As we age, a number of biological and lifestyle factors work together to produce some undesirable effects on our skin. Natural processes within the body such as the loss of soft tissue and fat can leave skin sagging, causing those loose jowls and the creping that occurs along the face and neck. Time spent out of doors can compound these processes over the years, exposing the skin to ultraviolet light and inhibiting an increase in new collagen, the material necessary to keep skin looking sleek and tight. Ultraviolet light can also activate certain enzymes responsible for breaking down existing collagen, causing your skin to lose even more elasticity. This process can take place all over the body, not just on the face and neck, causing sagging, dimpled skin anywhere fat and soft tissue were once present, like the chest, thighs, and buttocks.
The Effects of Aging Skin on the Face
Your face is how you present yourself to the world and, unfortunately, it’s also the number one problem area for aging skin. The skin of the face is more exposed to the elements than any other part of the body, and underlying bone structures change as we age, so your face also loses volume over time. This can lead to the extra skin along the brow, cheekbones, and jawline, and because your skin loses elasticity over the years it isn’t able to shrink back tightly in those areas. And sagging skin around the cheeks, eyes, and mouth can create hollows that contribute significantly to the appearance of aging by casting more shadows on the face. Generally, the effects of aging become most noticeable around the eyes, where the skin is thin and easily stretched by years of smiling, laughing, and frowning. A breakdown in elastin and collagen can cause “hooding” over the eyelid and add bags along the lower line of the orbital socket.
Treatment for Sagging Facial Skin
Facial skin is relatively thick and especially prone to sagging, making the results of non-invasive surgical treatments like Thermage particularly effective. Thermage heats existing collagen in problem areas using concentrated radiofrequency, which in turn damages the collagen, causing it to shrink. While this shrinking collagen can have an immediate tightening effect on sagging skin, it can also activate the body to produce new collagen, helping skin regain elasticity and tighten around existing facial structures.
Sagging Skin on the Body
Much like the face and neck, skin on the body faces damage from the elements and a loss of bone, muscle, and fat that can contribute to sagging skin. Dermal fibroblasts, the cells in the epidermis responsible for generating healthy skin, become less active over time and synthesize less collagen as we age. This process reduces the elasticity of the skin as well, allowing gravity to pull any loose skin downward. Just as in the face, loss of underlying fat and soft tissue can make the skin of the body appear wrinkled and dimpled, and the loss of active fibroblasts can make the appearance of cellulite even more pronounced. Over time, these elements can lead to sagging belly skin, wrinkled thighs, creping along the inner arm, and the appearance of lumps and depressions on the buttocks.
Thermage Treatments on the Body
The radio frequency used by Thermage penetrates significantly deeper than laser therapies because at a certain depth the concentrated light necessary for the laser to function becomes absorbed by the skin. Radiofrequency treatment permeates all levels of the skin to increase collagen levels and can produce a tightening of the skin around the treated area. This helps the skin look smoother and more youthful in the thighs and buttocks, and can help alleviate the damage caused to belly skin by weight loss or childbirth. In addition, concentrated radiofrequency treatments like Thermage have been known to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, giving affected areas a smooth, dimple-free surface.
The Science Behind Thermage
Radiofrequency (or RF) waves like those in Thermage radiofrequency treatments have been used in modern medicine for years. Neurosurgeons, physical, and occupational therapists use radiofrequency in their surgical and therapeutic procedures because the RF waves can destroy targeted or damaged tissue in the body while simultaneously stimulating the body’s own natural healing processes.
This same concept is harnessed in Thermage treatments, where concentrated radiofrequency energy is focused on the target area, penetrating through all layers of the skin and heating the collagen to the point where the body’s renewal systems kick in to repair the damage. The body’s increased production of collagen then continues in the target area even after the treatment, potentially leading to prolonged benefits even after the procedure ends.
Because radiofrequency technology is non-invasive, treatments like Thermage can be completed in a relatively brief time and minimal recovery is necessary. As the body works to repair itself, the results from such a treatment can become evident after a single session and can continue for a substantial period afterward.
Age and genetic predisposition can sometimes leave us with 10 or 20 pounds of extra weight that we can’t seem to shed, no matter how healthy our diet or how vigorous our exercise routine may be. Surgical procedures for removing fat deposits from the body can have months-long recovery periods, and, as most invasive surgeries are, can be dangerous if not properly executed.
CoolSculpting is a new, non-invasive technology that freezes fat cells, allowing them to be naturally absorbed into the body. With no cutting or suturing involved, CoolSculpting uses controlled cooling to reduce fat and can create long-term results with a minimal recovery time.
Controlled Cooling Technology
At some point in our adolescences, the number of fat cells in our body becomes relatively fixed. As we gain or lose weight, the size of these cells expand or contract, but the number of cells remains relatively consistent. As we age, our metabolize slows down, so the foods we eat take longer to process into energy. Because of this and other lifestyle reasons, fat not used by the body for energy is more likely stored in fat cells, expanding them and making it nearly impossible to lose those last 15 pounds.
The CoolSculpting procedure is based on Cryolipolysis, the science of freezing fat cells using controlled cooling. Freezing the fat cells this way does not harm the surrounding tissue, but targets the fat cell itself, causing it to die. When the fat cell dies, it begins to collapse in on itself, and the body’s system of elimination absorbs the damaged cell and passes it from the body as waste. The overall number of fat cells within the targeted area can be reduced in this way by up to 25%, while fat cells outside the targeted area remain unharmed. This means CoolSculpting can be used to eliminate fat cells around the belly but leave those in the breasts or buttocks completely healthy.
Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Mean Looking Older
The body ages and naturally occurring processes mean that skin loses its elasticity, becoming wrinkled and saggy. We gain weight that we just can’t seem to get rid of, despite how hard we exercise or how well we watch what we eat. Crows feet, creping along the neck, and a sagging jowl line all show our age up close and personal as we lose the definition we had in our youth. But new technologies are making it easier and safer than ever to regain the smoother, tighter skin and sleeker physique of our younger years without undergoing invasive surgical procedures. Using concentrated radiofrequency and controlled cooling, Thermage and CoolSculpting can help eliminate sagging skin and fat cells by harnessing the body’s own recuperative processes.
Surgery may no longer be your only option for eliminating fat and reducing sagging skin, meaning you can look and feel better faster. Invasive procedures fight the body’s natural rejuvenation processes and place extra stress on the body’s immune defenses to fight infection. Because Thermage and CoolSculpting are non-invasive, they work with the body’s ability to heal and cleanse itself, cutting down on recovery time and pain during the procedure. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort and swelling in the affected area, and are able to continue their normal routine almost immediately.
If you are in the Sarasota, FL, area and are interested in learning more about the Thermage and CoolSculpting procedures, you can contact Estetika Skin and Laser Specialists to speak with an expert or schedule a consultation. With minimal discomfort and recovery time, Thermage and CoolSculpting may just provide you with the means to successfully battle the effects of aging on your body, returning you to your younger looking self.
If you’re ready to regain your youthful glow and appearance, consider Thermage and CoolSculpting to make the best years of your life the years to come.