Our clients will often come in for a consultation and ask ‘can you do this?’ while pulling the loose skin along their jawline back toward their ears. The jowl lift makes a huge improvement to their appearance and they ask what jowl treatment we can offer. Unfortunately, as we age, our face (and other body parts) tend to slowly follow gravity towards the floor. The good news is, there are treatments we have to address this. Below, we discuss sagging face causes, and sagging face treatment at Palm Clinic, Auckland, NZ.
As we age, our skin becomes less elastic, almost like an overstretched pair of track pants. As that elasticity goes, the loose skin slowly becomes less resistant to the force of gravity, and will stretch and sit lower. This can be seen in our eyelids, our cheeks tend to sit a little lower, and our jawline and neck become less taut resulting in a full lower face. The main causes of this are:
The skin produces less elastin (for elasticity) and collagen (for firm and smooth skin) as we age. That same elastin and collagen is also subject to degradation over time by UV rays (sun exposure), smoking and an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.
Carrying on with the analogy of the overstretched track pants, if you have carried excess weight for some time, and then lose it, the skin can be less effective at tightening back up when the excess fat has gone. This is due to damage to the elastic fibres in the skin when it is stretched.
There are some rare conditions that can be the cause of saggy skin. One example is Ehler Danlos syndrome, which weakens the connective tissue of your skin.
There are different options for treatment of saggy skin, depending on its severity, ranging from medical grade skincare (lowest cost, least invasive, no recovery time) right through to cosmetic surgery (highest cost, most invasive, highest recovery time).
Medical grade skincare and chemical peels
It is important to be aware of the difference between skincare that you can buy at a Pharmacy or Department store and Medical grade skincare. Although the promises made by some expensive skincare brands are impressive, they do not include the right level of ‘active ingredients’ and so are limited in what they can achieve. Medical grade skincare contains higher levels of ingredients that are proven to help improve facial skin texture, and are only available at reputable clinics. Often, they are less expensive than the department store brands too. Even medical grade skincare is unlikely to significantly improve sagging skin however. What it will do is improve the skin texture and pigmentation and help support other treatments. Medifacials / chemical peels as prescribed by our skin therapist will supplement this effect and are a good option for those wishing to avoid a cosmetic procedure.
Modest results have been attained with the use of ultrasound, or radiofrequency to heat up the dermis, stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin. This is non-invasive, and the results can be minimal, and as such, is not offered at Palm Clinic.
The evidence shows that the most effective treatment to tighten and lift the skin from this type of procedure is from Laser resurfacing. At Palm Clinic, Auckland, NZ we have a medical grade Fraxel laser which damages the skin in a controlled way to stimulate collagen production and improve the skin texture as well as pigmentation of the skin, creating a more youthful appearance.
The most effective, non-surgical way to lift sagging face skin though, is with the use of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. We use these in the cheeks, temples, and jawline to retract sagging skin, create a more defined jawline and even reduce a double chin. The hyaluronic acid dermal filler attracts water and hydrates the structures underneath the skin to lift, often with impressive results.
All of the above treatment modalities can complement each other.
When the saggy skin is more significant, plastic surgery may be indicated. Your Palm Clinic doctor will refer you on to our plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Mills who can take you through options for a surgical procedure, including a blepharoplasty (for eyelids), a face or neck lift .
Whichever option you choose, there are certain lifestyle choices that you can make at home to optimise the outcome of any of the above. These include, eating a healthy diet, minimising alcohol intake, not smoking, exercising, having good sleep hygiene and most importantly, using SPF and clothing to protect your skin from sun exposure.
Before and After Photos of Treatment for Facial Sagging
Below, see some examples of sagging face images, before and after treatment.
Botox® is a prescription medicine for the treatment of frown lines, horizontal forehead lines and crow’s feet round the eyes. Botox® has risks and benefits. Ask your doctor if Botox® is right for you. If you have side effects, see your doctor. You will need to pay for Botox® and clinic fees will apply. For details on precautions & side effects consult your healthcare professional or the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) at www.medsafe.govt.nz. Botox® treatment lasts about 4 months and further courses of treatment may be necessary. Should only be administered by trained medical professionals.(Contains botulinum toxin A 50,100 & 200 units). Allergan (NZ) Limited, Auckland.
Juvederm Ultra™ & Juvederm Ultra Plus™ are medical devices Class III for the filling of medium size and deep facial wrinkles by injection into the skin and for creating definition and volume in the lips. Contains 24mg/mL. cross-linked hyaluronic acid. Juvederm has risks and benefits. Cautions: Use in an area that has been treated with another dermal filler, people with autoimmune disease, or who are pregnant, breastfeeding, under 18 years of age or have an increased susceptibility to keloid formation and hypertrophic scarring. People on blood thinning medicines. Possible side effects: injection site inflammatory reactions (redness/swelling, itching/pain on pressure) induration or nodules; discolouration; weak filling effect. If you have side effects or concerns speak to your doctor. Product and treatment costs will apply. Note: Juvederm treatment lasts about 12-24 months. For product information check with your doctor or product information at Allergan (NZ) Limited, Auckland.
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Please note that individual results may vary from patient to patient, and the information provided on our website is only a guidance to the possible results.