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As we age, it cannot be denied that our skin begins to become loose and starts to sag. In fact, try as we may, our everyday beauty regimen can barely keep up with the signs of ageing. That is why, a lot of skin-tightening cosmetic treatments have become popular throughout the years — especially with women who wish to retain their youthful glow.
In the past, the only way to make the skin tighter was to undergo a surgical facelift. Since it is an invasive type of treatment, many women shy away from it. With the advancement of technology, a lot of non-invasive facelift options have become more popular and preferred in the cosmetic world.
Types of Non-invasive Face Lifts
In Singapore, there are three varying types of non-invasive facelifts that can tighten loose skin without going under the knife. These treatments are classified into:
- Thread lift-based Non-invasive Face Lifts
A thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure that uses threads (also called temporary sutures) which are injected under the skin to create a “lifting” effect by elevating the sagging skin. The threads work by “sewing” parts of the skin together and pulling it back resulting to tighter and firmer skin.
- Filler-based Non-invasive Face Lifts
Dermal fillers use specially formulated materials that are administered in the form of injectables to repair the skin. These fillers are designed to give you a smoother and glowing look. In essence, fillers can help tighten sagging skin by improving its quality as well as renewing dermal cells for healthier and tighter skin.
- Energy-based Non-invasive Face Lifts
Usually, these newer technologies are recommended as an alternative to both surgical facelifts and minimally invasive facelifts such as thread lift and fillers. Energy-based treatments require no needles or incisions to be carried out resulting in minimal to zero downtime. The most common types of energy-based non-invasive facelifts are classified depending on the depths of penetration of energy. These include:
- radiofrequency energy (i.e. Thermage)
- ultrasound energy (i.e. HIFU)
- infrared light
This article will focus on Thermage — a type of energy-based non-invasive facelift that uses radiofrequency energy called to tighten and lift the skin while eliminating wrinkles.
Why choose Thermage?
If you want to tighten your skin from the inside out, Thermage is a great option because of the following reasons:
- Absolutely non-invasive treatment
- The risk of side effects and complications is very low
- A hassle-free and convenient procedure
- Can be easily performed
- Guaranteed safe (FDA approved)
- An effective form of treatment
- Results to a natural-looking, firmer skin
- Also makes the skin appear smaller and slimmer
How does Thermage work?
The collagen in the human skin breaks down with ageing. As a result, wrinkles and loose skin develop. Thermage uses patented monopolar radiofrequency (RF) technology which safely delivers energy into target areas and heats the skin's deeper layers. The depth of penetration of energy is from 1.5-3mm under the skin.
This heating action generates a controlled injury site which then signals the skin to repair itself by promoting collagen production. These newly formed collagen cells replace the damaged skin cells resulting in a long-lasting tightening of the skin tissues. In addition, Thermage energy also stimulates blood flow leading to increased metabolism of the skin’s fatty layer.
What does Thermage treat?
Thermage has FDA approval to treat:
- Skin laxity brought about by ageing (arms, neck, jawline, thighs, tummy)
- Wrinkles around the eyes, face and neck
- Sagging skin after childbirth
- Loose skin after weight loss
Thankfully, Thermage can treat most signs of ageing and able to tighten up loose skin on different parts of the body and help make it look more defined giving you a complete fresher and youthful appearance.
Candidates for Thermage
First of all, it is important to note that not everyone is a good candidate for an energy-based facelift treatment like Thermage. Only a small percentage of patients can undergo this kind of treatment.
If the patient is affected by anyone of the following conditions, then energy-based facelifts are not suitable for them. The conditions include:
- Too much skin laxity
- Bone resorption
- Large and heavy fat pads on the face (may benefit more from a thread lift)
- Extensive facial volume loss (may be corrected by a filler-based procedure)
That being said, for a patient to be a good candidate for Thermage, he/she must possess the following characteristics:
- Minimal sagging and loose skin
- Minimal fat pads
- Minor facial volume loss
- Skin that is not too thick
How much does Thermage cost in Singapore?
