As gravity takes its toll (plus a loosening of the muscles and tissue, as well as changes in the amount and positioning of fat), the face and certain areas of it can take on a saggy appearance. Collagen and elastin are essential for firm skin but they both break down over the years. As this happens and fat is lost, there is a weakening of the internal support structure that keeps skin where it needs to be.
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Many women simply forget to treat the area below the chin, but nothing screams your age like a saggy neck with wrinkles and bands. Neurotoxins can soften the bands, but the only way to get rid of the turkey wattle is with a necklift. During the procedure, the weak muscles of the neck are tightened up and loose skin is excised. According Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Leslie H. Stevens, MD, tightening the neck muscles and skin is key when fixing a saggy neck.
The only permanent way to fully correct skin laxity in the neck and face is with surgical excision. “As we age, the soft tissue of the face deflates and descends creating an aged appearance. Because the fibrous attachments between the skin and the deeper structures are looser in some areas more than others, some parts of the face, like the lower cheeks, midface and neck, may experience more drooping—this accounts for the classic signs of aging: jowls, loose skin on the neck and deep smile lines,” explains San Francisco plastic surgeon David W. Kim, MD.
A facelift re-elevates and repositions the skin, reclaiming the position it once had. With most facelift surgeries, but not all, volume needs to be restored to the areas where it has been lost from to create a fully rejuvenated look. “The face becomes hollow with age and if we just pull the skin tight and don’t replace the volume that’s been lost you can actually look older,” says Scottsdale, AZ, plastic surgeon Geoffrey E. Leber, MD.
Harnessing the power of ultrasound to lift and firm loose skin, this face (it can be used on the brows and under the chin) and neck tightener delivers energy to the deeper layers of the skin to produce more collagen for a firming effect. While the results are not instant, they can be seen over time (anywhere from two to six months) as the skin starts to contract.
How Effective Are Skin Tighteners?
Noninvasive procedures that target slack skin are an option for those who don’t want surgery. While each device relies on a different type of energy to tighten, most plastic surgeons stress that these treatments do not rival the results of actual surgery. Nonetheless, they are still a popular choice.
The Thermage used today is different than in years past—mainly because of a technology known as Comfort Pulse Technology, which employs a handpiece to deliver the energy more efficiently and comfortably. Using radio frequency as its energy source, Thermage works to heat collagen in the skin to remodel and produce new collagen for smoother, tighter skin. “You will get some tightening with Thermage but it really depends on what type of result you are looking for. If you just need some minimal tightening, it could work for you,” says Dr. Stevens.
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