✔ Do you feel your face is no longer as youthful as before?
✔ Do these signs of ageing appear on your face?
✔ sagging “bulldog” cheeks
✔ loose skin under your eyes
✔ sagging brows
✔ deep laughter lines beside your nose/lips
The skin on our face is elastic in nature. It’s kind of like a rubber band. When the skin is stretched beyond a certain limit, it becomes very difficult to return to its youthful appearance. Hence we need to maintain the elasticity of the skin on our face. To understand why our face loses elasticity as we age, we need to look at the collagen fibres in the skin. As we age, the collagen fibres lose their strength and there is less collagen in the dermis of the skin. This loss of collagen causes the skin to sag and it can no longer hold up the face any more.
Treatment of sagging skin on the face is one of the hardest problems that we as doctors face. The most effective treatment is a surgical face lift, which had the problems of scarring, pain, swelling and bruising, and several weeks of down time. Conventional non-invasive treatments utilizing superficial RF and focused ultrasound treatments were also tried in the past, with varying results.
What is the solution?
There are many treatments to increase the amount of collagen in the skin and improve the tightness of the skin. One of these is Radio Frequency (RF). Using RF energy that is emitted on the surface of the skin, it is possible to get a small degree of tightening of the skin. However, this was usually not lasting and the effects tended to last only a short period of time, perhaps one to two weeks on average. In order to get around this problem, a new technology was employed. This made use of RF energy emitted using a special tip which broke the energy up into small and focused fractions. Hence the name Fractional RF. Using Fractional RF, we are able to get around the problems of traditional RF treatments, while delivering higher and more effective doses of RF to achieve the skin tightening effects we desired.
Infini Fractional RadioFrequency (FRF) Lifting
We use the Infini Fractional RF treatment to Stimulate deep collagen production. With Infini, we are able to produce lifting with a certain degree of confidence. Why we chose to invest in the Infini system was because of the maximum depth of the treatment. During our comparison of the various machines on the market, we found a number of fractional RF and ultrasound systems which could produce lifting. However, after extensive testing, we decided on the Infini system because it produced the best and most consistent results.
What is FRF?
Radiofrequency has been known to produce excellent results on the skin, including skin tightening, face lifting, wrinkle reduction, and facial rejuvenation. In addition, a new application of radiofrequency treatment is the treatment of moderate to severe pitted or depressed acne scars. How does this work? Radiofrequency causes thermal stimulation of the skin. When the skin is stimulated, deep collagen production begins. Using FRF, collagen stimulation can be stimulated as deep as 3.5 mm below the surface of the skin. Because of this new collagen production, the skin shows good improvements in tone, texture, tightening and lifting, and reduction of wrinkles and scars.
Traditional treatments in the past have always been associated with long downtime and pain. This is because older technology treatments rely on using complete surface area treatments which would treat 100% of the skin surface at the same time. This gave good results, but the downtime and pain was often severe and there was a high incidence of side effects.
Fractional technology was invented, which did not treat 100% of the skin at once. Instead, only about 10-15 percent of the skin area was treated at one session. Therefore, there was always good skin in between the treated areas to quickly heal the treated area, hence promoting rapid recovery and low downtime. In addition, because the damaged areas were very small, it was possible to get good results using a very slow and controlled manner while avoiding side effects caused by too much heat damage (which occurs collateral damage because of the high concentration of heat delivered to the skin during conventional treatments).
What is deep collagen? And why is it so important?
Our skin is on average 2.5 mm thick, depending on the area of the face, and in some areas, up to 3.5 mm thick. Collagen is found loosely distributed all over the dermis of the skin, also known as the deep layer of the skin. The collagen and elastic fibres in this layer of the skin are responsible for preventing sagging and wrinkles, and lack of collagen in this layer happens as a result of ageing, sun damage, or even previous damage due to infections like acne/pimples or even chickenpox. In order to reverse these problems, our skin needs to be stimulated to produce new collagen fibres. Deep collagen fibres plump up the skin, producing tightening, lifting and filling out of scars and wrinkles.
Why is deep collagen so difficult to produce?
Many treatments exist on the market today, to try to stimulate collagen production on the skin. However, because of the structure of the skin, many treatments are ineffective. Firstly, the skin is covered by a very sensitive layer called the epidermis. Damage to the epidermis leads to all kinds of side effects on the skin, including pigmentation, scars and burns. Therefore, many older treatments are limited because they cannot safely go deep enough without damaging the epidermis. With modern treatments like FRF, the epidermis is bypassed and hence there is low risk of damage to the delicate epidermis. These treatments are able to stimulate our body to produce deep collagen which is able to produce strong lifting, skin tightening and scar or wrinkle filling effects. Unlike other treatments where synthetic fillers are used, FRF stimulates our body to produce its own collagen. This deep collagen produced is by far the most lasting and effective type of collagen as it can stay in the skin for a long period of time.
Is there any Downtime?
As the old adage goes, “no pain, no gain”. The treatment is slightly painful and there is at usually one or two days of redness. We will use local anesthetic cream to numb the face before the treatment. Patients with thinner skin that bruises easily should be prepared for multiple tiny bruises on the face which may stay for up to a week.
What kind of results are seen?
Usually the patients will notice that the face is tighter, and looks younger. Wrinkles are reduced, and the jowls and laughter lines are shallower and smaller. Some patients notice that the face looks slimmer and the chin is sharper after the treatment. Acne scars, especially pitted scars, are shallower and less obvious.
How long does a FRF treatment take?
The FRF treatment takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. During this treatment, numbing cream is applied to the skin and this reduces the discomfort of the treatment. The discomfort experienced by the patient is very tolerable.
How many treatments are needed?
Usually one treatment is sufficient to see results. However, in cases where the patient’s scars or sagging are severe, multiple treatments may be necessary to obtain the optimum result.
How soon after the FRF treatment are results seen? How long do the results last?
Some patients see results as early as one to two weeks, and most patients see maximal results after two to three months. This is because the skin takes time to build up the deep collagen. These results can last for up to one to two years.
Will everyone see results?
Sagging of the face can be due to loss of fat volume, sagging skin and sagging muscles. Because sagging of the face is multifactorial, not everyone will see the same extent of lifting. With a professional consultation, we can explain to you your likelihood of success with Infini. The results are quite consistent across our patients, however, some patients may not respond to the treatment. This is usually because the fail to produce deep collagen despite stimulation. This is estimated to be about 5 percent of our patients falling into this category. For these patients, we will usually substitute a different treatment such as fractional CO2 laser.