Not so very long ago the only option for tightening/lifting skin was surgical. The facelift market boomed with people (mostly women) seeking a way to turn back the clock or to freeze time. In recent years, though, the facelift is losing market share to the myriad of less invasive procedures that provide some pretty interesting results. While we will cover a few here, many more will be demonstrated live, or taught through lecture at SCALE 2019 Music City, which is fast approaching.
The Market Is Changing- Moving Away From the Facelift
When facelifts were created in the early 1900s, they were rare and taboo. Slowly, one doctor after another, began to report on the skin tightening procedures they were performing on actresses, aristocrats, and other women whose looks were important. By 1921, doctors in Europe and the United States were routinely performing cosmetic procedures.
Early facelifts were rudimentary. They punctured the skin and pinched it, pulling back without lifting. This limited the potential for results. World War I battle wounds were actually the trigger that jump started more effective methods of cosmetic surgery. The need to reconstruct wounds led to the lifting of the skin off of the fat and stretching it tighter, stitching it to hold it in place. By the 1960s, surgeons were using this technique to add new contours to the face, as well as just firming up the skin and reducing wrinkles. By the 1970s, this surgical approach to changing ones look and de-aging was becoming more mainstream.
By 2000, there were almost 500,000 cosmetic facelifts (rhytidectomy) being performed annually in clinics, medical spas, and hospitals, alongside the reconstructive ones. (Source). By 2016, the procedure was able to be performed as a mini-facelift. Anesthesia was still required, and there was a real recovery time, but many women (and men) had begun to get mini-facelifts.
According to the American Board Of Cosmetic Surgery:
Patients who exhibit a mild degree of jowling and sagging skin are often good candidates for a mini-facelift. This is a less invasive technique that allows a cosmetic surgeon to tighten deep facial tissues through shorter incisions, typically located along the hairline above each ear and/or in the natural creases surrounding the ear. Through these incisions, structural tissues around the cheeks are lifted and tightened to correct jowling, refine the jawline, and rejuvenate a “tired” appearance.
Depending on the case, a mini-facelift may be performed using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia; your cosmetic surgeon will recommend the best option for your individual needs. A mini-facelift can help you address unwelcome signs of aging before they become too pronounced, postponing the need for more extensive surgery for many years.
Approximately one-third of all facelift patients opt for the mini. The other two-thirds go all in. There are a full 4% less people getting any type of facelift than in 2000. At the same time there are literally several hundred times the number of people getting other procedures to address their skin, and more than a 4% increase in non-surgical skin tightening.
Skin Technology 2019 and Beyond
The advent of technology in the 21st century is really what is changing the market for facelifts. There are many options for skin resurfacing that can make the skin look younger, brighter, and healthier. Such options include laser resurfacing and other energy treatments, microdermabrasion, and even fillers. Most of these, however, with the exceptions of some fillers, do not actually tighten the skin, but they all do a remarkable job of providing results that make cosmetic clients look and feel more youthful. As science and technology continue to advance, these alternatives will inevitably become more advanced as well.
In the meantime, the more your clients follow a healthy, active lifestyle that protects and pampers their skin, the longer and more naturally they will maintain firm skin. Those include:
- Firming cosmetic products
- Nonsurgical procedures that can be performed at your clinic or spa on a regular and rountine basis
- Weight loss
- Massage (Source)
These can help maintain the skin’s integrity across the entire body. However, the best possible results come from clinical-grade procedures.
Non-Surgical Skin Tightening
When someone doesn’t want a lift, what can you do for them? Well, the best options depend on the client themselves. What part of the body are they looking to fix, their age, their health, and their current appearance. Some of the best alternatives include the following:
- Radiofrequency. As reported on by Readers Digest, this technique is relatively new and effective. Known as RF, the energy-based therapy heats up the collagen that is underneath the skin, causing it to both contract and create more collagen. It has been shown to be effective on the face, arms, thighs, and tummy. It does involve a small incision and a wand is then inserted under the skin. It has limitations for those who have recently lost large amounts of weight without converting it into muscle. In those cases the sagging skin cannot be cured by the procedure.
- Ultrasound. It is similar to RF in that it aims to increase collagen production, but it does so by using a different energy device. Ultrasound is focused more on the deepest layers of the skin. It is most effective on the face and neck area.
- IPL/RF. This is the combination of intense pulsed light and radiofrequency. When used together, “the heat goes to the deeper layers of skin and induce the natural healing response, which in turn triggers collagen production. The addition of IPL allows a provider to treat skin at multiple levels and can help focus the RF energy for more effective treatment.” (Source).