It’s impossible to turn back time, but it is possible to achieve a youthful, rejuvenated appearance without surgery. Advancements in products and procedures provide options with minimal pain and discomfort.
For a person wanting fewer wrinkles and no downtime, a liquid face-lift may be the answer.
“By liquid face-lift, we’re referring to volume restoration and wrinkle plumping using popular hyaluronic acid fillers, generally in combination with neurotoxins,” says Juan Brou, a plastic surgeon with Premier Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics in Oklahoma City. “There are fillers other than hyaluronic acid, which is a clear, gel-like substance that exists normally in the space between your body cells.”
These fillers are not permanent, so the body eventually absorbs them after one or two years. Brou doesn’t use permanent fillers due to problems they can cause and emphasizes that a liquid face-lift can’t replace a surgical one.
“When the problem is skin laxity, such as with prominent jowls and loose neck and cheek skin, then surgery is the only way to correct it – and the results are much more dramatic,” he says.
Tim R. Love, plastic surgeon and owner of Tim R. Love Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in OKC, says nonsurgical face-lifting has taken a leap forward with products such as InMode’s Facetite and Bodytite.
“The devices use radio frequency-assisted liposuction to melt fat while tightening skin and soft tissue overlying areas traditionally treated with liposuction alone,” he says. “This allows our patients to avoid traditional long incisions and painful recovery periods. The results have been shown to shrink skin and soft tissue up to 40 percent and have provided lift-like results. InMode’s Bodytite uses the same radio frequency-assisted liposuction technology for areas such as the abdomen, arms, breast, thighs and knees.”
InMode’s Fractora uses radio frequency microneedling to stimulate collagen production and decrease wrinkles and acne scars.
“The combination of the technologies … is the perfect answer for patients who are not ready for a face-lift but want optimal outcomes,” Love says. “It is especially effective for the neck and jowls and allows the practitioner to accurately sculpt the face and body.”
Jan Hodges, client services manager at the Skin Care Institute in Tulsa, says dermal fillers such as Juvederm Ultra Plus, or Juvederm Voluma can renew volume in the face and create a gently lifted look.
“This highly customizable procedure can use anywhere between one and four syringes, giving a client a more natural look than surgical results – with instant results and little to no downtime,” she says.
Causing “micro injury” to the skin can also trick it into restoring collagen levels.
“Treatments such as Ultherapy, Fraxel, Clear and Brilliant, SkinPen microneedling, SkinMedica peels and Lumecca Photofacials are all excellent choices,” Hodges says.
Registered nurse Karen Weidner, founder of Utica Square Skin Care in Tulsa with dermatologist Kristen Rice, offers Thermage FLX, which uses radio waves to stimulate collagen fibers in the skin. The procedure smooths a sagging jawline and wrinkled cheeks and neck.
“Under eyes can reveal our age quickly,” Love says. “The degree of aging will dictate whether the patient can best be improved by surgical or nonsurgical technique or a combination of both. Accentuated tear troughs may be improved by carefully injecting a hyaluronic dermal filler. Lower lid blepharoplasty may also be an option for patients with more pronounced bags.”
Rice suggests broadband light treatment to improve dark circles and Thermage FLX to tighten loose skin around the eyes. Fillers help smooth the transition between the lower eyelid and the cheek to give a rested appearance, and topical applications are available for dark circles and mild eye bags.
3. Hands, neck and lips
“Two primary issues occur with hands – sun and age spots, and loss of volume leading to prominent tendons and blood vessels,” Rice says.
Treatments include Fraxel Dual, broadband light or intense pulsed light, and cryotherapy. For volume loss, injectable dermal fillers create a youthful appearance.
For the neck or decolletage, Rice suggests Thermage FLX or Fraxel 1550, a resurfacing laser, to improve wrinkled skin.
Hodges adds: “Almost any treatment that can be performed on the face can also be done on the neck and hands. For brown spot reduction, we recommend Intense Pulsed Light Photofacials. For texture and fine lines, we have seen great results with Fraxel Dual laser resurfacing.”
To rejuvenate a wrinkled or sagging neck, Hodges recommends Ultherapy as “the only FDA-cleared, noninvasive procedure that lifts and tightens the face and/or neck, and improves lines and wrinkles on the chest.”
For lips, Rice says fillers can provide structure and create volume. Wrinkles around the mouth can be treated with fillers and resurfacing such as microneedling.
Hodges suggests Juvederm Ultra or Juvederm Volbella to create fullness and/or to minimize creases (like smoker’s lines) around the mouth, and products such as SkinMedica HA5 Lip System or Skinceutical’s Antioxidant Lip Repair can be used at home to help lips look smooth and hydrated.
4. Breast augmentation
Brou knows of only one nonsurgical procedure for breast enlargement – Brava, a device that uses negative pressure to gradually expand the breast. Patients must wear the device for eight to 10 hours a day for several weeks and results are not permanent.
“I tried to implement Brava, but it seems so cumbersome, slow and impractical to my patients that we always resort to implants,” he says. “The most popular procedure is still augmentation with silicone breast implants, generally medium profile, under the muscle using an inframammary fold incision [in the crease] of about two inches or less. The average implant I use is about 350 cubic centimeters, but it varies according to patient desires and anatomy.”
Love adds: “Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular surgical procedures year after year. As a pioneer in the design of Cohesive Profile Gel (or gummy bear) breast implants, I have found it ideal for many patients in terms of its natural look and long-term durability.
“Because this implant is teardrop in nature, it provides a more natural slope to the breast and is good for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes. Fat grafting, using a patient’s own fat (via liposuction), may also be used in reconstructive cases, and occasionally cosmetic cases, to assist in achieving an optimum result.”