Until recently, the only way to address problems caused by facial skin laxity—such as jowls and drooping cheeks—was facelift surgery. After all, while skin resurfacing treatments can help to restore some degree of firmness, once loose skin is present, only a scalpel can truly remove it. However, while the approach of relying on injectable compounds and skin resurfacing until facelift surgery becomes absolutely necessary works for many patients, not everyone is willing or able to have surgery. If you’re in this group, you’ll be happy to know that a new type of procedure has been developed to fill in the gap between noninvasive facial rejuvenation
WHAT IS A THREAD LIFT?
A thread lift is a type of procedure wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the skin. Instead of removing the patient’s loose facial skin surgically, the cosmetic surgeon simply suspends it by stitching up portions of it.
This has the effect of pulling the skin back slightly and therefore lifting and tightening the face. In addition to being ideal for lifting the skin, threads combat aging in another way: by provoking the body’s “healing response” and causing the body to direct large surges of collagen to treated areas. This is important because of the vital role collagen plays in the aging process.
Collagen helps support “growth factors” that greatly influences the condition of our skin. In addition to being used for wound healing, collagen helps to keep our skin strong, voluminous and supple. As we get older, our bodies gradually produce less and less collagen, which leads to an 80% reduction in skin thickness by about age 70. This loss of volume and strength is a large factor in the creation of excess skin and wrinkles. As the skin grows weaker, it’s no longer able to support the tissues beneath it adequately, meaning that gravity pulls it downwards and stretches it. Infusing the skin of the face with fresh collagen when the signs of skin laxity are still mild can help to both reduce looseness (by thickening and hydrating the skin) and prevent it from getting worse (by strengthening the skin).
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR THREAD LIFT
Because thread lifts are so low-risk and boast such a short recovery time, it’s possible to combine them with other nonsurgical procedures in order to create more comprehensive, noticeable results. Once your skin has healed around the threads inserted during an “InstaLift,” we recommend pairing your thread lift with a treatment like ultherapy.
Ultherapy uses gentle pulses of ultrasound energy to heat the connective tissues beneath the skin, thereby stimulating collagen production. Ultherapy, which is often referred to as being a “nonsurgical facelift,” is safe enough to be applied to virtually any area of the face and neck. By combining this procedure with a thread lift, you can maximize the overall amount of skin firming you receive and create more even lifting by treating the neck as well as the face.
While thread lifts can tighten the skin effectively, they aren’t designed to address blemishes on the skin’s surface. As such, banishing the superficial signs of aging—like age spots, areas of uneven pigmentation and fine lines—will require a technique known as “skin resurfacing.” During skin resurfacing, the top layer of the dermis is removed, stripping away the aforementioned blemishes. A new, more youthful-looking layer of skin then grows in its place.