ROKer C, asked for some skin tightening non-surgical options for us in our twenties to try in order to prevent what she calls "hamster cheeks", which is (and I'm guessing here) the equivalent of what I call "bulldog cheeks". Both are non-flattering bags of saggy cheeks, very cute on a number of animals, not so cute on your face. My dad has them, and since I have 80% dad-phenotype, I'm probably going to have them as well, hence; prevention, prevention, prevention!
Skin tightness/ firmness is determined mainly by the skin's elastic potential as well as it's hydration levels. Skin elasticity is the skin's ability to stretch and then go back to normal once the need to stretch is gone, an attribute of the skin's elastic fibers, mainly elastin. Skin elasticity decreases with age as fibers are harmed by UV radiation, lifestyle choices and diet. The condition is known as elastosis and can be especially easy to see in parts of the body that have been most exposed to the sun.
Problems with skin elasticity can also arise after a person loses a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Skin often cannot keep up with the sudden changes the body has been through, and it may not shrink back to the same size as the body, leaving unsightly excess skin behind.
There are 5 non-invasive in-office procedures available today for facial skin-tightening:
1) ReFirme is a non-invasive skin treatment procedure that uses a combination of Bi-Polar Radio Frequency and Light energies to precisely heat the dermal tissue within the targeted treatment area. The precise heating ensures a safe, effective, fast treatment with no downtime. Fine wrinkles are reduced, noticeable lifting can be observed on sagging skin and the texture of your skin becomes smoother, more luminous and toned. Unlike conventional lasers and IPL's, ReFirme uses significantly less optical energy, ensuring enhanced safety and a virtually painless procedure.
ReFirme is a complete anti-aging solution for targeting those telltale signs of aging, including, jowl and neck, sagginess under the eyes, saggy brow lines, and nasolabial folds. Unlike conventional laser skin treatments that are time and treatment intensive, and often too painful for many patients; ReFirme offers virtually painless and fast treatment for sagging and wrinkled skin.
2) Thermage: Radio waves are used to heat the dermis while keeping the epidermis cool. This heats the collagen in the dermis, making it thicken and contract. This is termed denaturation and it gives the skin a smoother look. At the same time, the heating stimulates the collagen to reproduce itself. This reverses the reduction of collagen that aging causes, and gives a more long-term tightening of skin.
3) TITAN is a revolutionary skin and collagen tightening system that effectively improves skin looseness and stimulates long-term collagen rebuilding. Clinical results confirm improvement in better than 90 percent of the patients treated. When compared to radio wave thermal technology, TITAN has been shown to be at least twice as effective.
The TITAN procedure treats sagging and redundant skin throughout the body including the abdomen and thighs, and is also used to tone, lift, and tighten the skin on the face.
4) Ultherapy is a new type of non-surgical, non-invasive procedure for the face that uses ultrasound and the body’s own natural healing process to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin. This device uses ultrasound to stimulate the deep structural support layers of the skin—including those typically addressed in a surgical facelift—without disturbing the surface of the skin.
Results will unfold over the course of 2-3 months and some patients have reported continued improvement for up to 6 months. While ultrasound does not duplicate the results of surgery, Ultherapy has proven to be an inviting alternative for those who are not yet ready for surgery.
5) Lasers: resurfacing lasers (eg, carbon dioxide laser, erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet [Er:YAG] laser) are the current mainstays of ablative facial resurfacing. During an ablative facial resurfacing process, the epidermis is denuded to a certain depth by the direct thermal injury applied to the skin.
The ablative cutaneous injury induces a healing response, resulting in the deposition of a new skin matrix with improved characteristics. During this so-called healing process, skin rejuvenation occurs by a proliferation of fibroblast activity, the action of inflammatory mediators, and a deposition of new collagen and other dermal matrix proteins.
Theres A LOT of options available at your dermatologist office regarding skin-tightening. There's no reason to ever have to do a conventional face-lift (and risking that unfortunate look of constant surprise) while technology is harvesting these amazing results on the lifting front. I think the Ultherapy sounds like the best option for us in our twenties looking for a preventative option. It uses ultrasound energy, and so offers the most gentle approach to skin tightening. I for my part am happy sticking to my Retinol regiment and glycolic acid peels as of now, as well as getting some botox injections now and then (more on that later). Ultherapy is next though, I just have to get a little bit rich and famous first.