In August we put a call out for a non-surgical makeover model between the ages of 35 and 55 who would like a range of non-surgical procedures done. After receiving hundreds of applications we had the almost impossible task of choosing just one model.
We met with Anthea and did a full consultation to come up with a bespoke treatment plan. We looked at what her main concerns were, loss of elasticity and sagging, and came up with a multi-modality treatment plan.
It was decided that the treatment plan should include; Ultraformer, Silhouette Soft Threads, Dermal Filler, DOT Therapy and Skin Boosters. Anthea had some Wrinkle Relaxer recently so did not need any further wrinkle relaxer treatment.
Anthea’s before and after treatment is below. She has written a diary of her treatments and recovery below. The before and after images are 7 weeks apart. The results from the Ultraformer, DOT Therapy and Soft Threads will continue to improve.
Treatment 1 – Ultraformer
Day of Treatment
I’ve had ultrasound before but never on my face so this was a first for me. I was a little nervous walking in to the clinic, but Debbie and Monique made sure I was welcomed and comfortable. After reading through the form outlining the procedure and signing the consent, Monique took me through to the treatment room and answered the few questions I had. A couple of ‘before’ photos were taken and we got started.
My face was cleansed and Monique used a white pen to mark up the treatment grid on my face and neck before Dr Murray made a guest appearance to provide consent for me to use the gas being offered; and to be honest, during the treatment I was glad I took up the offer!
The Ultraformer uses three different levels of ultrasound, and each level delivers a slightly different sensation as various areas of the skin are targeted. The probe makes a clicking noise when activated and is moved firmly in segments across your neck and face.
Now, let me be honest here, the pulses don’t tickle and it’s not pain free, but with the help of Monique’s conversation to distract me, inhaling a little gas here and there (okay, in some parts, a little more than a little!), and having a stress ball to squeeze, the treatment is uncomfortable, but tolerable.
I’m not sure I can find the right words to describe the sensation felt but each pulse on your face feels a little like a cross between an electric shock and a rubber band being snapped against your skin. Depending upon where the probe is placed, and the level of ultrasound being used, some pulses are barely felt, while others deliver seriously sharp stings. The upside is that the stinging only lasts a few seconds and by the time you’ve registered it, the area being targeted is almost done. For me, a couple of areas treated were particularly sensitive, but the pain didn’t last too long and the sensation faded after a few moments. There was also a heat sensation associated with the pulses, and whilst this wasn’t particularly uncomfortable, I could certainly feel my face warming up.
The whole process of treating my face and neck took approximately 90 minutes and at the end of it, I felt like I’d spent a few hours at the beach. My face felt warm, like I had a mild sunburn, and felt slightly tight, like I’d been swimming in the ocean and the salt had dried on my face. The hydrating serum Monique massaged in after removing the gel provided some cooling relief and the sunscreen she then applied ensured I was protected once I left the clinic.
Looking in the mirror after treatment I saw a slight redness in my face but certainly nothing dramatic enough to warrant searching for concealers or makeup to cover it up. Surprisingly, what I did notice was a very subtle tightening of my skin, and whilst I don’t think the immediate result would be blatantly obvious to anyone else, it was more than enough for me to forgive the little stings!
Ten hours on from treatment the redness has totally dissipated, and although I feel a little tender and maybe even slightly swollen around my jawline, my face and neck feel fine and I’m really excited to see the results of the treatment over the next couple of months.
1 day post Ultraformer
My face feels a little tight, tender and bruised, especially around the jaw and cheekbones. I have a small bruise that looks like it’s coming up just below my left cheekbone, but nothing that can’t be covered with a little concealer and makeup. I was out all day and keen to see if anyone noticed, but there were no comments made which told me two things; 1. You really can get out and about without any concerns after this procedure, and 2. There is no downtime. Looking closely at my skin tonight, I can’t see a huge difference, but I feel like it is a little smoother and it feels brighter somehow. All in all, 2 thumbs up and one happy girl.
2 days post Ultraformer
I can’t really see or describe any further difference from yesterday. I do however feel good about my skin and face and am excited to see the changes that I know will start to become more obvious over the next weeks and months.
I was back at work today and no one has said anything to me, which is what I expected given the Ultraformer treatment works ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak, from the inside out.
Day 3 also marks the day of the second treatment, Soft Silloutette Threads and Elance filler. These are the treatments that I am the most excited about! I’ve often looked in the mirror with my fingers holding or pulling my face back (come on, you know you’ve done it too!), and wondered what if…..?
Well, today is my what if 😄
Treatments 2 and 3 – Long Lasting Dermal Filler and Soft Silhouette Threads
We started these treatments with ‘before’ photos and Dr Syed going over the procedures throughly with me to ensure I understood fully what would happen and to answer any further questions I had. I was also fortunate enough to have the lovely Tanya and Barry, the product manufacturers with Dr Syed for the procedures and I knew I couldn’t possibly be in better hands.
Paperwork was completed and we were ready to start.
