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Non-surgical skin tightening options worth a try

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Her clinic is a soothing haven of beautiful paintings, photos and artifacts. She’s the ultimate go-to for countless women and men seeking beautiful skin and hair. Poised, immaculately turned out and graceful, Dr. Malavika Kohli is a leading dermatologist and cosmetologist with-state-of-the-art south Mumbai hospitals, Jaslok and Breach Candy. A pioneer in aesthetic dermatology, she has been a cosmetology consultant to glamorous high profile events such as the Lakme India Fashion Week and Ponds Femina Miss India Contest.

As Director of the exclusive Skin Secrets clinic, Dr. Kohli performs cutting edge skin rejuvenation and youth restorative procedures such as Botox, Fillers, Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion and Laser and Light therapies for skin tightening, skin resurfacing and hair removal. “Everyone wants to look young,” she says with a flick of her coiffed strands, “and fortunately there are so many options to make you look beautiful and well groomed.”

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Facial contouring and tightening

One of the fallouts of aging is the natural breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers in the skin, causing a loss of firmness and elasticity, sagging eyelids, cheeks and crepey neck. “Non-surgical facial contouring and skin tightening works marvelously in patients in their 40s where the neck is slender with mild to moderate skin laxity and some loss of definition around the jawline”, says Dr. Kohli. Typically three to four sessions at six to eight weeks intervals—with follow up sessions every six months—are enough to stimulate collagen production. The result: a visibly sharper jawline and toned neck.

For older women with more pronounced skin looseness, bands around the neck and laxity around the jawline, the same swanlike neck is possible but with a little more effort. “In such cases, facial contouring will involvelipolysis or localized liposuction to remove extra fat, fillers, Botox and minimal surgery.”

After effects of facial contouring

Arpita, one of Dr Kohli’s long-time clients boasts a beautifully chiseled face and admits to having undergone facial contouring. She says post session there is minor discomfort that settles in a couple of days. The non-ablative radiofrequency (RF) energy laser with a microneedling tip causes minimal redness that settles in a few hours. “I simply use a mild soothing cream after the procedure, stay away from chemical face washes and use sunscreen,” she says. Dr Kohli clarifies that this is not a “lunchtime procedure” because there is redness and some swelling. So it’s best to plan it for a Friday evening giving you adequate time to recover.

Remodeling collagen and reducing pigmentation

These work by heating the dermis to build and remodel collagen in the skin. This produces a tightening and lifting effect on the face, neck and eye area. They are excellent for improving skin texture, tightening loose skin, minimizing scars and reducing uneven pigmentation. Ablative lasers actually remove microscopic tubules of skin, leaving the surrounding area untreated, allowing the skin to heal more quickly, and can cause dramatic improvement on the appearance of uneven skin surfaces caused by acne scars and pits. Erbium YAG treatments work well for less severe wrinkles, scars and other skin texture abnormalities. Meanwhile, the newest kid on the block is the Fractional Q Switched ND YagLaser that gives excellent skin tightening and pigmentation reduction results.

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Lasers that work deep under the surface

Other more expensive and intense options for skin tightening that penetrate deeper and require sedation during treatment include Thermageand Ulthera.“These are intense procedures where the top epidermal layers are bypassed, and deeper layers are remodelled. The effects can take up to three months to become noticeable.” These are also non-invasive treatments, where patients can resume their normal activities immediately. The treatment may be repeated after a year or two to maintain results.

Smoothening out the skin

Besides skin tightening, resurfacing or evening out the skin tone is another common request. Acne scars, pits and scars can also be treated with a host of lasers. Dr. Kohli says, “Fractional Resurfacing is a new technique that is now used successfully to treat an uneven skin texture.” The different types of fractionated lasers used include Pixel (2940nm), a fractionated ablative resurfacing Erbium YagLaser (for superficial and deep scars), FraxelStarlux Palomar Laser (1540nm) (for superficial and deep scars). “Fractional Erbium laser resurfacing is a good option for treating pigmentation and scars.” While ablative lasers–CO2and 2940 Erbium—and the 1540 Non ablative Erbium lasers both plump up scars and improve skin texture but there is less risk of pigmentation with non-ablative lasers.

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Over reliance on products

While laser treatments are gradually gaining popularity, Dr. Kohli maintains most people still prefer relying on ‘miracles-in-a-jar’ to improve their skin. “Patients are often reluctant about procedures that involve skin handling and prefer relying on hope that comes in a jar.” While hair removal treatments including lasers have taken off big time, much still needs to be done to improve the underlying reticence about what lasers can do to improve skin quality and texture.

Other popular procedures

The other area that Dr. Kohli and her team have seen a quantum rise in patients is hair-related concerns. Hair loss PRP—both pre-bottled and reconstituted—mesotherapy and other hair-scalp related solutions have also seen substantial growth with a growing number of people perceiving such treatments as preventive solutions with enhanced anti-aging benefits.

Body shaping and contouring, stretch mark removal and anti-cellulite therapies are other areas where interest is growing. “At the end of the day, real people leading ordinary lives have to start believing in the necessity of these procedures for them to become part and parcel of their reality,” concludes Dr. Kohli.

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