Zap up that skin!

A new non-invasive procedure for anti-aging seems to hold promise

Wrinkles on the face and sagging skin often cause self-esteem and self-confidence problems in people. Such individuals can address these conditions using a new anti-aging technique called Thermage. To understand how the procedure works, it is important to first understand why skin sags.

Why skin sags

Facial skin is made up of three distinct layers:

  • A visible outer layer called the epidermis
  • A collagen-rich layer beneath the surface called the dermis
  • A layer beneath the dermis called the subcutaneous layer, also known as the fat layer, which has a web of collagen fibres running through it.

When the collagen in these layers breaks down, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle.

How Thermage works

The method is based on the ability of radio waves of certain frequency to penetrate the surface and be absorbed by body tissues. The absorption of radio waves causes the tissue to heat as well as some structural molecular changes.

The skin is deep-treated with controlled doses of targeted radio waves, while its surface layer [epidermis and upper dermis] is cooled by a cryogenic spray to prevent open burns. This produces localised heat injury of the dermal/subdermal layer along with collagen contraction leading to skin tightening. The subsequent healing of the microscopic dermal and subdermal lesions causes skin tightening and reduces the depth of wrinkles.

What's good

  • Thermage is completely non-invasive: no surgery, no injections.
  • Unlike laser treatments, Thermage works well on all skin types and tones.
  • Unlike injections or fillers, Thermage works on your entire face: forehead, eyes, nasolabial folds, jaw line, jowls and the area under your chin.
  • You only need one Thermage treatment to obtain the benefits.
  • There's no downtime. After treatment, you can quickly get back to your routine.

What's not

  • Thermage reduces sag far less than a facelift and softens wrinkles less noticeably than ablative lasers.
  • There can be a number of side effects and complications such as:
    • swelling and redness of skin
    • risk of burn, blistering and scarring
    • tingling and/or burning sensation for a few days
    • soreness, particularly around the jaw line.
  • A more serious but rare complication is the formation of dents in the skin, attributed to overheating of tissue causing fat atrophy or excessive tightening.

You should consult a dermatologist who understands your skin before opting for this procedure.

This treatment is available at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, Mumbai and costs approximately Rs 80,000 - 1,10,000.

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