Originally published on New York Social Diary. By: Delia von Neuschatz
When you look in the mirror, do you pull back the skin on your face..
imagining what you would look like with a bit of tightening here and there? You may even have tried non-invasive firming treatments like Thermage and Ultherapy, but the sagging persists. Still, you’re not willing to go the surgery route just yet, but would like to do something. In that case, the minimally invasive ThermiTight, a procedure which sits in between non-invasive and invasive surgical alternatives — may be the right option for you.
“ThermiTight is something for patients who see themselves getting a facelift down the road, but are not yet ready,”
explains Dr. Ron Shelton, a dermatologic surgeon who performs the treatment at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. “The ideal candidate is someone who is starting to see some drooping. The corners of the mouth are turning down and the nasolabial folds are deepening. It’s also a good treatment for patients who’ve had a facelift a few years ago and need a little tweaking.”
ThermiTight uses radiofrequency technology to both tighten loose skin and remove excess fat. It works by targeting the subdermal or inner layer of skin directly. “There’s such excitement about it because we’re seeing that the results can be very good,” says Dr. Shelton.
“ThermiTight has been a game changer,”
concurs plastic surgeon, Dr. Adam Rubinstein, who reports that the bulk of his patients for this treatment are 40 – 60 years old. “Before ThermiTight, we didn’t have an option for the in-between patient.”
In addition to tightening facial skin, this versatile procedure is also used to firm the skin on the neck, upper arms, abdomen and knees. And Botox users may be interested to know that a related treatment, ThermiRaise, disables the nerves which cause unwanted face and neck lines such as the glabellar or “11” frown lines between the brows.
Known as the injectable readiofrequency treatment,
Thermitight, which is FDA cleared, delivers heat directly to the dermis or the collagen-producing layer of skin through a very thin probe which, after an injection of a local anesthetic, is inserted just below the surface of the skin. When tissue is heated to 60° Centigrade (140° Fahrenheit), it contracts and produces skin-tightening collagen. Non-invasive radiofrequency treatments like Thermage, on the other hand, deliver heat through the outer layer of skin thereby limiting safe treatment temperatures and thus effectiveness.
The temperature of the treated tissue is carefully monitored. Not only does the probe measure the temperature of the underlying tissue several times per second, but the equipment also has a sophisticated external infrared camera which monitors skin temperature. “You don’t want to exceed a certain temperature underneath and you don’t want to exceed a certain temperature on the skin,” explains Dr. Shelton. The temperature is adjusted according to the desired results. Skin tightening, fat loss, nerve ablation all require different heat settings.
Although micro-invasive ThermiTight is non-surgical, it is not a treatment that entails less downtime than surgery, cautions Dr. Shelton. Patients can expect swelling and bruising to last one to two weeks. Compression garments must be worn for several days after the treatment.
Side effects may also include burns, nerve weaknesss (which disappears within a couple of weeks and which Dr. Shelton points out is also a hazard with surgery and Ultherapy) and theoretically, according to Dr. Shelton, there’s also the risk of facial asymmetry. Nor is this a “lunchtime lift.” Treating the face requires 45-60 minutes plus there’s the anesthesia time. Treating the thighs will take about two hours (not including the anesthesia time). Count on putting aside four hours for a two-hour procedure. You will also need someone to take you home afterwards.
Timing is a consideration in other ways. It takes six months or more to see optimum results so if you’re thinking of undergoing this procedure a month before your daughter’s wedding, save your money.
As for costs, they range between a few thousand dollars to about $8,000. To treat the face and neck, for instance, Dr. Shelton charges $6,500. One treatment is enough and results will last a minimum of two years. Ultimately, “ThermiTight doesn’t have any competition,” enthuses Dr. Shelton. “There’s a curve, but just about everyone sees tangible improvement,” says Dr. Rubinstein. “And sometimes, the results look like the patient has had a facelift.”
Want something a little gentler on your skin and on your wallet?
Our beauty experts rave about the Sapelo Skin Care line consisting of a serum, a moisturizer, a moisture-locking emollient and a new eye cream: “The Sapelo Face Cream and Serum are really the best anti-aging products,” says Travel Beauty founder Alyssa Barrie. “It may take 28 days to see results but the results are amazing and the formulation is sensitive enough that it can be used as an under eye cream and on the neck. 99% of people that try this line, order again and again.”
Step one of the Sapelo Skin Care regimen, the Renewing Serum hydrates the skin and contains cell-stimulating growth factors, boosting collagen and elastin production. A touch of magnolia oil brightens the complexion; Step 2, the Rejuvenating Cream boasts a high concentration of five peptides including acetyl tetrapeptide-17 colloidal platinum which, in studies, has demonstrated improvement in skin elasticity by 47%, hydration by 33% and wrinkle reduction by 61%; Step 3, the Softening Emollient is packed with lipids, enclosing the ingredients from Steps 1 and 2 and preventing them from evaporating.
Alyssa recommends “taking the time to massage the cream and serum into the skin. It stimulates circulation and works the muscles under the dermis — similar to what massage does for the body. And for the neck, remember to stroke down, with pressure from the bottom of the chin to the décolleté. That is the direction of lymphatic drainage — strokes towards the heart. Many people are told that you are supposed to sweep up. It’s just not true.