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Beginners guide to non-invasive cosmetic treatments

– by Dr Ann-Marie Almeida 

Cosmetic medicine has come a long way in the last decade, offering a wide range of non-invasive procedures that can help you look and feel your best. These procedures are an effective way to rejuvenate or enhance your appearance and offer a lower-risk alternative to cosmetic surgery. If you’re new to non-invasive aesthetic procedures, this brief guide will help you understand what’s available and how to choose the right one for you.

1. Microdermabrasion and Micro-needling 

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that uses a crystal-tipped wand to gently exfoliate the outermost layer of the skin. This procedure can improve the appearance of fine lines, lighten acne scars, and leads to a generally brighter appearance of the skin. It’s a great option for those wanting a gentle introduction to skin treatments as it’s relatively painless with minimal (if any) downtime. 

Micro-needling involves using a device with tiny needles to create small, controlled punctures in the skin. The needles penetrate the top layer of the skin, triggering the body’s natural healing response, and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.  As we age, we are naturally losing the elastin and collagen content in our skin with each passing year, and sun exposure in Australia further contributes to this process. Therefore, this is a great treatment that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, act in combination with other treatments for the prevention of fine lines and improve the tone and texture of the skin. I commonly advise this as a baseline skin health and prevention treatment. 

Micro-needling can be performed on various areas of the body but is most commonly done on the face, neck and décolletage. It is a relatively quick procedure taking 30-60 minutes to perform, depending on the area treated. You may experience some light redness, very small bruises and mild swelling immediately following the procedure.  These side effects usually subside within a few hours to days. There may be some minor pain, and topical anaesthetic may be used to help with this. 

At b clinic, we offer a treatment called the Beauty Booster. It’s a highly customised treatment where we control the depth of the micro-needle in the skin to inject a light dermal filler product, which helps bind water molecules and increase skin hydration. In addition, it can improve the appearance of dull skin and fine lines.

Chemical peels are a popular non-invasive procedure that can improve the texture and tone of your skin. They use a chemical solution to remove the superficial topmost layer of skin cells, revealing a smoother and more even complexion. The intensity of the peel depends on the strength of the solution and the time administered. Generally, peels are mild to moderate in strength. You may feel a slight tingling or burning sensation throughout the procedure. Downtime is usually minimal, with mild redness and possibly some swelling and skin peeling over the next few hours to days. 

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels may be used to help improve a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, age spots, pigmentation, and fine wrinkles. This treatment can also be a good baseline treatment for skin health and prevention. 

3. Laser Resurfacing

I believe laser is a great baseline skin treatment option because we can tailor the intensity of the treatment to address your personal concerns. 

Simply put, lasers are devices that emit a concentrated beam of light that can be used to target specific tissues in the body. In cosmetic medicine, lasers are often used to improve the appearance of the skin by treating a range of conditions such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, small blood vessels, sun damage, tattoo removal and age spots. They work by delivering heat to the targeted area, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential for maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin or breaking up pigment. 

There are two general categories of cosmetic laser treatments: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative laser treatments remove the top layers of skin and penetrate deeper into the skin, making them more effective for treating deeper wrinkles, scars, and other skin imperfections. Non-ablative laser treatments, on the other hand, work by heating the underlying tissue without damaging the surface of the skin, making them better suited for treating milder skin conditions. The depth of the treatment will depend on the individual’s skin type and the severity of the condition being treated. It’s important to note 2 things about laser treatment:

1. Deeper laser treatments may require more downtime and can carry a greater risk of side effects such as redness, swelling, and scarring.

2. Results usually take time and repeat treatments to achieve ideal results. Everyone is different in how their skin behaves and heals in response to treatment. A few key factors that influence this is age, skin type, sun exposure and health status.  

I recommend making a pre-procedure consult appointment in which your concerns can be explored, possible risks specific to you advised and your ability to accommodate any downtime worked out with the treating practitioner so that the most ideal laser treatment plan can be recommended.

3. Muscle Relaxant and Dermal Fillers

Muscle Relaxant and Dermal Fillers are the most popular non-invasive aesthetic procedures. Muscle relaxants are usually known by various brand names, but at their core, they are all botulinum toxin A which is a neuromodulator that is injected into the muscles that cause wrinkles/lines. This temporarily paralyses the muscles and b clinic specialises in tailoring this treatment to your desired outcome. This may be leaving some movement in the muscle, leaving some lines in certain places for a more natural look, all the way through to try to eliminate or decrease the movement or line. Everyone is different!

Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to add volume to the face. It can be used to rejuvenate (replace what you have naturally lost) or enhance (make existing features more prominent). 

As we age, we naturally lose fat from our face, which causes loss of volume, decreased skin support and sagging of skin. Dermal fillers are a great non-surgical option to improve this volume loss, maintain youthful facial features and add underlying support for sagging skin. Treatment is usually well tolerated, and downtime can range from a few hours to two weeks, depending on the area treated and the extent of possible swelling and bruising. 

4. Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)

PRP treatment is a regenerative therapy that has gained popularity in recent years for its ability to improve a wide range of aesthetic and medical conditions. PRP involves using your own blood, which is processed to concentrate the platelets and growth factors, creating a plasma rich in healing properties. In aesthetic medicine, PRP is either spread over micro-needled skin or injected into the skin to stimulate cell regeneration and elastin/collagen production. This aims to produce a brighter skin tone overall, help tighten skin, and improve texture and fine lines. It’s like an ingredient that gives your micro-needling treatment a boost!

6. Polydioxanone (PDO) matrix threads

PDO threads are a type of minimally invasive cosmetic treatment that uses dissolvable threads to tighten the skin at a deeper level than micro-needling and some forms of laser. These threads are made of a biodegradable material that is commonly used in surgical sutures, making it safe for use in the body. PDO threads are inserted into the skin using a fine needle, which is removed, leaving the thread in place. The threads then work to tighten the skin by promoting collagen production and improving the skin’s overall texture and tone.

PDO threads can be used to address a variety of concerns, such as mild sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. It can also be used in the prevention and maintenance of skin collagen/elastin.  They are commonly used on the face, neck, and décolletage but can also be used on other areas of the body. PDO threads come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate different treatment areas and can be customised to achieve the desired result.

The procedure typically takes less than an hour and is done under topical anaesthetic.  Bruising and mild to moderate swelling are not uncommon and may take days to 2 weeks to settle.  Results are best seen in weeks to months as the body takes time to create collagen.  As with all non-invasive cosmetic procedures, this treatment needs ongoing, repeated treatments over time to maintain as we naturally continue to age.

These procedures are a summary of the most common and successful non-invasive cosmetic treatments performed to brighten, tighten, prevent, rejuvenate, or enhance. When considering a non-invasive aesthetic procedure, it’s important to choose a qualified practitioner to perform the procedure. Every procedure does come with its own set of risks, which I discuss in the free consult offered prior to procedure bookings. It’s also important to keep in mind that non-invasive aesthetic procedures are not a one-time solution and results vary from person to person. You may need multiple treatments for optimal results and some maintenance may be required to maintain the results. These procedures are also not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and proper skincare. A good skincare routine, sun protection and a healthy diet are essential for maintaining good cosmetic health.

Book your complimentary consultation with Dr Ann-Marie today!