Loose skin, saggy jowls, drooping cheeks. All of these refer to skin laxity, which is mainly caused by ageing. Due to the natural ageing process, it is something that everyone will face at some point in their life. However, there are also other contributing factors which are intrinsic and extrinsic, such as sun exposure, lifestyle, diet, genetics, and stress.
What affects skin laxity?
As people age, the levels of two vital complements to the skin’s structure gradually diminish. In younger adults, their skin tissue has plentiful amounts of elastin and collagen.
Elastin is a protein that has a spring-like recoil located within the elastic fibres of connective tissues. It accounts for the skin’s elasticity and other structures of the body. Collagen is the main structural protein that functions as the building blocks of the skin, giving the tissues strength and structural integrity.
Over time, with age and sun exposure, both tend to drop in levels significantly. Each year, the skin is estimated to produce 1% less collagen – the reason why the skin is unable to keep looking taut and firm. As such, you might be seeing premature fine lines and wrinkles, and crepey-looking skin that makes you look tired, dull and older than your age.
How do we stimulate collagen production?
An effective way to boost collagen and elastin levels is to go deep in the dermis, below the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). By stimulating the body’s natural collagen production, we can increase both collagen and elastin levels in the skin to tackle ageing and laxity. This includes activating the fibroblast cells which helps to produce collagen and elastin – which play a pivotal role in maintaining skin structure and elasticity.
If you have concerns regarding lax skin, fine lines and wrinkles, there are various effective treatments to help you rebuild collagen in the skin and attain a more youthful visage. This can depend on several personal factors including area of concern, the severity of facial skin laxity and suitability. It is best to discuss with a doctor on the appropriate treatment for you.
1. Sygmalift HIFU
The Sygmalift uses High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technology and delivers ultrasound energy up to 5mm in the skin. It is suitable for patients between 25 to 60 years old to help correct signs of skin ageing, prevent fine lines, and reduce laxity around the lips, mouth, jawline and eyes. Patients can look forward to a more accentuated definition around the neck and jawline, as well as brow lifting effects.
Duration of the treatment usually lasts for 15 minutes to an hour, with no downtime and pain. Immediate skin tightening and lifting results can be seen after the treatment, which will continue progressively within 40 days as the skin generates collagen day by day, for up to 12 months.
Thermage utilises 3D Skin Tightening Procedures along with patented Mono-polar Capacitive Radiofrequency (RF) technology to deliver heat into the deep skin layers. By heating the skin layers, it promotes the natural renewal process of collagen with three dimensional skin tightening. It heats up the skin tissue evenly in bulk, so the collagen will be stimulated more uniformly to enhance contouring and tightening effects.
It is able to work well with the eyes, face and specific body parts, including the skin under the arms, chin and buttocks. The results also include a more defined chin and jawline, tighter skin with less sagging, and softened wrinkles around facial areas. Thermage is able to work on all skin types and tones, and takes 45 minutes on average to be carried out. Results will continue to improve within the next 5 months, lasting for up to a year.
3. Infini Fractional RadioFrequency (FRF) Lifting
With Radiofrequency (RF), the skin undergoes thermal stimulation to begin deep collagen production. New technology was employed, which leads to the introduction of Fractional Radiofrequency (FRF) that delivers higher and more effective doses of RF to achieve the desired skin tightening effects. It also has the added benefit of posing a lower risk of damage to the delicate epidermis layer as the FRF is able to bypass the skin’s surface – thus, reducing any incidence of side effects like scars, burns and pigmentation on face.
Through microneedling and fractional RF technology, Infini is able to stimulate collagen as deep as 3.5mm below the skin. Old collagen and elastin get broken down while cell regeneration is stimulated to help repair the skin. At the same time, new formation of collagen and elastic fibres helps the skin to restore the loss of collagen and prevent sagging and wrinkles. It is also able to help in acne scar removal, especially for depressed and deep acne scars like rolling scars and boxcar scars. New collagen fibres can push up the scar from underneath for a more even skin texture.
The procedure may be slightly painful, so local anaesthetic cream will be applied to numb the face before treatment begins. It has low downtime, and patients can expect to experience redness for a few days. Results can be seen within a week or so, but maximal results will appear after 2-3 months and last for around 1-2 years.