Greek mythology tells the story of Emperor Tiberius who swam the Isle of Capri in search of the fountain of youth. Whether in tales or today, that’s a pretty drastic measure just to look good. But I have to wonder are we truly that different than Tiberius in our quest? Alas, if only the emperor had lived long enough to reach modern times, he, too, would be afforded the huge number of choices we have today to tighten, freshen and age as gracefully as we prefer. However, I expect that even he would be perplexed at all the options we have to retain our youth. So, how do we know what may work best for us? First, always start with a board-certified plastic surgeon and/or dermatologist; they’re knowledgeable and experienced in helping you on your own personal journey toward the fountain of youth.
Facelift in a Jar
The mildest form of non-surgical facelift is really more of a misnomer than a valid candidate for facelift options. DMAE (dimethylethanolamine) is a skin-firming treatment that has become known as “the facelift in a jar.” Other facelift creams and powders containing highly concentrated solutions of amino acids, such as hexapeptide and alpha hydroxyl acid, can also be used to tighten skin and reduce fine lines. Some of these products can be applied at home, while only an aesthetician or dermatologist should handle others.
Facelift in a Box
Another mild cosmetic treatment that compares itself to a kind of facelift is the “home rejuvenation” system. Whether micro-dermabrasion, vibration or light, there are a variety of different companies and different technologies out there, each similar in that they all use an intensity level safe enough for home use. Some third-party research shows these to be effective in reducing fine lines, age spots, acne and scarring, while tightening and freshening the skin.
Facelift in a Needle
Nope, not Botox! Cosmetic acupuncture uses the healing properties of this traditional Chinese remedy for pain, disease and overall health, and applies it to the face. The insertion of tiny needles increases circulation to the face and stimulates collagen production, thereby eliminating fine lines and resulting in plump, healthy skin.
A liquid facelift is applied to dermal fillers such as Juvaderm, Restylane or Sculptra, which are hyaluronic acid fillers that plump the skin, fill deep wrinkles and can enhance aging lips. The fillers are injected in small quantities and may cause mild swelling, but should result in very little recovery time. Botox works by relaxing the muscles of the face, thereby reducing the appearance of frown lines and expression wrinkles. Botox is popular and effective, with results that last up to four months. Together Botox and fillers can certainly reduce or even eliminate wrinkles, plump skin and give it a tighter appearance.
A microcurrent facelift delivers electrical stimulation to the muscles of the face to stimulate cell function and improve skin tone, reduce lines and wrinkles, improve circulation and skin exfoliation while reducing sun damage and cellulite. The treatment, which usually consists of multiple one-hour sessions performed by a specialist, is also reported to improve lymphatic drainage and boost circulation and metabolism.
A very popular option these days is the use of heat to cause the collagen under the skin to contract, resulting in a skin-tightening effect. The science is that radiofrequency energy heats the inner layers of the skin (fat and collagen) to tighten and rejuvenate the skin’s collagen structure. A major selling point of this is that the relatively painless treatment, which takes effect immediately, requires only one session. Thermage and Ultratherapy are the brands to look for here.
There are actually two types of laser facelifts – one of which is a surgical procedure, the other being the skin-tightening non-surgical technique. The non-surgical laser facelift is similar to the radiofrequency facelift, except that it uses infrared light to heat the skin and tighten collagen structures. Titan is a well-known laser therapy treatment; Lux-IR is less so. Laser skin tightening generally requires up to six treatments for full effectiveness.
A facelift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery. Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try and fit any sort of ideal image.
From the mildest to the more advanced, these facelift options give you a choice of how you want to address the aging of your skin over time. No, they won’t give you eternal youth, but they can help you look and feel your best at any age.