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Here’s the great thing about cosmetic treatments that you might not be aware of - you don’t have to commit to one and eschew all others. In fact, if you’re smart about it, it is possible to combine multiple aesthetic approaches and design them together to your best advantage.
“I rarely rely on one type of treatment to improve skin health, as there are multiple factors to address," says Dr AJ Sturnham, a GP specialising in Dermatology and founder of London-based Nuriss Skin Clinic. "In the clinic, I typically combine treatments that reverse damage and slow senescence (cellular ageing) with some of the ‘quicker fix’ injectables, such as muscle relaxants and filler. This can really help improve skin confidence.“ In years gone by, we might have slipped more readily under the knife. But now there's a real trend towards treatments that stimulate your own body to optimise and heal itself.
Some of the most popular dermatologist treatments rely on controlled, purposeful damage that trigger skin’s innate healing process, including laser resurfacing, microneedling and radiofrequency. A less harmful alternative is The LYMA Laser, using technology that means not only can you use it at home yourself, but also, as a cold laser, does not inflict any thermal injury at all. Instead it rejuvenates skin cells, switching ageing cells back into their youthful phase. And if you are freezing your facial muscles with relaxant injections, it might be just the bit of maintenance your skin requires.
While injectables and fillers work very effectively in the short term, they do not plan for your long term skin health. “I often combine a combination of mesotherapy, lasers, radiofrequency and peels into my treatment protocols. At the initial consultation, I assess my client’s skin carefully, performing a skin scan to see into the hidden skin layers too,” explains Dr Sturnham. “I then design a personalised treatment schedule which often consists of treatments to boost new collagen formation, to reduce congestion, pigmentation and inflammation, alongside some injectable work to provide more instant gratification, whilst we wait for the long-term stuff to kick in.”
Much like our skincare - where we might tinker with different actives for brightening, tightening, pigmentation or blemishes - combining cosmetic procedures treats different concerns and helps to look after your face in the long term.
Dr Fiona McCarthy, NHS consultant oncologist and medical aesthetic doctor at The Bronte Clinic, warns no multimodality treatment plan is worth embarking on unless you’re committed to getting your skincare game in order first. “These are all expensive treatments and you want to see optimal results. You will get an effect from injected muscle relaxants alone but, if you’re not also going to improve your skin health, it seems like money down the drain," she says. Using filler is not an excuse for not looking after your face. "As you get older, you don’t want to be so reliant on injectables and various skin procedures," continues Dr McCarthy. "Ideally you want to have a glowing canvas of skin whereby every injectable will look better because you’re working from a baseline of great skin health. Evidence-based skincare is where you begin.”
Dr McCarthy advocates a high quality daily SPF like Heliocare 360 Gel, alongside potent vitamin C and vitamin A (Retinol) actives by Obagi and SkinCeuticals. “These are proven actives that support natural collagen stimulation. All of these clinical rejuvenation treatments aim to trigger collagen induction, so it's highly synergistic.”
Muscle relaxant injectables work by blocking the nerve’s ability to send chemical messages to muscles that order them to expand or contract. By paralysing muscular movement, it immediately lessens the appearance of dynamic lines. Meanwhile, surface rejuvenation techniques work on the superficial layers of the epidermis and the dermis, treating static lines. “Dynamic lines are lines that disappear when you stop making that expression. Static lines are ones that have been dynamic for many years but have matured over time to stay in situ, even at rest. Most commonly you'll see them on the forehead even when you don't wrinkle your brow or raise your eyebrows, or like crow’s feet, they’re still there at rest,” says Dr McCarthy.
Some people find it hard to hop off the muscle relaxant wagon because, once in the routine of revolving appointments, quitting can feel like an almighty drop on all accounts. This is where laser treatment can work to lessen the drop off. “When a patient stops receiving injections, their muscles will eventually start working as they did before having the treatment. Your wrinkles don’t get worse, but you do go back to your baseline. Having treatments such as rejuvenating lasers in-between your injectables appointments is a great way to ensure that your skin is in a better condition if, and when, you stop,” advises Dr Sturnham.
Alternatively, you can harness the power of these differing approaches to maximise results. “Using treatments such as laser and radiofrequency alongside injectables is a great way to ensure that you are future-proofing your skin, by reducing skin damage and boosting cell remodelling. I find that having a strategy to improve skin health at the same time as doing injectable work ensures that the skin quality is optimised, allowing me to achieve a more ‘natural’ look. It simply makes sense to have a dual approach to keeping your skin looking at its best for longer.”
“Treatments such as laser and radiofrequency work to slow down skin ageing and improve the physical condition of skin, whereas muscle relaxant injectables simply makes the skin look smoother. But switching off muscle contraction doesn't do anything to improve the condition of the skin,” clarifies Dr Sturnham.
You might favour the precision puncture of injections for that pesky frown line that needs to be gone by Saturday, but continued laser work gives an overall more glowing appearance. Effective? Yes, but these treatments take both considerable time and investment, not to mention a hefty ouch factor - and recovery time - with treatments that require injury. Hence why the smartest of skin tactics is to combine the two complimentary approaches.
“I very much prefer to go slowly and safe, starting with one modality, see how you like that and maybe move on to the next. But incredibly slowly,” explains McCarthy. She would leave at least three weeks to a month after injections before any other invasive procedures. “These are not comfortable treatments: fillers are not pain free, microneedling is uncomfortable, particularly when combined with radiofrequency. You just want to do things in a very methodical fashion to get the best results.”
If you prefer to get going straight away, LYMA’s advanced engineered Laser offers the perfect synergy for skin. Proven to effectively treat hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, the Laser also remains completely cold so as to cause zero thermal damage to skin.
This Laser is entirely safe to use alongside whatever else you might have going on. Rather than wounding the skin through heat or incision, the focused 500mw laser beam of the LYMA Laser triggers a bio-chemical reaction capable of transferring enough energy to cells that they start to function better, repairing and rejuvenating themselves, therefore reversing the skin ageing process. Plus, as an at home device, it can be used daily from the horizontal state of your sofa: no logistics, no downtime, no pain. If you are freezing the muscles that operate the skin cells, it's a wise investment to stimulate them by other means. This is the latest laser technology fully capable of improving overall skin health and achieving that aforementioned great canvas, fully compatible with fillers and injectables. Or, alternatively, it does very well on its own.