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LUNCHTIME FACELIFT- LONGTIME PROBLEMS?

 (Photo courtesy Gawker.com)

The other day a stunning woman in her 60’s dropped in for a consult. She was a client I had seen years ago before she left the Big Apple. She knew her skin had taken a turn for the worst when she came to see me, but I had waited for her to say it first.

It’s hard to imagine this woman being anything other than beautiful, but the skin on her neck was the hard to look at as a professional because it was just hanging (eluding to her being older than she really is). Nothing that a turtleneck or scarf won’t cover, but she normally lives in a climate filled with bathing suits and works in an industry where appearances matter.

Her skin had certainly never looked this thin or fragile before. She had finally admitted to getting Ultherapy, a very hot, non-ablative (non-surgical) device that uses heat to tighten in the collagen. As I’ve mentioned before most of the time customers don’t realize that many of these hot devices are also excellent for melting the fat below the skin. That’s why some doctors are using similar devices to help eliminate fat on the body. You can read more about these devices HERE.

The problem for this particular client was her skin was already too thin even prior to the ultherapy  treatment ( I would have said the same about thermage). After observing hundreds of ultherapy customers I find it is a tool best used for bulky jowls or a double chin (IF someone is a good candidate). Personally the double chin area makes me a bit nervous because I’ve seen a lot of stringy necks after this treatment (especially after age 45). The rest of the face should be off limits because a year or two down the road the collagen breaks and loosens especially around the edges of the mouth making your laugh lines appear to have commas or parentheses around them.

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The hot 60+ year old claimed that the treatment was VERY painful (probably because she had no fat to begin with) and the results, if any, were short-lived (especially when these treatments run $4-6,000.00). P.S. You could practically get a whole new face in South Korea for what one pays for a series of laser treatments here in the US.

My greater concern is when she does eventually go for any kind of face lift her skin will be too thin to lift.  Her skin is not quite that bad yet, but it could be as time goes on and the collagen begins to get more fragile.

My client turned to me to see what I could do in the interim for her. I told her I could try to do some collagen therapy, which will help to thicken her skin. The problem is that procedure (which I will discuss in the future) generally works on collagen that hasn’t turned into scar tissue. I also advised her to make sure she keeps her skin well hydrated. Collagen that is brittle or dry can break and age even faster as I’ve mentioned before in this entry.

It will be very interesting to see what the world of skin will be like over the next five years. I recently spent time in South Korea working and interviewing dozens of Korean women. I discovered that they find our celebrities very harsh looking. They think our women’s faces are too gaunt (not from contouring either). We might turn around and say that all Korean women look alike after their surgical procedures. Check out this article on South Korean surgery and beauty pageants.

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In closing my biggest concern is that even the Kardashians are promoting Ultherapy at far too young of an age. They don’t realize this could age and distort their skin faster because the collagen these machines create is inferior collagen that is like scar tissue (think of stretch marks).

In the end it’s really up to the consumer to do the research. I need to go down some vitamin C

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