Facial rejuvenation covers a broad spectrum of skincare treatments ranging from laser skin resurfacing, micro-dermabrasion, injectables and fillers, all the way to light therapy and combination techniques. Research and technology development within the last decade in the skincare field, particularly anti-ageing, has exploded in an industry worth billions of dollars. The topic is extensive and worth exploring in detail if you are considering any form of anti-wrinkle or anti-ageing skin treatment.
Treatments may include a topical cream containing one or more active anti-ageing ingredients such as retinoids, antioxidants, emollients, peptides, vitamins, hormones or phytochemicals; or more semi-permanent or permanent measures (with corresponding side effects) such as laser therapy, injections, or even plastic surgery. As it is impossible to cover the myriad options currently available, we will focus on exploring procedures involving Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy, radiofrequency (RF) therapy, and a recent combination of IPL and RF therapy. This combination therapy called electro-optical synergy (ELOS) treatment, has demonstrated positive results in scientific studies.
ELOS is an effective facial rejuvenation treatment for contouring facial skin laxity by stimulating repair processes and reversing the signs of ageing, while also being relatively risk-free with minimal recovery time. There are several ways to experience ELOS treatment. The TRINITI option is a system that uses three different types of devices to enhance the application of both IPL and RF in combination. Finally, the Sublative Rejuvenation applicator uses radiofrequency energy alone.
It is most important that you thoroughly investigate and research all options available to you. This will ensure you are making an informed choice and one that will work best for you. Make an appointment with Dr Kathy Gallagher to identify which treatment or treatment combination is best for you.
Elos Triniti Series
Our trio of facial rejuvenation treatments, the Elos Triniti series offered at Shine Clinic in Brisbane, uses highly effective technologies to provide total facial renewal. It’s the ultimate in facial skin care. When done in one session, synergistically delivering an even skin tone, it lifts and tightens face and neck, together with improvements in overall texture.
The first step will always be a consultation regarding your individual expectations and requirements. At the time a patch test will also be done and a discussion will be had about whether these combined treatments are the best solution for you. Photos of the face and neck will be taken for comparison.
The three treatments are:
- A combination of intense pulsed light (IPL) with radio frequency (RF) treatment to give the skin better tone by evening out the brown and red pigments in the skin.
- A combination of bi-polar radio frequency and pulsed infrared light to stimulate new collagen production, as well as immediately contracting collagen and tightening the skin.
- A bi-polar radio frequency treatment (Sublative RF) that stimulates collagen to improve skin texture and increase elasticity in the skin.
lntense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment
What is it?
IPL is a facial rejuvenation technique for improving damaged and ageing skin. A high intensity beam of light is generated by passing an electrical current through a chamber filled with (xenon) gas. Deeper elements in the skin absorb this specific light, causing them to heat up, while the outer skin surface is not disrupted.
Overall, IPL produces equivalent cosmetic effects as laser resurfacing (without skin peeling or possible burns or scarring), however there are some key differences. IPL flashes out light over a range of wavelengths (or colours) while lasers deliver only a burst of light at one specific wavelength. The same IPL device can simultaneously treat several kinds of skin problems that would otherwise require different lasers. It can be used for pigmented areas (eg age spots, sun spots, freckles, rosacea or unsightly broken capillaries), as well as acne and wrinkles, though the effects on wrinkles are somewhat less dramatic. Further, the IPL spot size (or footprint) is larger than that of laser, so IPL treatments are generally faster than laser. However, because of the gradual nature of IPL, more IPL sessions are generally required to achieve the desired effect when compared to laser skin care.
Our Elos IPL with RF treatment is the first and only technology that combines light and radio frequency energies for effective and gentle facial rejuvenation.
How does it work?
