When I was in my 20s, I was fairly resolved that there was little I could do to forestall the aging process. Sure, there were the various creams and unguents used by my female relatives (my aunt swore by Ivory soap and Oil of Olay), but it was clear that gravity was eventually going to hit my face like a Mack truck.
Mercifully, my blossoming middle-age is coinciding with advancements in non-surgical skin treatments. My personal favourite is Thermage, which uses radio frequency to tighten, lift and smooth loose or sagging skin. I first tried it 10 years ago, and it hurt like a motherfucker. When I returned for treatment recently, I was surprised by how much more comfortable it was.
According to Dr Sam Hanna of Dermatology on Bloor, the technology has really advanced and Thermage now offers Comfort Pulse Technology. There’s virtually no downtime and clients leave the office with an immediate rejuvenated look, though it can take up to six months to see the end result.
I can attest to the Hanna’s claim, given the much-improved state of my second chin after only one treatment; 18 months later and I’m able to look down without feeling like I have a fleshy innertube around my neck.
Being a redhead, I’m intrigued by their endorsement of IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy for freckles. It also does wonders for age spots, visible vessels and veins, and can reduce fine wrinkles and pores.
One of Dermatology on Bloor’s most popular treatments is Liposonix, a non-invasive way to reduce fatty areas and contour the body. Rather than hoovering the chub out surgically, Liposonix uses ultrasound to destroy fat cells. Hanna tell me it’s great for healthy people who are frustrated with trying to lose that last couple of inches in areas like love handles, arms, muffin-tops and hard-to-exercise areas, like the bra line on your back.
The clinic also offers other standards like laser hair removal, Botox, glycolic peels and acne-scar treatments, but it’s their work in facial fillers that I find the most surprising — and inspiring.
“Facial volume loss is the most common concern as we’re aging,” Hanna says. “Our collagen production slows down, leaving our skin thinner and more prone to sagging. Fillers can replenish volume in the cheeks, improving the look of lines around the nose and mouth for a complete rejuvenated look. Fillers can also be used for resculpting. It is incredible, but we can correct a crooked nose, define a jaw line, give someone more pronounced ‘cheekbones’ or even earlobes!”
That’s great news for the more vain of us (myself included), but it can also be life-changing for HIV/AIDS patients with signs of facial wasting. Dr Daniel Schachter, who is a senior partner at Dermatology on Bloor, never tires of helping these patients regain their self-confidence.
“There’s a loss of tissue with some of the medications for HIV,” he says. “You don’t see as much of it these days, but it really can stigmatize you. Botox and fillers give you an immediate, low-cost improvement in the way somebody looks. It really can make a significant impact on self-esteem and confidence.”