Science of the Spa
Huge strides have been made in our ability to treat and aesthetically enhance both the female and male face but solutions for common complaints in the neck area have been lagging behind. It is about time that we can offer effective, non-surgical options for the neck with minimal to no down-time. Two of the most common problems that contribute to an unsightly neck area are submental fat (double chin fat), and crepey skin on the neck. We now have new and innovative ways to address these two common concerns effectively and non-invasively.
Treating Submental (Under Chin) Fat Permanently With SculpSure Laser
Recently (in the past few years), a great amount of emphasis has been placed on reducing submental fat. About 70 per cent of people are bothered by fat beneath their chin so these treatments are in high demand.
SculpSure Submental Laser Treatment, launched in Canada in May 2018, is a non-invasive, light-based technology that permanently reduces fat in problem areas on the body. SculpSure’s breakthrough technology is patented and is Health Canada and FDA-approved to permanently eliminate fat under the skin.
This laser safely and precisely raises the temperature of the fat under the skin to disrupt and permanently destroy fat cells. The body then naturally eliminates the disrupted fat cells over time without surgery and without downtime. Patients can get right back to their normal routine immediately following the treatment. Each treatment is only 25 minutes and usually two treatments are recommended six weeks apart. Best results are seen six to 12 weeks following the final treatment. It is simple, efficient and effective.
Treating Submental Fat Permanently With Other Non-Surgical Modalities
Prior to SculpSure Submental laser treatments, there were other modalities available to treat submental fat permanently. Technologies that employed “cold freezing” of the fat also resulted in permanent lipolysis (fat cell destruction) of the fat under the chin. However, side effects that were very bothersome often resulted. Bruising and discomfort were common as there was suction applied to try to localize the fat and the isolated fat was “frozen” for approximately one hour. Injectable treatments for submental fat reduction, such as deoxycholic acid, can be injected with multiple small needles directly into the subcutaneous double chin fat. Results are very effective but the main drawback to this treatment is the significant amount of swelling which occurs after each treatment. Bruising also frequently occurs. As a result of the visible side effects, patients often require downtime of three to five days to hide the significant swelling and bruising that can occur. There may also be temporary numbness under the chin which can be bothersome to men who shave.
Great advances have been made in the permanent, non-surgical reduction of submental fat. All treatments discussed are very effective but vary in their side effect profile and in the amount of downtime required.
Treating Crepey Skin Under The Neck
Crepey skin, which is wrinkly and textured, is a common complaint and is worsened with significant sun damage. General means of addressing sun damaged and aging skin can be helpful on the neck. Treatments for crepey skin include: topical serums and creams, chemical peels, exfoliating treatments, IPL, and non-ablative laser resurfacing. However, results have not been extremely impressive as standalone treatments.
Within the past year however, effective injectable treatments have been approved in Canada which can significantly improve crepey skin on the neck. Specific compositions of hyaluronic acid can now be injected in very small, controlled deposits as superficially as possible. Compared to typical dermal fillers, these injections are able to be closer to the surface of the skin where visually they improve the texture of the skin. Impressive results can be seen by injecting small aliquots of these special types of hyaluronic acid. The skin on the neck becomes smoother, more radiant, and more elastic.
Other trends such as micro-needling are successful at treating crepey skin on the neck and are certainly making a comeback in the past year or two. Results have improved also with the advent of additional topical treatments that can be combined with micro-needling. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are excellent adjuncts. PRP has been coined the “vampire facelift” in the media. In PRP treatments, the patient’s own blood is taken as in standard phlebotomy technique, centrifuged immediately in-office, and the red and white blood cells are separated and discarded leaving behind a clear, straw-coloured solution. The remaining isolated platelets and plasma in this straw-coloured solution are then topically applied while the tiny holes and channels in the skin created by the micro-needling device are still open. PRP is utilized for its beneficial properties to the deeper dermal layer, namely its ability to stimulate collagen, hyaluronic acid, and growth factors all at once to achieve softer, smoother, less crepey skin.
Advances in treatments in the neck region have certainly seen an emergence in the recent years. By reducing double chin fat permanently and by improving the crepey skin on the neck, we can now satisfy patients who have two of the most common complaints in the neck region. These satisfied patients typically then go on to fully embrace the many other benefits of cosmetic medicine.