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Acupuncture is one of a huge variety of line removing treatments now widely used by practitioners
We live in the era of wanting to feel and look younger than we are. There are plenty of procedures out there but is it worth the effort and the pain?
To a certain degree it is possible to control fine lines with the use of creams. However, there are now other ways to eradicate or, at least, soften them.
Filler injectables will give immediate results, although Botox can take anything from two to 10 days. They will, however, need topping up after six months. Lasers require a series of treatments, anything up to 12. However, the results are longer lasting.
"It is very important that anyone investigating this type of treatment goes to an experienced practitioner," says Dr Joshua Berkowitz of the Wimpole Aesthetic Centre, who specialises in aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. No single treatment resolves everything. Berkowitz recommends going to someone who offers a variety of choice. "One of the problems in this industry," he feels, "is that a person may go to a practitioner who specialises in only one or two procedures. They will be persuaded that this is the best medium for them when a better result may have been achieved using a different method."
Injections can bruise, irritate skin and cause infection
So what exactly is out there? The most popular are fillers using hyaluronic acid, which can be put into a line or crease to reduce the depth of a wrinkle or change the contour of the face. Two of the most well known are Restylane and Juvederm. Practitioners have their favourite brands, which they mix and match to achieve the desired result.
Botox is a muscle relaxant. It is generally used in the upper part of the face for crow's feet and the frown lines between the eyebrows. It can also be used on the lower face to reduce a smile where you show a lot of your gums or reduce the droop of the mouth. There is a downside - if it is overdone, features can look frozen and the face artificial.
Sculptra is a mixture of a filler and collagen promoter. This is a product which will also give a certain amount of lift but involves at least three sessions. The plus side is that the results can last up to three years.
Novobell, a new filler on the market, is unique in being safe to use under the eyes and in tear troughs. APRP, Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma, is an injectable technique that uses your own blood to rejuvenate the skin on the face, neck and hands. This improves the collagen levels, benefits the skin, and reduces fine lines. It is particularly effective around the eyes.
Thermage is a radio frequency devise that transmits heat pulses onto the face, stimulating collagen, and is used for lifting the face.
Laser and IPL, Intense Pulsed Light, are carried out in courses of between four and 10, depending on what is needed, and the machine used. Non-ablative lasers, those that do not burn, can be used to improve skin tone and texture, stimulate collagen and create lifts. The best treatments to achieve skin rejuvenation are the pixellated lasers, Fraxel and SmartXide, which produce a controlled surface burn. The downside is a sore, red face that requires a few days recovery time.
To stimulate collagen, there are also dermarollers, rollers with tiny metal spikes, that can be used at home in conjunction with the appropriate serum. Used every day, the roller improves the blood supply and collagen in the skin. This is the precursor to the medical rollers used by doctors. With the right skin, the medical roller can be as effective as the pixellated laser.
In Chinese cosmetology, practitioners use a range of methods. This includes acupuncture, and massage particularly on the acupuncture pressure points. According to Professor Man Fong Mei, a world authority on Chinese Medicine, "beauty comes from the inside out". At AcuMedic, in addition to acupuncture, products are used to invigorate the skin, boost circulation, and create cell regeneration to help the body recover and heal.
The downside to any of the treatments is that injections can bruise or cause irritations. On rare occasions they may also cause infections or allergies, which is why it is particularly important to go to a highly skilled doctor. Lasers, too, if used by an inexperienced person, can cause burns and create infections. Anyone prone to cold sores particularly needs to take preventative precautions.
And of course none of this comes cheaply. However, if regaining your youth, at least cosmetically, is important to you, there are impressive results to be had.