We women have a special talent for chopping ourselves apart. We’re more adept at totally mowing ourselves down than just about any male I’ve ever met. So you probably are a lot better looking than you think you are, but if your face or neck is making you unhappy, know that just about anything can be restored.
Basically, there are four things that contribute to our feeling that we look “used up”:
• Changes in the skin that we never expected when we were twenty and working on our tans – coarseness, loss of elasticity and loss of luminosity or radiance of the skin
• Contraction and bulking up of certain facial muscles, giving us, most notably, “frown lines” and “crows’ feet”. The skin changes noted above are accomplices to this
• Loss of volume in the face, giving it a more hardened appearance as opposed to soft curves
All of these can be successfully treated in most people. But no matter what else is going on, healthy, glowing skin is your best asset. That’s because it’s a reflection of general health and health is always beautiful. We all know that the best cure is prevention with sunscreens, a nutritious diet and regular exercise, but what can we do about the damage from past neglect?
Fortunately, we have a gamut of products from newer incarnations of Retin-A, to antioxidants and growth factors that can be applied topically and actually make a difference over time. Peels range from something to make you look especially glowing that night to deeper peels that will have you molting for a few days, but can gradually make a significant difference in the texture and uniformity of color of the skin, even taking away brown spots. If the skin is severely wrinkled a dramatic restoration can be had with laser skin resurfacing and about 12 days of downtime.
In the past, I’ve been fond of admonishing that “lunchtime procedures” give you lunchtime results. But then came Pellevé, a fairly new device based on a not so new technology called “radio waves”. Some predecessors of Pellevé overpromised and under delivered, but this procedure has proved, with good technique, to effect a subtle but significant tightening and smoothing of the skin and the supporting tissues beneath it. It also stimulates collagen production. (Collagen is much of what gives young skin its luminosity and bounce.)
For my patients, it feels like a hot stone massage, and it is not uncommon for patients to drift off while they’re having it done. No anesthetic is required, and there is absolutely no downtime. The radio waves work by heating up the collagen in the skin and beneath it. The collagen then contracts and firms up, and new collagen is formed. The studies that were performed for FDA clearance of Pellevé demonstrated continued improvement of the skin up to 6 months, but clinically, operators have seen improvement for up to two years. In the one year-plus that I have been using Pellevé, I have seen sustained improvement in my patients’ skin and in a few instances, a marked improvement in wrinkling (after two treatments) that I never would have expected from something so benign.
What exactly do we see with Pellevé? There is an immediate firming and smoothing of the skin especially visible at the jaw line and around the eyes. The contours of the face seem to actually lift in most people who are candidates for this procedure. Over time, the skin appears firmer and more radiant.
Any medical procedure must be prescribed on an individual basis, and sometimes we may require more than one type of procedure to bring the patient to her best result. But Pellevé has shown itself to be of real benefit to many of my patients and it’s gratifying to see that we can have great results with something that actually feels good!