breath of fresh air or just hot air? You decide.
Pro: It’s super-trendy, with big-name stars such as Madonna reportedly big fans.
Con: Skeptics say it doesn’t really work, and that any short-term “plumping” effect is really just mild inflammation caused by the oxygen acting as an irritant.
4) Radio-Frequency Facial Treatment
The idea is simple: special radio waves heat up the collagen underneath your facial skin, making it shrink. When finished, your face should appear smoother and tighter. It also is reported to help lessen the effects of minor acne, rosacea and uneven pigmentation.
Pro: Unlike laser treatments that purport to have similar effects (see below), this is non-invasive.
Con: A marked change will only occur after a series of treatments.
5) Laser Skin Tightening
An infra-red light heats up the collagen underneath the skin in your face, making it tighten. This is accomplished by blasting quick pulses of light, which can be a bit uncomfortable. Most patients say it feels like having an elastic band snapped repeatedly on their skin (sounds fun, no?). The effects are considerably less dramatic than with laser skin resurfacing, but it is also less risky.
Pro: Initial results are visible straightaway.
Con: At least two to three treatments several weeks or a month apart are needed for maximum efficacy.
Small crystals of aluminum oxide are sprayed across your face using a device similar to a sandblaster. The crystals are abrasive and their goal is to take off the top layer of your skin, leaving a new layer as soft as a baby’s bottom. These days, you can even perform the miracle at home, thanks to special do-it-yourself kits. Also dubbed the Parisian Peel, it is widely considered more gentle than a chemical peel (see below).
Pro: Works best with skin that is scarred, sun-damaged, or showing excessive signs of aging.
Con: Although it is advertised as being completely painless, it can cause some irritation and discomfort, and in some cases can result in a nasty rash.
7) Chemical Peel
If throwing acid in your face sounds fun, try this! Seriously, a chemical peel is a lot like microdermabrasion in that its goal is to renew the way your face looks and feels by getting rid of the damaged top layer of your skin to reveal the softer second layer. This is accomplished by using a chemical concoction of phenol and special acids designed to enhance your appearance.
Pro: In some cases, chemical peels were successful in getting rid of acne and pre-cancerous growths, as well as reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines associated with aging.
Con: Some people have bad reactions to certain acids, such as alphahydroxy acid, used in a chemical peel, and may experience redness, a tightening sensation and acute stinging. Remember when Sex and the City’s Samantha had a lunchtime peel that went wrong? Ouch!
It sounds too good to be true: scientists have discovered that a poison made by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum can paralyze the facial muscles, getting rid of visible wrinkles as long as it lasts. Small amounts injected into certain parts of the body will block off nerve impulses to these muscles, such as those under the eyes and on the forehead, thus effectively erasing crow’s feet and frown lines – temporarily. Larger amounts, when ingested, can cause food poisoning. Ain’t science wonderful?
Pro: A 15-minute treatment can work for months, with immediate results.
Con: Too much Botox can give you freezeface: if you still want to show any expression at all go easy, otherwise people won’t know if you’re smiling or about to throw up.
9) Filler Injections
They are certainly cheaper and less invasive than going under the knife, and injections of dermal fillers such as Perlane or Restylane are largely successful in making people look significantly younger. Made of hyaluronic acid derived from non-animal sources, Perlane is better suited for deeper wrinkles than its sister Restylane. Both injectable gels are manufactured by the same Swedish firm and are suitable for people with allergies to animals or eggs.
Pro: As a topical anesthetic is administered beforehand, the injections are relatively pain-free.
Con: Courses of injections are not cheap and regular top-ups are necessary for best effect.
Looking younger has never been easier. But while there are loads of medical spas around these days, it’s always a good idea to visit a reputable one and shop around before taking the plunge. You may also want to have your treatment carried out by a doctor instead of a technician to reduce the risk of anything going wrong. Do your research carefully, and don’t opt for the latest fad unless it has well-documented medical evidence to back it up. Remember: you get what you pay for!
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate medical professional.
Sarah Matthews is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a Healer at Yodle Local or more Health & Medicine articles at Yodle Consumer Guide.