Heating the skin causes the cells to release their pigment, which rises and is shed from the skin surface. It also triggers the contracting and unravelling of collagen in the dermis (known as denaturation). Inflammatory responses are also set off aiding the removal of old or damaged collagen, and replacing it with a new healthy matrix. This leads to at least partial replacement of the skin volume lost with age. What results is tighter, smoother texture, and increased softness with reduced lines.
The same IPL device can be used to treat different targets by using ‘cut off filters’. These limit the wavelength reaching the skin to more selectively target the desired element. Sometimes IPL is used in conjunction with a chemical that sensitises the skin to the effects of IPL. This is termed ‘photodynamic photo-rejuvenation’, and can improve results as it increases the absorption of light energy into the target tissue.
Micro-dermabrasion of the treated area two weeks following treatment can enhance the shedding of old skin cells. This accelerates the process of evening out transient skin discolouration. Injections of a muscle relaxant combined with IPL have also been shown to be more effective on wrinkles.
What about side effects?
Recovery is rapid after the procedure, and you may return to work soon after. Most IPL side effects are minor and subside within 24 hours. Temporary itching and redness may be experienced, but is easily covered with makeup. There may also be some skin peeling for a few days after treatment. Occasionally a cold sore breakout may occur if the Herpes simplex virus is active. This can be prevented by taking an antiviral medication.
Dark areas treated may temporarily get a little darker instead of lighter. However, this is not cause for concern. It will quickly settle after old skin cells are pushed to the surface and peel off. Applying a moisturiser twice a day speeds up the process. Those with a darker skin type may not be good candidates for IPL treatment due to the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
When in doubt, a test patch first is recommended. Protect the treated area from the sun for at least two weeks to minimise any risk of pigment changes. Preferably use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, every day, regardless of weather. Also, if you have a susceptibility to scarring this treatment may not be right for you.
Bi-polar Radiofrequency (RF) with Pulsed Infra-red Light Therapy
What is it?
RF is another exciting new facial rejuvenation technique used to target the deeper layers of the skin in a carefully controlled manner, without damaging the surface. The procedure is often alluded to as ‘a non-surgical facelift’ like laser therapy, and used for treating skin laxity and sagging—like jowl sagging, the folds around the nose, wrinkles and lines around the mouth and the eyes or bags under the eyes. Our Refirme skin tightening procedure allows you to attain tighter and firmer skin without downtime.
How does it work?
Our skin is resistant to the passage of electricity, thus it heats up when an electric current is passed through it. Radiofrequency, like laser therapy, works by precise heating of the matrix proteins (mainly collagen) in the skin. By doing this very gently, it is possible to heat the deep layers of the skin to between 65˚C and 75˚C. At this temperature, the collagen fibres of the matrix denature, contract and almost immediately tighten lax skin. The outer skin surface is kept cool, so it is not affected and remains completely intact. Over the next few months, the heat-damaged matrix is progressively removed by the body and replaced with young, healthy collagen. Ultimately, this leads to stronger, firmer, smoother skin with a more youthful appearance.
RF is far less effective in smokers and anyone who is overweight. Its tightening outcome may be more marked in younger people. This is thought to be because bonds that hold collagen together are more easily broken by heating young skin compared with older skin.
The effects of RF do not equate to a surgical facelift. However, it has the advantage of being safe and quick, and delivered in a few simple treatments, unlike surgery, with its long recovery time and risk of complications.
Only modest changes are achievable with RF treatments on their own, it works synergistically with conventional ablative laser therapy. The laser can treat the outer part of the skin, while the RF component penetrates deeper into the skin for more complete results. Other combination treatments can also be used. For example, RF in combination with volumisers can augment the collagen responses; RF together with anti-wrinkle injections helps relax the muscle while the skin contracts. RF coupled with microdermabrasion may also stimulate increased collagen formation and improved blood supply.
What about side effects?
