TIGHTEN Up
RETREAT Magazine|Issue 19
Say goodbye to sagging skin! Technology and skincare have collided more than ever before and Dr. Kate Jameson, Cosmetic Physician and the Medical Director of Youth Lab, Australia’s premier medical aesthetics clinic, has everything you need to know about skin tightening.

WHAT CAUSES SAGGING SKIN?

One of the hallmark signs of ageing skin is a loss of skin elasticity and laxity which presents to many as “sagging skin”.

With age, the skin itself changes with a loss of collagen and support as well as a loss of elastin. Elastin provides the skin with the ability to stretch and snap back into position when elastin is lost the skin becomes loose and slack and is unable to maintain its structure and position. This can all result in skin that is thinner, looser and sagging.

Although many of these changes eventually occur in everyone, the changes to skin quality, especially the quality and amount of elastin and collagen, are significantly affected by the environment. Factors such as long term UV exposure and smoking are the main culprits. Other causes include air pollution, poor nutrition, and rapid, extensive weight loss (and also weight fluctuations over time). One of the major causes of skin sagging, smoking, causes a loss of elastin and collagen by the production of free radicals. This is when once-healthy oxygen molecules become overactive and unstable. Free radicals damage cells, leading to, among other things, premature wrinkles and sagging.

Skin damaged by the environment appears course, roughened and is deeply wrinkled with a loss of elasticity and recoil, making the skin appear “saggy.”

Skin sagging generally becomes more apparent as the effects of environmental and lifestyle changes appear, usually in the 40-50s, especially for women. These environmental factors can worsen and accelerate wrinkling and sagging of the skin.

WHAT TREATMENTS WORK BEST FOR NECK AND JOWLS?

The area that bothers most people when their skin begins to lose elasticity and start to sag is the lower face (and jowls) as well as the neck.

The majority of the treatments that work best for this area utilise methods of inducing collagen and elastin production by triggering a cascade of events within the skin that stimulates cell formation through controlled inflammation and wound response. With increased production of collagen and elastin comes skin that thickens and becomes firmer, reducing the appearance of sagging jowls and neck bands.

With these treatments results are subtle and cumulative, Radio Frequency is a popular method which works to deliver heat energy into the skin to remove damaged collagen and stimulate a wound response in the skin, which over time then produces a skin tightening effect that peaks over a 3 to 6 month period. Radiofrequency Skin tightening synthesizes new collagen to thicken and add extra support to the skin. There are multiple options available such as older monopolar radiofrequency treatments such as Thermage and Pelleve and newer bipolar Radiofrequency treatments which often combine micro-needling to further enhance the effects such as the Intensif and Infini. A series of these treatments is always recommended, often 4-6 weeks apart with results evident even at 12 months. Treatment is generally comfortable with minimal downtime.

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