In Singapore, the prices of Thermage therapy varies from clinic to clinic depending on the Size of the target area to be treated, location of the target area, skin sensitivity and doctor’s fees. Typically, patients pay about $3500-$4500 SGD per session.
If a patient somehow develops complications (which is very rare), a follow-up consultation is required. The doctor may prescribe additional medications to treat the complications. Patients should inform their doctors if they have sensitive skin, so the doctor can adjust the facial treatment accordingly to avoid complications.
What to expect during Thermage treatment?
- Like any other medical procedure, Thermage treatment starts with a typical consultation with a well-trained doctor. During this time, the problem areas and all the concerns of the patient are discussed carefully.
- After the consultation, the patient’s targeted area will undergo thorough cleansing and be followed by a generous application of numbing cream to help manage discomfort.
- When all of the target areas are numbed out, the doctor will start marking out the target areas to ensure the precision of application of the energy.
- Then, the doctor will cycle through a number of varying intensities of energy over the target areas. Depending on the patient’s level of discomfort, the doctor may press the Thermage machine tip firmly against the target areas and will sweep upwards. Through this action, the kin is moulded into a tighter and more lifted position.
Is it painful?
Since Thermage uses energy to complete to achieve desired results, it will feel slightly heated at some point—especially on the sensitive areas. When the Thermage device touches the skin, expect a deep but brief heating sensation. The heating sensation is a good indication that the deeper layers under the skin are reaching optimal temperatures to stimulate collagen production.
As a tip, make sure to inform the doctor whenever pain or any type of discomfort is felt so he/she can adjust the intensity of the energy being delivered into the skin. Also, taking breaks during treatment can be requested if badly needed. These breaks will give the target areas a brief rest from discomfort brought about by the heat.
How many sessions are required to achieve desired results?
After one session, instant results can already be observed. Optimal results may be more visible over time as the body produces newer collagen. Results from Thermage treatment will typically stay up to 12 months or even more depending on the individual. With Thermage, there is no further need for additional age-defying treatments such as Botox to achieve significant results.
Though results are long-lasting, Thermage treatment should be done regularly with intervals of approximately 6 months to one year after the last treatment since the skin will continue to sag as the body undergoes the inevitable natural ageing process.
What results should I expect?
Results may vary from person to person, of course. Enhancement of the skin laxity continues up to 6 months of post-Thermage treatment. Depending on the area treated, results may include:
- Tighter, lifted and more defined skin
- Tightening of the skin of the tummy, arms, thighs, and buttocks
- Removal of wrinkles around the eyes and face
- Improved laxity of the jawline
- Reduced necklines
- Reduced cellulite
What about downtime and side effects?
Almost immediately after the treatment, the following effects are to be expected:
- Slight discomfort brought about by tightening of the skin
- Minimal swelling (indicates that the treatment was successful)
- Redness of the skin (will disappear after a few days)
- Skin dryness and peeling
That being said, the use of a good skincare routine is highly recommended to ensure that the skin is kept healthy and protected.
If performed by a well-trained doctor, the patient will rarely or almost never experience burns or severe swelling. Apart from the mentioned minor inconveniences, there are no other side effects and there is essentially zero downtime. In fact, Thermage is considered as a “lunchtime lift” because the patient can have the treatment during the office break and return to work without any hassle.
Where can I get a Thermage facelift in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are a number of doctors and clinics that offer Thermage facelift, but how to choose the right one? These are the important things to consider before choosing a doctor:
- Know the reliability of the machine to be used for the treatment.
Today, there are many imitative machines that are being used by a lot of clinics. Do not fall for these scams. Make sure the machine is genuine to ensure safety. Remember, reliable outcomes can only be accomplished by reliable machines.
- Make sure that the doctor is qualified and well-trained.
Find out if he/she is experienced in performing Thermage treatments and well-trained in handling the machine. The doctor should also have extensive experience as well as the depth of understanding of other additional or subsequent facelift procedures that can be used in combination with Thermage to achieve optimal results.
- Communication is the key.
The doctor should not only be able to give a proper assessment but also able to make the patient understand the intricacy of the procedure. A good and trustworthy doctor is able to communicate well and can be honest with the patient.