Radiofrequency can be used safely for patients of all skin types (it is said the treatment is ‘colour blind’) and is not normally associated with pigment changes in the skin, even in those prone to it. Side effects are minor and temporary. Typical concerns are minor discomfort during the procedure, and redness or swelling afterwards which usually lasts for a couple of hours. A cold compress or an ice pack placed on the treated area will soothe and help to reduce discomfort and swelling.
There’s little or no downtime and a quick return to normal activities is expected. A soothing restorative cream may be applied following the procedure and continued for several days. Makeup can be applied immediately after treatment as the epidermis is unaffected.
Some patients rarely develop abrasions (crusting) in the treated area. These usually heal or drop off within three to four days. It is rare to experience changes in sensation in the treated area, such as itching or numbness. These symptoms are temporary, usually mild, and resolve completely in days to weeks.
Bi-polar Radiofrequency (RF) Therapy (Sublative Rejuvenation)
What is it?
Over time, our skin’s youthful appearance and texture are affected by the cumulative effects of collagen and moisture loss, as well as sun exposure, and acne. By stimulating collagen production and increasing cell turnover, sublative rejuvenation enables the achievement of a more youthful appearance. This facial rejuvenation technique is a type of fractionated skin resurfacing, which means only a fraction of the skin’s surface is subjected to the treatment. There is less surface disruption with smaller entry wounds as compared with fractional laser treatment. Maximum effect occurs in the deeper layers of the dermis. This technology has been shown to effectively treat mild to moderate wrinkles, red and brown spots, and textural irregularities. This is truly the next generation of safe and effective facial technology. However, skin conditions like eczema may preclude some patients from receiving the treatment. For information on fractional laser treatment click on Skin Rejuvenation to be taken to that fact sheet.
How does it work?
Pulsing radiofrequency energy is precisely directed to the upper dermis of face and neck in an array of tiny matrix spots. As only these spots create tiny wounds, there is just minor surface disruption, and the wounds are already sealed by the completion of treatment. Healthy skin around the spots accelerates the healing process of the affected skin. If there are areas of specific concern, such as the deeper lines around the mouth, or on the lower cheeks, or acne scars, treatment can be focused here. Post treatment, increased levels of beneficial new collagen and new healthy skin cells are produced. Mild to moderate wrinkles and superficial skin discolouration are reduced. The texture of skin becomes smoother and more elastic.
What about side effects?
Sublative rejuvenation with RF treatment is a very safe and effective solution for all skin types. There is some discomfort, patients feel a warm prickly sensation. An anaesthetic cream is used which makes the procedure more tolerable. After treatment, redness and swelling is experienced reminiscent of a sunburn. You can expect a recovery time of two to three days, rarely it may take up to one week. A cold compress or an ice pack placed on the treated area will soothe and help to reduce pain and swelling. A cooling mask, and/or a soothing restorative cream may be applied following the procedure and continued for several days.
A matrix pattern of red squares will be evident that will fade soon, generally within a few days. As the tiny dots begin to heal they will crust over and flake off the skin. This is a normal part of the healing process and may take from 5–10 days. It is important to not pick at the crusting, but, rather let it proceed at its own natural pace.
For the best facial rejuvenation results we recommend having a series of three Triniti treatments at approximately 4–6 week intervals. After each session collagen production will be boosted further and ultimately skin will be smoother. Reduced pigment will be observed. A further session after 6–12 months may be beneficial to maintain the skin’s improved colour, tone and texture. A series of Triniti treatments can be combined with many other cosmetic procedures to give maximum benefits. Muscle relaxing injections will further reduce wrinkles and dermal fillers can assist in reducing lines and lifting sagging skin.
After a series of Triniti treatments the skin is again assessed and post treatment photos taken. There may be further benefits to focusing a little closer on pigment or perhaps on texture, depending on the condition of the skin. It can be further refined with Sublative RF, working on problem areas such as acne scarring. Another option is a plan for facial rejuvenation maintenance. The Triniti treatment, and each of its components, will positively impact not only the appearance of the skin, but also its health and resilience.