Tag Archives: collagen stimulator

Ulthera – Skin Tightening Ultrasound Therapy

15 Feb

Ugh. Gravity.

As an aesthetic nurse, I have found the most common complaints come from sun damage and gravity. Sun damage you can prevent (like… stay out of the tanning bed, wear sun block, and use retin-a!). But what about gravity?

I don’t think we’ll be living on the moon anytime soon (according to Ken Jennings, the guy who won Jeopardy for 6 months, the moon landing was a hoax, and I believe him… just sayin…). Therefore, we need to know our options.

I’ve done a few posts about fillers (Radiesse and Juvéderm) and I’ve talked a little about bio-enhancing agents (Sculptra). These are minimally invasive procedures that last about a year or two, have little downtime, and are great options for a lot of gravity stricken areas. But… of course, there are other options.

Ultra Sound Therapy

Ulthera. The newest in non-invasive procedures. This technique uses ultrasound (yes, like the kind of technology to see a baby) to deliver low levels of focused energy below the skin. As a response, collagen is stimulated, and a gradual tightening and firming occurs.

Visible effects include a lifting and toning of sagging skin. In FDA clinical trials, 9 out of 10 patients had a noticeable, significant lift of the brow line. See ya lata blepheroplasty (eyelid plastic surgery)! Patients reported firmer better-fitting skin in other areas of the face and neck as well. There is also an invisible result from the treatment with the creation of new collagen, which can help slow the rate of skin aging.

Treatment areas include the upper face, lower face, and neck. That’s right. No more turkey neck! It is pending FDA approval for that saggy arm skin and post-baby tummy skin. SEXY!

Feedback

Does it hurt?

Although I personally have not had an entire treatment done… I have been told it’s not the most pleasant feeling. As the energy is delivered closer to areas of bone (i.e. your forehead)… it gets a lil uncomfortable. You can receive a nerve block in some of the treatment areas (local anesthesia). It feels like burning I’m told. But, my patients claim they would do it again in a heartbeat.

Is it immediate?

There are immediate results, but the collagen stimulus continues for about 90 days.

Is it for you?

Do you have skin that has “relaxed” to the point of looking and feeling less firm? A lowered brow line or sagging skin on the eyelids? Turkey neck? Then it might be a good option for you. If you’re in your late 20’s (*cough* like me), then this might not be an appropriate treatment for you. But I think it’s a great option for older women, especially who hate their necks or who are not interested in Botox (even though Botox is AWESOME).

Before and Afters

These are from the brochure via my phone. Not the best pics… but… I kind of can’t use my actual client’s pictures. Due to HIPAA regulations. Hopefully Alexis from Image will send me her before and after pics soon so I can replace these!

**This picture is showing the skin tightening above the eye area. The pictures to the left side are before treatment and the pictures to the right side are 90 days post treatment. You can see the degree of hooding over the eye has changed drastically. These pictures are good representations of what to expect. They are just bad photography on my behalf! Sorry!!!

Alexis Before and After

Before

Immediately post treatment

24 hours later

That’s NOT Botox.

18 Nov
Another strong misunderstanding a lot of people have around the Boston Area is what products go where Botox does not.   If it’s caused by gravity:  THAT’S NOT BOTOX!

HYALURONIC ACID (HA) FILLERS (TEMPORARY)

Hyaluronic acid fillers are synthetic sugars that attract water molecules.  They are placed in actual wrinkles or other areas that need volume and offer instant results. They fill in marionette lines, lift up jowls or plump up volume along the jaw line where definition has been lost.

Restylane, Perlane and Juvéderm (www.juvederm.com) are the most commonly used hyaluronic acid fillers, with Juvéderm being the leading product (I refer to Restylane as ‘old school’).  There is no need for allergy testing, as these products are sugars your body naturally makes.  There is little pain with injection, as the new products come with lidocaine added as a powder to the product.   Expect a topical numbing agent (topical lidocaine) to be applied prior to injection.  This should be left on for AT LEAST 20 minutes.  The actual procedure only takes about 15 minutes.  Swelling and bruising are possible and you should probably not do a filler if you have an important event within a week from treatment.  ICE ICE ICE!  I also recommend arnica montana cream which can be purchased at GNC or Whole Foods.  You can expect results to last from six months to a year, depending on the brand and where it is placed (Juvéderm lasts the longest).

I have Juvéderm filler in my lips.  It feels and looks natural.  It was the first injectable I tried, and I’m very happy with it.  😉  I mostly just use HA’s in the lips and very deep frown lines between the brows.  Reason being, HA’s are injected into the superficial dermis and do not give as good of a fill for the cost for deep lines and folds.  I like other products more for those very deep lines.

Calcium Hydroxylapitate (SEMI-PERMANENT)

Radiesse (www.radiesse.com) is an example of a semi-permanent filler and it is made from calcium molecules suspended in a gel which stimulates your collagen. The microspheres in it create “scaffolding” that your own collagen will grow around, but is eventually broken down by the body. Radiesse can be used to fill the nasolabial folds and marionette lines, as well as define the contours of the face.  It goes deep in the dermal layer of skin, and should NEVER go in the lips!

Lidocaine topical should be applied 20 minutes prior to injection.  Lidocaine is added to the product immediately prior to injection.

I recently had a little lift put in my cheeks (as described in a prior blog).  I had zero pain or discomfort.  The lidocaine eventually traveled down my nerve from my cheek to my lips.  It felt a little funny!  It looks and feels completely natural. 

COLLAGEN STIMULATORS (aka collagen builders or stimulating fillers)

Collagen stimulators contain particles that signal the skin to produce more collagen. Instead of just filling in select lines and wrinkles, these are used on larger areas like the cheeks.  They can be used in areas where synthetic fillers look somewhat unnatural (like the lower face under the cheek area).  Results are not immediate; it takes about 6 weeks to see the result of the collagen stimulation; however, the product lasts two years.  Most women prefer the gradual change in their facial contour.

Sculptra (www.sculptraaesthetic.com) is an example of a collagen stimulator. It is approved by the FDA for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with human immunodeficiency virus (as is Radiesse). Most patients require an average of two to three treatments six weeks apart for optimal results.

I had Sculptra injected into my temples.  Zero pain.  My patients are in LOVE with this product.  It costs about as much as other fillers when you take into consideration how long it lasts.  It also looks COMPLETELY natural due to the fact it’s ALL your own collagen produced.  I foresee this product being my number one injectable within the next year!  Move over Botox!!! 

COLLAGEN FILLERS

Although collagen fillers changed the face of beauty when they entered the marketplace in the 1980s, they quickly fell out of favor when longer-lasting hyaluronic acid was introduced. However, many doctors still use collagen, especially for plumping the lips and filling in “smoker’s lines” around the mouth.  Although overfilling is necessary to achieve the desired result, the excess fluid is absorbed over the first few hours after treatment, and minor redness and swelling subside in a few days.  Results last from two to three months… also known as a waste of money when there are so many better products!

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