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ALBERT Martinez before and after Thermage




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Radiofrequency for skin tightening

By Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:38:00 12/05/2008

Filed Under: Health and Beauty Products, Lifestyle & Leisure

MANILA, Philippines?If you look at recent photos of actor Philip Salvador taken with the late Rudy Fernandez, Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, Philip looks younger than his buddies; in fact, he?s the oldest in the group.

While most women in their late 50s are either dealing with jowls or losing their figures, actress Gloria Diaz is holding up pretty well.

What?s behind Philip?s and Gloria?s still-youthful appearance? Non-invasive radiofrequency procedures for skin tightening and redraping.

This procedure is recommended for:

* Extremely busy people between 35 and 60 years old who are bothered by sagging jawline, deep laugh lines and marionette lines and puffy faces despite weight loss, moderate double chin, jowls, little rolls of fat around the girth, or mini flaps under the arms, but don?t have the time for post-surgery downtime;

* Those who fear surgery;

* Those feeling skin laxity but aren?t ready yet for the scalpel.

* Post-surgery enhancement such as improving loose skin tone after liposuction or child birth, or enhancing the facelift.

Radiofrequency (RF) or highly regulated heat source is one of the most popular ?lunchtime procedures? (so called because a lunch is all it takes to have the procedure done) today.

Going skin deep

The skin has two layers?the outer layer (epidermis) and the underlying layer (dermis). The main foundation of the dermis is a protein called collagen, which holds up the skin. Over time, the body produces less collagen, resulting in wrinkling and skin slackening.

?Collagen turnover is not fast when we were younger. It takes 28 days. It becomes 45 days when we get older. We want to stimulate and wake up the cells again. This is where radiofrequency comes in. It blasts your cells to produce more collagen,? explains Eloisa Buse, managing physician of Belo Medical Group.

Since the ?70s, radiofrequency energy has been used in medical procedures requiring tissue heating; it?s proven to be safe and effective. Radiofrequency current in the tissue is produced when charged particles move through a closed circuit. Passing through the skin layers, it heats up each level.

Angela Cumagun, who heads the dermatology and laser departments of the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and Beverly Hills 6750 Multi-Aesthetic Institute and who also holds clinic at Asian Hospital, Cardinal Santos and St. Luke?s, explains, ?Radiofrequency has been used for electro coagulation to get rid of tissues, to stop bleeding or homeostasis and cautery. Now radiofrequency is used for cosmetic purposes.?

In this technology, heat is transmitted into the skin?s deep and shallow layers without harming the outer skin or causing burns.

Deep heating

When patients consult Dr. Cumagun sometimes they don?t even know what they want. ?I ask them what is their concern? If they want tightening, there is Refirme. For deeper tightening and contouring, you can have Thermage. It has volumetric heating?you heat down all the way to the dermis so the collagen contracts so there is tightening. You will see gradual improvements in the jowl lines, the nasolabial folds and even the skin texture. If you can?t afford Thermage, Refirme will give the same results after several sessions but will not last long.?

Thermage for Skin Tightening uses a patented RF technology to create an accurately managed section of heating in the dermis and the bottom tissue. A probe discharges heat on the lower layers of the skin, meanwhile the top layer of the skin is protected by a cooling device.

Heating the collagen to intense temperatures starts an organic response that elicits its contraction and thickening. This process, called denaturation, immediately delivers a clearer and more taut skin. As part of the body?s natural wound-healing defense after the deep heating, new collagen builds up so that the desired results become visible several months after the treatment.

At the Belo clinics, patients must undergo the standard pre-surgery tests and are put under sedation.

Cumagun says Thermage heats up the skin up to 60 degrees. ?You don?t put patients to sleep because you need to get their feedback if they can bear the heat or not. Some people find the procedure painful. Each person has a different level of tolerance.

?After the procedure, you can put on make-up. Some say Thermage is a non-surgical lift. That is a wrong connotation. You will not get fast results unlike a facelift. You can see immediate tightening. But if you want the real effects, you will see it after six months when there has been collagen remodeling. Thermage is great because even if you feel deep heat, it has its own cooling system. Some people find the procedure painful.?

Buse observes that the most noticeable result is that the skin appears ?full?. ?Previously, the skin was thin. Months after the treatment the skin is thicker.? When the cheeks get a lift, her patients feel conscious about their cherubic look. ?Actually they were used to seeing sagging cheeks,? she says.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the application of Thermage on other parts of the body. There are different tips for body, the eyes, the skin tightening and contouring for the face with various heating profiles.

Buse observes that the arms, thighs and abdomen become taut. Even the breasts and the butt get a lift. ?There is visible improvement for as long as the skin is not redundant,? she notes.

Rejuvenation

Eyebags and hooding are reduced. ?We have been using it with patients with creepy eyelids or thin skin. Thermage will tighten the eye area. After the procedure, patients will see an eyefold. They have wider eyes and look refreshed,? says Cumagun. Thermage can make lips look pouty as it reduces fine lines. Veiny, mottled hands look smoother.

There are other RF skin-tightening procedures, their heating capacity not as intense but requires several sessions nonetheless to yield the effect of one Thermage procedure such as Refirme ST, Accent, Tenor, Tripollar.

Refirme uses a patented Elos technology which combines radiofrequency and light to separate the specific area and leave the surrounding area free from possible side effects. The synergy of energies working at various degrees can reduce wrinkles or loose skin at the surface. Meanwhile it also goes deeper to stimulate collagen growth by increasing the blood flow in the targeted area.

Offered at the Belo Clinic, Firm Plus is the next generation of Refirme. Buse says the turnover of these technologies is as rapid as digital gadgets and computers.

The advancement in technology comes with a price. In many establishments, Refirme for the face is P5,000 a session. Firm Plus fetches P14,560.

Body contouring

Some machines popularly used for body contouring may also be applied for facial rejuvenation. Accent is commonly used for firming up the arms, abdomen, thighs and buttocks.

The Accent and Tenor combine shallow and intense heating by utilizing two types of RF technology?unipolar and bipolar frequencies that produce contouring.

Bipolar frequency concentrates on the top layer of the skin and the current passes through a smaller volume of tissue. This makes it ideal for more delicate areas and helps smoothen wrinkles.

Unipolar frequency penetrates deeper heating to stimulate collagen production to provide overall firming.

Tenor breaks up fatty tissues and removes fat deposits.

The third-generation of RF has the patented name of TriPollar frequency. It uses several electrodes to bring more focused RF into the skin tissue.

The Tripollar RF technology aims the energy at the targeted fat tissues and veers away from burning the other areas. Some establishments call it the Tripollar while the Belo Clinic calls it the Multipollar.

Buse says that the heating from Tenor is stronger than the Multipollar treatment. The latter can be done twice a week.

Cumagun points out that Thermage costs P100,000 a treatment, for P40,000 more, one can get a facelift with lasting and dramatic results.



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