On the bright side
Megan Bedford has the go-to glossary for the latest facial treatments to refresh and brighten your appearance.
If you’re putting in the effort with good skincare practices but not getting the results you’re after, it can be a good idea to speak with an expert. The options available at skin clinics throughout New Zealand run the gamut from a one-off facial to brighten your skin, to more advanced appearance medicine options designed to address some of the common signs of ageing. However, deciphering treatment menus from skincare clinics can be intimidating and overwhelming! A reputable practitioner will take plenty of time to talk through any options with you, but it helps to have an idea of what’s available and the outcomes you might be hoping to achieve. With new trends and technology continually advancing in terms of what’s possible, we look at some of the most popular options.
Injectable gel fillers were once only used to plump out significant lines around the forehead, eyes and mouth. These days it’s more about boosting volume loss that happens naturally with age. Using the hyaluronic acid solution, which dissolves over six to 12 months, fillers boost lips and cheekbones, soften hollows under the eyes, strengthen the bridge of the nose and firm the jawline. Extensive use is sometimes referred to as a “liquid facelift”, designed to lift and firm the face.
Also known as dermal rolling or collagen induction therapy, dermal needling works by harnessing the skin’s natural ability to repair itself. A roller or small pen-like device with a number of tiny needles inside is used to gently make a series of tiny pricks (micro injuries) into the dermis, or secondary layer of skin. This causes cells to produce more collagen and elastin, the foundation of smoother, firmer and brighter skin. It can help minimise acne scarring and is handy for areas like fine lines around the lips.
Patchy pigmentation, sun damage, broken capillaries and brown spots can be treated with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), a concentrated light source delivered to the area of damage beneath the skin via a handpiece, without breaking the skin’s surface. The pulses of light break down the pigment, which diminishes over time. It’s also used to permanently remove unwanted hair. Several treatments are usually required and should be performed in autumn/winter, when it’s easier to avoid sun exposure.
The moniker “vampire facial” refers to PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma treatment, or using some of your blood’s own healing plasma in combination with dermal filler to rejuvenate
skin. Drawn from your arm and separated by centrifuge, the plasma is delivered by needle or a needled Derma Gun. It’s long been used to treat damaged tissue after injury and Dr Catherine Stone at The Face Place has also been using it to treat hair loss and sexual rejuvenation for both women and men.
The option that excites skin experts the most, because of its ability to achieve more youthful skin on the whole, is laser treatment. That means smoother, stronger and more evenly coloured skin. The key to good results is a quality laser operated by an expert in this field. Like dermal needling, the results happen beneath the surface as the skin is stimulated to repair the microscopic treatment zones created by the laser. Skin looks better in the short and long term as more collagen is produced. Traditional lasers directly target the surface layer of the skin, while more advanced fractional lasers, considered the gold standard in the industry, diffuse the burst of energy into a grid of much smaller “pinpricks” that work on a far deeper level for more effective results.
Microdermabrasion is one of the quickest ways to achieve a brighter complexion. It involves removing the gunked-up top layer of dead skin with a vacuum handpiece that uses small crystals to exfoliate. It’s especially good for thick, oily, blackhead-prone skin, but isn’t ideal for more sensitive types as it is abrasive, so increasingly alpha hydroxy facials or “peels” using acids derived from fruit are being used for resurfacing instead.
Low-frequency sound waves are delivered via a flat metal handpiece that is moved over the face in conjunction with skin-boosting serums – in short, it takes a facial to the next level, with vibrations proven to help ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin.
Botox is an injectable medicine used to relax lines by temporarily immobilising the muscle beneath the skin. The effects wear off over several months. Long lauded for its impact on the face, Botox is now being used in more varied ways. Lifting the brow line, treating excessive sweating, migraines and teeth grinding, slimming the jawline and relaxing a gummy smile are all Botox treatments carried out in New Zealand. PEELS
While they sound intense, topically applied treatment peels help your skin do what it does naturally, but better. That means removing the dead, dull top layer of skin to reveal bright new skin beneath and bring healthy cells to the surface – a natural process that slows as we age. Usually applied as a mask during a facial, peels can aid in increased collagen production, and improve the efficacy of your current skincare routine.
A lesser-known but useful way to tighten slack skin on the face and neck without surgery is radio frequency treatment. Using a metal conductor, it’s administered through the skin to gently heat tissue and stimulate collagen in the deeper dermal layers and tighten it from the inside out.
Long lauded for its impact on the face, Botox is now being used in more varied ways.