For those of you who has been following me on Twitter for a while, you may remember I got Thermage when I went to Malaysia in July last year, with the second round of my non-surgical nose augmentation.
Thermage is a non-invasive procedure that helps to tighten and contour the skin, by stimulating the natural renewal of collagen. It uses radio-frequency technology to heat up the the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, which smooths the texture immediately, and tighten the skin over a period of time.
At the same time that Thermage heats the deep layers, it also cools the epidermis, keeping the surface of the skin safe during the procedure. As a result, there is no down time.
I decided that Thermage is right for me as I was getting increasingly concerned about the sagging of my cheeks (which was worsening my existing naso-labial lines), and the drooping of the corners of my mouth, but didn’t want to get fillers or botox just as yet. I also liked the idea of giving the natural collagen production a boost, and that Thermage has zero down time.
Due to the cost, it was on my mind when I booked my nose augmentation with the Imperial Medical Centre (IMC), but I didn’t tell them when I made the appointment.
On the Day
After the few questions on my second nose augmentation, I asked the doctor about Thermage and my “sagging” concerns. He told me that Thermage would be ideal for what I wanted to achieve, showed me some brochures on the procedure, and worked out a package deal for me.
He explained that Thermage is basically like putting a piece of raw meat into the microwave. The microwave heats up the meat from within, and after you take it out you’d notice that it has shrunk in size, and hence giving the tightening effect.
Thermage is administered with a special machine, your own “tip” and coupling fluid to conduct the radio-frequency pulses.
After agreeing to the procedure, my face was swabbed down with alcohol and a numbing cream applied. You’d notice a pad dangling on the machine with a cord attached to it. This is to help conduct the radio-frequency currents, and is placed on the lower back.
Usually, grids are placed on the face via a transfer sheet to help guide the placement of the tip. The doctor didn’t do this as he said he’s done Thermage so many times, he know exactly how to manoeuvre it. Instead, he drew lines on the parts of my face where my concerns are, and intensified the pulses there.
The coupling fluid was applied to the right side of my face first, and the doctor began zapping away. The feeling was strange – the dumbing cream had sufficiently removed all sensation from my face, but Thermage actually heats the skin from within. So with each zap I felt the skin going from warm to hot, from way underneath the skin.
There was also a zapping sensation, kinda like being flicked with rubber bands in rapid successions. I can’t lie, it was really unpleasant. And it hurt like a mofo over the delicate or bony areas such as the jawlines and around the eyes! Urghhhhh!!!
The procedure left some redness, which dissipated after half an hour or so. I was told that the full effect would kick in over the next 6 months, and would last for 5 years provided there’s no severe weight fluctuation (+/- 10% of original body weight).
Before and After
The top 2 pics were before the procedure and bottom two immediately after. Some people do see immediate tightening but I didn’t. Though when I returned to Oz after a couple of weeks, a colleague did comment that I looked rather “fresh faced”.
Below are the pics of me now (8 months after procedure), from left and right sides:
I think there’s definite improvements – along the cheekbones the most, and some in my other areas of concern (naso-labial, corners of the mouth). The corners of the eyes are also a bit more lifted, it wasn’t one of my concerns but still a welcomed improvement.
There seems to be more improvement on the right side of my face. I think maybe the doctor was a bit more rushed when doing the left side of my face, and/or did not up the intensity for it as the left side has always been my droopier side. Like I said in my nose augmentation post, I found the IMC to be rather disorganised now, and the doctor with less attention to detail.
And some post procedure notes which the doctor did not tell me about, but I learnt through research: no active skincare (whitening, retinol, AHA) for 1 week, and sunscreen everyday.
So would I do it again? Yes I would, but not at the IMC. I think Thermage would have given a much better result if the doctor administered it more correctly (with the grids) and perhaps even at a higher intensity, as I’ve read of people actually going under general anaesthetic for it. I’m also keen to try Thermage + Fraxel, which will refine the skin and reduce pigmentation, as well as enhance the tightening effects.
To learn more about Thermage, please visit www.thermage.com.
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