Our faces can seem worn and aged when our skin takes on a different tone or, when its texture is made uneven or harsh because of scarring or pitting, and can seriously undermine our self-confidence.
Luckily there is a multitude of procedures aimed at evening out skin tone and texture so you’re definitely spoiled for choice.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Hailed by such celebrities as Bar Refaeli and Kim Kardashian, the Vampire Facelift gets its moniker from the treatment’s main ingredient: blood.
The idea is to use your body’s natural resources to rejuvenate and restore facial tissue by addressing superficial wrinkles, poor texture and specifically, a generally dull or grey appearance of the skin.
What actually happens is that 10-20ml of your own blood is extracted, put in a centrifuge, and then spun so as to separate platelets and plasma from red blood cells.
Platelets are the smallest of the three major blood cell types – the others being white and red blood cells – and while their main function is to stop bleeding they also have coagulative and healing effects.
Growth factors released from the platelets are the key to PRP therapy because when they’re released into the skin they stimulate surrounding cells.
This in turn triggers a healing process that will add plumpness and volume to the treated areas by encouraging the production of collagen and preadipocytes (cells that mature into fat cells).
To keep discomfort to a minimum, anaesthetic cream or local anaesthetic is applied before the PRP is injected, with results lasting between 12 and 18 months.
As far as downtime is concerned, you may return to your daily activities directly, though UV exposure should be avoided for the following week or two and note that some patients have experienced swelling, bruising or redness immediately after the procedure.
It’s imperative to get a consultation with a medical professional before starting a course of treatment to determine if you are eligible for the procedure as some conditions prevent its effectiveness.
There are two key kinds of peels available: superficial and medium ones, both of which involve an exfoliating process that uses chemical products to remove dead cells on the surface of the skin as they make the skin appear dull and lacking in radiance.
Superficial peels are light and mild, often requiring about four courses to effectively remove the outer layer of dead cells and deal with fine lines, sun damage, moderate acne scars, areas of dryness and uneven pigmentation.
On the other hand, medium peels – also known as TCA skin peels because of their trichloroacetic acid content – penetrate further into the skin and can address a higher degree of the above mentioned issues.
The treatment itself lasts half an hour during which your skin is thoroughly cleansed, after which the chemical solution is carefully applied to be left on the skin for a few minutes and finally removed.
With the superficial peel some initial reddening can appear but with most people it tends to settle in a matter of hours but other than that there’s nothing stopping you from resuming your normal daily activities.
As for TCA peels, it is normal for the skin to tighten, darken and then peel over a period of five to seven days.
Whichever course ends up being best suited for you, chemical peels end up leaving your skin looking regenerated, healthier, softer and more uniform in colour.
It’s a bit of a mouthful but microdermabrasion is an excellent treatment for imperfect skin that just needs a bit of a kick.
Once again the process revolves around ridding the face of dead skin cells and it involves the topmost surface of the skin being vacuumed with a jet of micro-crystals to improve the appearance of brown spots, shallow acne scars, sun damaged skin, acne prone or blotchy skin, fine lines and enlarged pores.
This gentle procedure only last 20-30 minutes and should involve little or no discomfort.
Although the skin might get a bit red after the treatment, it should go back to normal in 24 hours and make-up can be applied immediately.
Full cell regeneration takes four to six weeks but straight away your skin will look younger, softer and more radiant meaning that it’s also a great treatment to get done just before a party or special event.
This treatment has some of the most impressively noticeable results considering its seeming simplicity and the extent to which it can improve skin severely damaged by acne scars, burn scars and hyper pigmentation.
The dermaroller is a hand-held medical roller with hundreds of micro needles arranged around it and as it is passed across the skin it causes small micro punctures in the skin surface that stimulates it to regenerate and repair itself naturally and safely.
The controlled damage to the skin’s surface prompts a healing response without going deep enough to elicit a scarring response.
By breaking down the nearby tissue new collagen and elastin are formed, thus gently removing and replacing the scars, wrinkles and pigmentation.
To achieve the best results the depth of needling is assessed by the practitioner and can extend to 1.5mm on the face or 3mm on the body though depending on the state of your skin you might need a course of treatments.
It’s all relatively painless but anaesthetic cream is applied before starting the procedure to minimise any possible discomfort and depending on the area being treated the actual process lasts between 20-30 minutes.
You may be a little red for up to 24 hours after the dermaroller has had its way with you but you return to work immediately.
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) Photorejuvenation
Considered to be one of the most effective treatments for smoothing out skin tone, IPL courses can be customised for different skin tones and conditions, being particularly useful for treating superficial pigmentation and fine blood vessels.
During the procedure a machine is used to produce a broad spectrum of wave lengths that can help with dark skin discolouration, diffuse redness, reduce redness as well as addressing Rosacea.
Darker and Asian skin may be susceptible to burns so it is essential to get check the treatment is right for you and that it’s executed correctly.
There’s no downtime to worry about although the treated area should be kept well-moisturised and sun exposure should be avoided for 48 hours.
You can expect results to last between 12-18 months during which women have reportedly felt so confident that they were happy to go out with only moisturiser on.
Laser skin resurfacing
Unlike IPL, laser resurfacing works by using a heavily condensed high-energy beam which allows it to precisely address pigmentation, age spots, wrinkles, acne scars and sun damage.
However, laser treatments solve these problems to different degrees that come with varying downtimes, which is why getting a consultation with a healthcare professional to perform a thorough personal skin analysis is essential.
There are many lasers out there but at The Private Clinic we use Pixel (Alma Lasers) and Pearl (Cutera) lasers.
The Pixel Laser is a targeted procedure meaning it works on your problem areas, leaving the rest of your skin untouched and although a course of 3-6 treatments will be necessary, once completed the results are permanent.
You can return to work straight after the treatment but since the skin can look and feel reddened – like sunburn – some patients prefer to spend a day or two at home.
The procedure is mildly uncomfortable but anaesthetic cream is applied and the feeling only lasts 45 minutes.
There are also three different Pearl Laser treatments made particularly popular by the fact that only a single session is required for effective results.
During the standard Pearl treatment a practitioner guides the laser over the whole face and it acts in the same way as the Pixel laser.
Pearl Fractional Laser Resurfacing penetrates deeper into the skin and is used to target specific areas of the face and deeper wrinkles but unlike its counterparts the heat is delivered in a ‘fractional’ way.
This means that the device splits the laser light into thousands of microscopic ‘columns’ of heat so that the targeted skin cells within them are destroyed but the surrounding tissues are left intact.
This way even though the practitioner passes the laser over the whole face, they are actually treating only 20%- 30% of the skin, allowing it to heal much more quickly.
Finally there’s Pearl Fusion which combines the previous two procedures.
Pearl is used first to improve the whole texture of the face and then Pearl Fractional is used to target deeper wrinkles.
It takes five to eight days to reach full recovery during which the skin should be kept away from the sun and well moisturised, with make-up application allowed starting on the third day.
To find out about your choices when it comes to facial rejuvenation, visit our site.