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Non-invasive facial procedures can help achieve the Cinderella effect

Facelift numbers are falling because battling gravity doesn’t have to mean going under the knife

If you want to keep the effects of gravity at bay but aren’t keen on the idea of surgery, there are lots of treatments on the market that stimulate collagen production and help keep the definition of your facial features.

For example, Emface, a new technology from BTL Aesthetics, provides some of the benefits of a traditional facelift without the need to go under the knife – or even the needle.

The technology uses a mix of radio-frequency and electromagnetic energies to rejuvenate cells under the skin.

BTL developed the concept of increasing muscle tone and muscle mass as a way of addressing abdominal fat and pelvic-floor issues, explains Kambiz Golchin, consultant plastic surgeon at Beacon Face and Dermatology.


He says BTL’s latest advance, Emface, works in two ways. Firstly, it strengthens the muscles of the face – weakening muscles cause such issues as sagging eyes and drooping at the corners of the mouth so anything that lifts these helps work against time and gravity, he says. Electromagnetic energy used in the procedure helps to strengthen facial muscles which, in turn, help to lift the soft tissue around them.

“The second part of the treatment is the radio-frequency technology which heats up the skin and by doing that you are increasing the levels of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin too,” says Golchin. Heating the top and middle layers of your skin shrinks collagen fibres. “As you start that process the cells wake up and go, ‘Oops, we need to produce more.’” Within a matter of weeks the results will be visible in terms of collagen production; this will continue to improve for some time, says Golchin.

Some people say, ‘I’m not going to do anything and I’ll save my money and get a full surgical facelift instead.’ I think that is the wrong way to approach this

—  Kambiz Golchin

Various technologies, including lasers and ultrasound, are designed to kick-start collagen production. All differ significantly from surgical facelifts. “They are completely different. EmFace is a non-surgical, non invasive treatment with no downtime required,” Golchin explains. “You lie down for 20 minutes, typically for four sessions, and the results will last a year or longer. A facelift will last around seven years.”

If maintaining your features for as long as possible is what you desire, such treatments have a role to play and are best thought of in terms of stages of intervention.

“Some people say, ‘I’m not going to do anything and I’ll save my money and get a full surgical facelift instead.’ I think that is the wrong way to approach this,” says Golchin.

A facelift can address certain parts of your face, such as the jawline or neck, but it has no impact on the quality of your skin, he points out.

“If you look at the numbers [in the United States], you can see that both surgical and non-surgical treatments have been steadily rising every year but in absolute terms the number of facelifts completed has fallen. So more people are opting for non-surgical treatments as a way of avoiding or delaying the face lift until a later stage,” he says.

However, it is important to remember that each individual has differing needs, Golchin points out. If someone in their early 30s, for example, has lost a significant amount of weight, leading to laxity in the skin, they may benefit from increasing their muscle mass earlier than someone who hasn’t.

While no topical skincare product can provide the kind of lifting and tightening of a facelift, a growing number of medi-spa treatments that can help you postpone feeling the need for one is available via beauty salons.

According to Sinead Sisson of The Buff Day Spa in Dublin, one of the most effective of these is microneedling. “It gives that plump, firm, beautiful glow to your skin,” says Sisson.

With microneedling a consultation takes place to assess your skin type and make sure you are suitable for the treatment. The treatment starts with a skin cleanser, followed by a numbing cream, which takes 30 minutes to take effect. This is required because the needles used penetrate the skin to a depth of 1-1.5mm. The microneedles are applied using a roller device, in conjunction with a skin serum.

The procedure, which stimulates collagen production and improves elasticity, normally causes minor reddening, says Sisson. “It takes around five to seven days for the redness to die down. Also, you do get peeling afterwards but, again, that’s what we want,” she says. “People are bothered by it but it is just the skin rejuvenating itself and the result is improved texture.”

The Buff Day Spa also offers Venus Freeze, a treatment that combines radio-frequency technology and magnetic energy which can be used on the body as a way to reduce the appearance of cellulite and on the face to helps boost collagen production and elasticity, softening wrinkles.

“It gives you that lovely Cinderella effect and is great for a wedding or a big event,” Sisson explains.

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times