Face off: the non-surgical face lifts that promise tip-top results

Joanna Taylor
·5-min read
 (UNSPLASH)
(UNSPLASH)

If you’ve found yourself scrutinising your reflection during video meetings and considering a nip, tuck or lift, you’re not alone.

Recent statistics by Google show a 160 per cent rise in searches for the ‘mini face lift’, and the the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has reported a 70 per cent increase in requests for virtual consultations during the pandemic, which they’re aptly calling the ‘zoom boom’.

Invasive, expensive and somewhat dangerous, going under the knife for a face lift is a big commitment. Plus, according to some of the capital’s best doctors, the procedure may be becoming obsolete thanks to the vast offering of high-tech treatments and tweakments that don’t require general anaesthetic or a night in a hospital bed.

Curious? Here are the very best non-surgical alternatives the industry has to offer, many of which can be mixed and matched.

Treatment: Thermage FLX

Best for: Those afraid of needles

Cost: From £2000; ionkavounilondon.com

What it does: A small device uses radiofrequency to heat the collagen rich layers of the skin, separating water molecules from fibrous collagen, resulting in instant skin tightening. Over the following months the process also triggers a healing process in the skin, which improves collagen deposits. According to Dr. Angelica Kavouni, “Thermage FLX offers a great treatment option for patients as it aims to tighten the lower face and neck, as well as tone and improve skin elasticity in the long term. We only require one treatment rather than a course and results can last for years.”

Downtime: Up to one day of redness

When you’ll see results: Instantly, but with continued improvements up to six months post-treatment

Thermage FLX in processTHERMAGE FLX
Thermage FLX in processTHERMAGE FLX

Treatment: Profound Radiofrequency

Best for: An all over lift and glow

Cost: £2800; cosmeticskinclinic.com

What it does: Much like the Thermage FLX, this treatment option uses radiofrequency to tighten and promote collagen production. However, once numbing creams are applied, this treatment also uses a device containing tiny needles to puncture the skin, promoting further cell regeneration. According to Dr. Sophie Shotter of the Cosmetic Skin Clinic, “This delivers energy deep into the skin, stimulating collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production. We also use it to target and melt the fat pad under the chin to give a more refined contour to the jawline. This will not only lift the face, but will also address fine lines and wrinkles and textural concerns.”

Downtime: Five to seven days of redness, swelling and potential bruising.

When you’ll see results: Over time, with maximum results seen six months post-treatment

Try it with: Dermal filler or Profhilo

Dr. Sophie Shotter during a Profound treatmentDr. Sophie Shotter
Dr. Sophie Shotter during a Profound treatmentDr. Sophie Shotter

Treatment: Dermal filler injections

Best for: Reviving a sallow face

Cost: From £450, priced per syringe; drdavidjackclinic.com

What it does: Developed to target different layers of the skin, Dr. David Jack’s unique dermal filler treatment is bespoke to each patient. Consisting of either Juvederm or Teosyal fillers, made from synthetic hyaluronic acid that is naturally produced by the human body, these injections are inserted into targeted areas of the face, commonly the temples, jawline and cheek area. Dr. Jack says he begins the treatment schedule with a micro droplet filler technique, “where I place an individualised pattern of volumising deep filler on the key points of the facial bones where volume is lost. I then use a filler designed to lift tissues in a more superficial plane to complement this. As I always underfill, the overall look should be a rejuvenation without puffiness, that way we have the option of adding more at a later stage and you should look rested and well.” Results last six to twelve months.

Downtime: 30 minutes, with a small risk of slight bruising

When you’ll see results: Instantly

Try it with: Profound or Profilo

Dr. David Jack administering dermal fillerDoctor David Jack
Dr. David Jack administering dermal fillerDoctor David Jack

Treatment: Profhilo

Best for: Plumping and an overall glow

Cost: From £600; getharley.com

What it does: Sometimes known as the ‘injectable moisturiser’, the Profhilo procedure consists of two sessions of many small injections of hyper-pure synthetic hyaluronic acid, a substance produced naturally by the body. Unlike ‘fillers’, these micro injections are aimed at creating a hydrated, plumped look rather than restructuring the shape of the face. “This is a beautiful skin health treatment that stimulates the production of four different types of collagen. It creates hydrated, glowing skin as well as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and reducing inflammation.” says Dr. Amiee Vyas.

Downtime: Up to two days of slight swelling and mosquito-like bumps where injected

When you’ll see results: When any swelling decreases

Try it with: “Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers which are specifically formulated to move with your facial tissues, complimenting natural expression while also brightening the face.” Says Dr. Vyas.

Treatment: Ultherapy

Best for: Toning and tightening

Cost: £2000; quinnclinics.co.uk

What it does: With not much more than a slight heat sensation, ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound waves to stimulate natural cell repair. “The focused ultrasound waves can target the structural layers of skin to boost the production of collagen within the skin, resulting in a toning, tightening and lifting effect which rejuvenates the facial features.” says Dr John Quinn.

Downtime: Less than one day

When you’ll see results: two to three months post-treatment, with further improvements up to six months post-treatment.

Ultherapy in processGraham Snook/Graham Snook Photography
Ultherapy in processGraham Snook/Graham Snook Photography

Treatment: APTOS Lift

Best for: Sagging skin and jowls

Cost: From £1650; banwellclinic.com

What it does: The closest to an actual face lift, the APTOS lift is designed to physically lift the skin from the inside. Dr. Paul Banwell says, “A jowl thread lift is a treatment that involves having local anaesthetic applied topically onto the skin and then a cannula inserted under the skin through which a biodegradable thread is inserted. Normally a few threads are used on each side. Once they have been inserted into the jawline area they are then pulled up to lift the jowl of the face and remove sagging.” Results last around two years, after which the threads disintegrate.

Downtime: One to two weeks of discomfort

When you’ll see results: Instantly

The APTOS threads designed to lift the faceAPTOS
The APTOS threads designed to lift the faceAPTOS