Beauty

Everything you need to know about skin care treatments from A to Z

Article by Fashion Quarterly

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From A to Z.

Been to a skin clinic recently? The menu might require interpretation, given the extensive options now on offer. The good thing is, looking like the best version of you without undergoing anything too invasive is now easily achievable —often in your lunch hour. We run through the options.


Acne

Lifestyle factors, hormonal changes, congested pores and surface bacteria trigger acne that can be difficult to eliminate. Gentle peels to increase cell turnover, blue LED light treatment to nix bacteria, soothing and deep cleansing facials and microdermabrasion to lessen scarring are all options that skin experts are now using with success to treat the stubborn condition.

Botox

Long lauded for its ability to immobilise facial muscles to minimise wrinkles on the face, Botox is now being used in increasingly varied ways. Lifting the brow line, ending excessive sweating, migraines and teeth grinding, slimming the jawline and relaxing an overly gummy smile are all treatments carried out in NZ.

Allergan, the company that owns the Botox brand, reportedly has close to 800 patents for other uses, though they haven’t all been thoroughly tested yet. Photo Finish, a treatment now offered by Clinic 42, aims to smooth skin and diminish pores by depositing a tiny amount of Botox combined with natural moisturiser hyaluronic acid just beneath skin with a dermal injector gun that delivers five tiny needle pricks at once.

Administered over a wider area and with less concentration, it doesn’t affect the underlying muscles, only softens superficial lines leaving skin deeply hydrated, taut and luminous. It can also reduce oil production.

Cryotherapy

Originally referring to the tools used to freeze off minor skin lesions, full-body cryotherapy chambers where the skin is subjected to extremely low temperatures are being lauded overseas for their anti-aging benefits. Though they are yet to launch for that use here, another freezing option has been in use for a couple of years. Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive fat reduction option to target stubborn ‘pouchy’ areas, usually around the stomach and hips.


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Dermal needling

Also known as dermal rolling or collagen induction therapy, the treatment works by harnessing the skin’s natural ability to repair itself. A roller or small pen-like device with a number of tiny needles inside is used to gently make a series of tiny pricks (micro injuries) into the dermis, or secondary layer of skin. This causes cells to spring into action producing more collagen and elastin, the foundation of smoother, firmer and brighter skin. It can also help minimise acne scarring and is handy for fixing small fine lines around the lips.

Fillers

It used to be that plumping out significant facial lines around the forehead, eyes and mouth was the only approach for using hyaluronic acid-based gel that dissolves naturally over 6-12 months. These days, injectable dermal fillers are equally as likely to be used to increase or restore natural volume and contours to the face, something that can lessen with age.

Enhancing the lips has been popularised by celebrities overseas but experts here prefer a more subtle application based on increasing symmetry. Caci uses the filler brand Juvederm for its lip treatments, touting its much smoother consistency than other options in the market, which results in a more natural finish. Filler to sculpt cheekbones, soften hollows under the eyes, strengthen the bridge of the nose and firm the jawline is also popular.

Man putting anti wrinkle gel around the eyes

Guys

With a smorgasbord of appearance options available it’s only fair guys get their share. Increasingly open to facial treatments, they’re wanting to freshen skin, define the jawline and get rid of deep furrow lines to appear healthy, well-rested and ageing well.

Hands

The rest of you looks bright and tight but without careful care and sun protection, hands can be a dead giveaway of age. Patchy pigmentation, UV damage and brown spots can be treated with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), a treatment that can also be used for the same on the face and décolletage. Treatments must be performed over autumn and winter when it’s easier to avoid sun exposure. Crinkly skin on the hands also reacts well to PRP and fillers can replace the natural fat loss that leaves veins prominent.

Laser

The option that excites skin experts the most because of its ability to achieve more youthful skin on the whole. That means smoother, stronger and more evenly coloured skin, with a reduction of the lines you already have. The key to good results is a quality laser operated by an expert with knowledge of the depths the laser needs to work at.

Like dermal needling, the results happen beneath the surface as the skin is stimulated to repair the microscopic treatment zones created by the laser. Skin looks better in the short and long-term as more collagen is produced. Traditional lasers directly target the upper layer of the skin while more advanced fractional lasers, considered the gold standard in the industry, diffuse the burst of energy into a grid of much smaller pinpricks that work on a far deeper level for more effective results.

