The non-surgical facelift

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

When things start sliding south on your face, the option to stop the momentum is no longer only surgery. The less invasive and less expensive alternative is the non-surgical facelift.

While many of us may not be comfortable with the effect of gravity and sun damage on our faces – especially the sagging and volume loss – for many of us cosmetic surgery is a step too far, as surgery is drastic, always carries a risk, and it is costly. So what alternatives do we have if we’d like to tweak the effects of time on our faces? Lucky for us, there are several types of injectables available to give us a lift.

Non-Surgical Facelifts

Instead of cutting to lift skin that has started to sag, the softer, non-surgical option is the so-called 3D Facelift. During this procedure, a variety of different injectables are used to create volume and lift sagging features.

The thread lift: Polydioxanone PDO threads, such as Princess® LFL Lift PDO threads or Silhouette Soft ® sutures are made of Polylactic acid, Lactic acid and glycolic co-polymer, are injected deep underneath the surface of the skin.. The threads are placed strategically, guided by the natural tension lines of the skin. Once placed, they act as a scaffold, lifting loose and sagging skin. They also create a frame for collagen to attach to, which ultimately creates a vector of new collagen formation in the areas you want, showing effects similar to a surgical facelift. With continual stimulation of blood supply to the treated area, collagen and elastin production are also stimulated. This means that even after a few days, the treated area looks brighter and healthier.

Compared to conventional face lifting, thread lifting means less stress because this intervention is significantly smaller, there are no visible scars and healing is relatively quick. The procedure is quick, has a low risk of pain and downtime. Some of the results are seen immediately, but the final results and tightening are seen 3-6 months down the line as the skin produces new collagen.

PDO Threads are commonly used for horizontal and vertical forehead wrinkles, creased cheeks, sagging eyebrows and nose to mouth folds, bags under the eyes, cheeks and jawline.

Silhouette Soft® sutures are used for re-draping and elevating areas that have succumbed to gravity.

Injection of volume: Fillers (most commonly made from Hyaluronic Acid) are used to restore shape and add volume to the face to counteract the effects of gravity and ageing. They work by filling in wrinkles and lines and plumping areas that have lost volume (cheeks, under-eye area and temples), causing the skin to sink and sag. They also restore lip volume and hollows under the eyes and to fill in deep lines like the creases around your mouth.

The most popular fillers are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), a substance occurring naturally in the body that holds multiple times its own weight in water, and so plump and hydrate the skin and promote all-important softness and fullness. Depending on the area to be injected, different types of viscosity and thickness are used.

* Each product in the JUVÉDERM® collection of fillers from Allergan is made from a modified form of HA.

* Princess® fillers, from Austria, used patented SMART technology – a highly dense three-dimensional matrix that makes the product long lasting.

Smoothing things out: Botulinum toxin, which you probably know as ‘Botox’, is great for lines and wrinkles that occur due to repetitive movements, as well as giving you a chemical brow or jowl lift, as it relaxes nerves that trigger muscle movement and contraction.

The only two legally registered Botulinum toxin brands in SA are Dysport, manufactured by Lithapharma, and the ubiquitous Botox®, manufactured by Allergan. Both are used at Skin Renewal.

Good to know

  • The procedure is relatively pain-free, using a topical anesthetic to minimse discomfort.
  • Treatment takes between 15 to 45 minutes, with no down-time after the procedure.
  • The lifting and smoothing effects are long–lasting but not permanent, as the body eventually breaks down the injectables. PDO threads are safely absorbed after 2-3 years. Fillers can last for up to 18 months, and Botulinum toxin can last between 3 and 6 months. Top-ups of the individual components may be made during this time, and adjustments made to suit your needs.
  • Injectable treatments are safe and effective and approved for cosmetic use by the US FDA.
  • The non-surgical facelift is suitable for all skin types, but needs a consultation with an experienced and trained medical doctor with an intimate knowledge and understanding of the muscular anatomy of the face as well as the aesthetic implications of proper placement.

To find out more about treatment that are an alternative to surgery, visit Skin Renewal on or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).

Next week we explain what fillers are, as well as where and how they can improve your appearance. 

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