Chin Up!

Vivian Vassos | May 1st, 2013

A new high-tech solution to battle sagging skin promises a new lift, especially for men.

High-tech solutions to aging are nothing new. What is newer, however, is using technology to help with age-related and, even more interesting, weight-loss-related sagging of the skin, particularly in the telltale areas of the jaw and neckline. Of course, we can’t alter gravity or genetics but we can do something to combat these “conditions” of aging. Sure, there are injectibles and surgeries, but what about something new that’s non-invasive?

Viora, a developer of esthetics technology, has manipulated radio frequency (RF) in a whole new way, and it is brand new to Canada. Using RF may not be groundbreaking for this application, but what the company has done, via its Reaction device, is utilize not one but three RFs to enable the precise delivery of energy to different penetration depths (based on the area treated and the thickness of each patient’s skin), reinforced by a vacuum to stimulate circulation. Because it has this “smart” technology built right in, it promises to provide a more personalized treatment, determining the depth of penetration and amount of RF energy dispatched to the skin. Plus, unlike some other RF treatments, it’s virtually painless.

Even the name sounds promising: ReLift. According to the European-educated dermatologist Dr. Marina Vashkevich, Viora’s clinical department specialist and the chief trainer of the technology to doctors and plastic surgeons for Canada, “ReLift means to lift up the skin in the jowl area and to reduce the amount of fat in the lower third of the face,” she says. “So there are two targets for a ReLift program: first, fat removing and, second, making the skin layer shorter for a tighter appearance.”

Vashkevich, who operates the Med V Spa Anti-Aging Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Toronto’s Yorkville area, notes that the treatment is not just popular with women; men are becoming increasingly concerned about their appearance in this area. And it’s no wonder. Think of how many men wear ties, an eye-catching focal point. Then think how that same stylish focal point could also shift the focus to a jowly, saggy skin appearance mere millimetres away. “For men, treatment of the jowl area is the most popular,” she says. “It might be because, psychologically, we connect the man’s chin in our brain with that ‘concrete’ line. Recall the macho or cowboy’s face. It is connected with very clear, chiselled jaw area, and when the contour of the line changes men notice it first of all.”

According to Andrea Tiede, director of training and practice development at Viora, men are spending more on esthetic services, even during tough economic times. “A lot of the practices I work with have an increasing male clientele,” she adds. “I gather they want and, in some way, need to feel and look younger at work, not necessarily in their personal lives.” Yet another manifestation of ageism in the competitive multi-generation workplace.

But what about the old adage: you have to suffer to be beautiful? “Men are a particular contingent of clients,” says Vashkevich. “They have to know that they are reasonably spending their money and they are not able to tolerate the pain. So the treatment feels like a warm massage, no pain.”

Painlessness is not the only reason to choose esthetic treatments over surgery. “Modern technologies are able to positively influence the body’s organs and system condition,” says Vashkevich. For instance, Reaction is able to affect the process of new collagen growth, and improve lymphatic drainage, blood circulation, and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. Vashkevich then adds her own skin cocktail named Infusion, part of a Health Canada-approved technique using another device not yet available in the United States. “Infusion carries hyaluronic acid, collagen, proteins and peptides to the dermis skin layer; [intense pulsed light] significantly reduces acne inflammation processes and diamond microdermabrasion stimulates growth of the superficial layer of the skin. Consequently, technologies positively influence the condition of the body. Could you make the same conclusion about surgery?”

According to Viora’s protocols, the number of treatments can vary from three to six, with the period of time between treatments one to three weeks. In order to have a stable and prolonged result, the company recommends repeating the treatment with an interval of three to six months from the last procedure. (At press time, aside from Med V Spa, a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon in Ontario as well as a dermatologist in Alberta are also using the technology.)

 “There’s nothing artificial in the treatment,” she says, “only stimulation of the potential of an individual’s skin, like a mobilization of its own resources. By raising the temperature inside the dermis layer, it starts two processes: collagen crosslinks break down and stimulation of the new collagen allows it to grow. So aging skin still has a huge potential. We only awaken it.”

 

 More high-tech skin-tightening treatments

 

FotoFacial RF

According to Dr. R. Stephen Mulholland and the dermatology experts at Toronto’s SpaMedica, FotoFacial RF Pro treatments are face, neck, hands or body treatments using intense pulsed light (IPL), infrared (IR), laser and/or radio frequency (RF) energy combined in the same pulse. The treatments are gentle, offer no downtime and are used to improve cosmetic appearance.

Thermage

Thermage uses radio frequency to safely heat skin’s underlayer and the web of collagen in the inner layer, causing an immediate tightening as well as improved tone and texture, says Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK in Toronto. And the improvements, she notes, will continue and become even more noticeable for four to six months following treatment due to new collagen growth.

Ultherapy

At Bay Dermatology, this nonsurgical treatment uses ultrasound to lift and tone loose skin without downtime. It treats not only the skin, says Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, but also the deep foundation below the skin that is addressed in cosmetic surgery. This initiates the body’s collagen rebuilding process without disturbing the surface of your skin. After treatment, she adds, the skin will gradually shift into a more youthful position.