Microdermabrasion

Fast and effective, microdermabrasion is one of the easiest ways to achieve a brighter, clearer complexion. It involves removing the gunked up top-layer of dead skin with a vacuum handpiece that uses small crystals to exfoliate, revealing newer, fresher looking skin beneath. It’s especially good for thick, oily, blackhead-prone skin but isn’t ideal for more sensitive types as it is abrasive, so increasingly peels are being used for resurfacing instead.

Non-surgical facelift

Rather than lifting and tightening the skin via older surgical techniques, the non-surgical facelift offered by Caci uses tiny microcurrents to stimulate muscle tone so it has a firmer base structure for skin, as well as enhancing and revitalising facial tissue.

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Oxygen facial

A pre-event pick-me-up favoured by celebrities internationally, reviving tired-looking skin with a pressurised stream of oxygen administered via an airbrush. It’s the speciality of Elizabeth Arden’s Queen Street salon in Auckland. Their service delivers an O2 infusion of 16 trace minerals, stabilised oxygen and hyaluronic acid into the skin with a refreshing mist, and can be administered over makeup if you’re in a hurry.

Peels

While they sound intense, topically applied treatment peels help your skin do what it does naturally, but better. That means remove the dead, dull top layer of skin to reveal bright new skin beneath and bring healthy cells to the surface — a natural process that slows as we age.

There are many different types that vary in intensity from gentle fruit acids — The Skin Institute offers a popular one using pumpkin because of its a high level of vitamin A —  to more severe chemical compositions. As well as aiding in increased collagen production, they can reduce acne, signs of ageing, and visible pores, and improve the efficacy of your current skincare routine.

Radio frequency treatment

A lesser-known but useful way to tighten slack skin on the face and neck without surgery. Using a metal conductor, it’s administered through the skin to gently heat tissue and stimulate collagen in the deeper dermal layers and tighten it from the inside out. The term designer vagina is sometimes related to this form of treatment, performed in the relevant area.

Sonophoresis

Low-frequency sound waves are delivered via a flat metal handpiece that is moved over the face in conjunction with the application of skin-boosting serums. The vibrations have been proven to help the serums penetrate deeper into the skin, making them more effective.

Thighs

The upper leg and buttocks receive all the attention with the development of a new offering called Cellfina, which claims to treat the primary structural cause of cellulite. It uses a needle-like device inserted beneath the skin to release the connective bands woven through fat that pull down the skin and cause visible dimpling. Said to last for up to three years, it was cleared by the FDA for use in the US in 2014 and is offered widely there but is yet to become available in NZ.

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Underarms

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Using IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and the newer VPL (Variable Pulsed Light) that can treat different types and depths of hair, permanent hair removal in areas like the underarms, face and bikini line is still top of the wish list.

Vampire facial

The moniker refers to PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma treatment, which uses your blood’s own healing plasma in combination with a dermal filler to rejuvenate skin, leaving it more radiant and youthful. Blood is drawn from your arm and the plasma is separated out by centrifuge before being delivered to areas of your face via a needle or a multi-needled Derma Gun. Dr Catherine Stone at The Face Place has also been using it to treat hair loss.

White light

One of three ‘colours’ in the spectrum of LED light facial treatments. A bank of safe, UV-free lights are directed at the skin from a few inches away which feels like lying in intense (but safe) sunlight — something that’s also said to help those suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues.

White light promises to soothe, repair and reduce inflammation, red light is used to slow and reduce the signs of ageing to rejuvenate, stimulate collagen and promote healing, while blue light is effective for treating acne given its ability to kill off breakout-causing bacteria.

About Face clinics use the Omnilux brand, offering it as a standalone treatment, and to reduce healing time after laser or IPL treatments.

X-rated

Sometimes the upside of scientific research into medical treatments is that benefits beyond their original intention are discovered.  PRP (see V, above), has been used in conjunction with surgery to speed the body’s healing process.  More recently, as well as stimulating the skin’s renewal process, it’s been found to effectively provide sexual rejuvenation in men and women.

The O-shot for women and the P shot for men are available at Auckland’s The Face Place to improve sensation and sexual function.

Words: Megan Bedford.
Images: Getty Images.

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