When is a facial not a facial? When it really works!

31/10/18 Everyone loves a facial, relaxing and refreshing, they are as much about the time spent escaping from a busy schedule than the results on the skin. Typically they are a cleansing process, some will incorporate a physical exfoliation with a manual scrub, followed by moisturising masks, product layers and massage techniques. The skin usually looks fresher and less lined due to the plumping effect of the moisturisation.

Despite the marketing hype and promises there will be little to no true antiageing effect. If we want to affect significant, more meaningful improvements then we need to reverse the relentless decline of collagen in the deeper parts of the skin. This is why incorporating treatments that actually impact on collagen levels in the dermis are becoming so popular.

Microdermabrasion- still a very popular choice.

Lady with glowing skin

Microdermabrasion has been a popular treatment for many years. The exfoliation process is produced by a flow of crystals (crystal microdermabrasion) or a grit like pad (crystal free microdermabrasion);. A vacuum process draws the tip of the device against the skin and the exfoliation is caused by the striking of the crystals or the buff from the exfoliating pad. Some devices with a larger aperture slightly tent the skin as it is being drawn across the area which causes additional stretching of the dermis and triggering of collagen production. The Dermagenesis medical microdermabrasion is available across hundreds of clinics in the U.K. and Ireland and remains the gold standard in microdermabrasion devices.

Light to moderate strength skin peels

Lady receiving a skin peel

Modern peels such as the Epionce Lite Refresh Peel and the Agera Peels have become very popular as they are formulated to produce a significant effect but at the same time avoiding obvious shedding of skin cells. People can literally have a peel done and return to work the following day with no one being aware they have had the procedure, something that is important with our busy schedules. The peel material, as it penetrates, stimulates an excitation of the basal layer, the line of cells just at the junction between the epidermis and the dermis. This process encourages new cell production to create a wave of fresh cells to replace older epidermal cells.

Combining a gentle microdermabrasion treatment with a light to moderate peel will give even better results. The synergistic use of treatments that are safe to perform together produces better results with fewer risks of side effects than one of the treatments being done harshly.

Microneedling - or collagen induction therapy

Here a fine needle creates multiple small micro injuries in the dermis which in turn triggers the bodies own natural repair process resulting in reabsorption of the damaged tissue and replacement with new cells and collagen. The traditional form of needling with a hand held roller is giving way to more sophisticated forms of the procedure such as devices like the DermaFrac and the Collagen PIN.


Lady receiving DermaFrac treatment

DermaFrac combines several treatment modalities in one procedure. Firstly there is a microdermabrasion component that gently removes some of the damaged ‘roof tiles’ from the surface of the epidermis, preparing the skin for the next treatment. The second step is a handpiece that combines microneedling under vacuum combined with simultaneous infusion of topical solutions containing growth factors. The treatment is finished with several minutes of LED light to calm redness and encourage additional collagen formation.

Major advantages of this form of microneedling are that it is virtually pain free, does not require any anaesthetic and produces very little in the way of downtime. The faint pinkness after a procedure can be easily covered with makeup and settles quickly. The DermaFrac has become a very popular repeat treatment as it produces a very positive effect on skin smoothness and plumping with no disruption to the person’s routine.

Collagen PIN

Automated microneedling devices such as the Collagen PIN have largely replaced the use of hand held rollers. The treatment tip contains an array of 36 needles powered by a motor that oscillates very rapidly and creates thousands of controlled micro injuries in the dermis. This device is a significant advance on hand rollers; the treatment is much more comfortable than rollers as the needles penetrate vertically rather than exiting at an angle creating a dragging effect. The Collagen PIN is also more effective at inducing collagen as it creates up to forty times as many microinjuries per square area than a roller device. This is important because the greater the density of microinjuries the larger is the collagen response.