In the chair, Dr Syed started to mark up my face with the entry and exit points for the threads. I think the preparation for the procedures took longer than the procedures themselves, and I for one was more than happy with that! With all the lines and marks being drawn on my face I can only imagine how I looked; probably a little like a noughts and crosses board with Dr Syed using a sharpie and Barry using a white pen 😂
The first treatment was the Long Lasting Dermal Filler. While the needle looked a little scary, it was extremely fine and only pinched a little going in. Never having had fillers before I didn’t know what to expect but it was easier than I imagined. The sound the product makes however is strange; it sort of crunches as it’s injected, and it feels a little odd, but it’s not uncomfortable or painful. The filler was injected into my temples, cheeks and the area between my nose and mouth and that’s where I felt the most uncomfortable. It was over very quickly though and the sharpness soon resolved. I had a slight headache, and some minor throbbing where injected, but other than that, I felt fine.
So, that was the pre-show entertainment and we were now ready for the main performance…the threads.
Dr Syed and Barry prepared the local anaesthetic and threads and then covered me from feet to head in a sterile drape. My skin was cleansed and Dr Syed injected local anaesthetic into key positions on my face, temple and neck. I have to say, that’s probably what hurt the most of both treatments but I was grateful for the numbness!
Little ‘punch’ marks were made to the entry and exit points on both sides of my face and neck and the first thread was inserted. Now, I watched YouTube videos of this procedure beforehand to get an idea of what to expect, but the sensation is something you can’t really prepare for. It didn’t really hurt, and it wasn’t overly uncomfortable, but the pulling and tugging under the skin felt really odd. There was a little sharpness when Dr Syed pressed the cones of the threads into place, and the crunching feel and sound that comes with it really is quite bizarre. It didn’t really hurt, but it was unpleasant. Thankfully, the gorgeous Vanja who was taking photos and videos, kept smiling and winking at me, and Tanya was tapping my foot to distract me. I loved having these ladies here with me!
The tugging, pulling, smiling, and tapping was repeated for each thread and in a short period of time Dr Syed was telling me we were done. At this stage I have to admit I was thankful for that as the anaesthetic was starting to wear off and I was starting to get a little tired and tender.
My face was cleansed again, antibiotic cream was applied to the various entry and exit points and the sterile drape was removed.
I sat up and it was at that point that I got a little scared. I had no idea of how I would look. I could feel my face was a little swollen, which was to be expected, but I fleetingly wondered if I still look like me.
Vanja helped me up and led me away for immediate ‘after’ photos. She asked if I’d seen myself as yet and when I responded that I hadn’t, she turned me towards the mirror in reception. I think those few seconds it took me to turn were some of the longest in my life but I needn’t have been worried. I could see I was swollen in places but that wasn’t what initially caught my attention. When I looked in the mirror for the first time, I saw the face I recognised from years ago, and writing this I find I’m getting quite emotional. I only stood there for just a moment but the woman staring back at me was no longer gaunt and drawn around the mouth and cheeks. Yes, this woman was swollen, and maybe even a little bruised, but she looked refreshed and extremely well rested, for want of another word. I honestly felt like 10-15 years had been wiped away and it took all I had to not burst into tears.
Photos were taken and then it was back to Dr Syed for final after care instructions before I drove myself home.
Immediately After Threads and Filler – very swollen
Once at home I took the neurofen recommended, and used ice packs to help with swelling. My face felt very full and was quite tender so the ice really helped. Sleep was going to be my challenge for the night because as a tummy sleeper, sleeping on my back just feels wrong! I knew however, for the sake of my face, I’d have to make back sleeping my friend for the next couple of weeks! I collected pillows from around the house and built myself a little pillow fort to support my head and neck, and also to stop me from rolling over during the night. It was a little difficult to get to sleep, and I woke a few times during the night, but my fort worked and I didn’t roll over.
1 day post Long Lasting Dermal Filler and Soft Silhouette Threads
This morning my face looks and feels more swollen, and to me, appears to be a little lumpy, not surprising really, given the amount of work done last night. It’s just as well I’ve taken some time off work because I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the house today. I have some minor bruising but after a gentle wash, it actually looks a little better than when I first woke up. I am still tender, and touch my face very gingerly, but some panadol has taken the edge off and I’m feeling okay. My plan for today is to use some more ice as I need it and to find something on Netflix to binge on!
Later today I’ve almost binged the entire season 4 of ‘How to get away with murder’ on Netflix and I’m still quite swollen, tender and lumpy. I look a bit like I did when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. I know that’s to be expected but I’m hoping this settles sooner rather than later. I am tired and am hoping for a good night sleep.
2 days post Long Lasting Dermal Filler and Soft Silhouette Threads
Well, so much for sleep. It’s 4.30 am and I’m sitting with a cup of milky hot chocolate after being awake since 3! I’m not sure if the heavy rain woke me, or if it was my pillow fort stopping me from rolling over but either way, after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to get back to sleep, I’ve given up. I have however decided that not being able to sleep on my tummy sucks!
So I’ve had a brief look this morning and the swelling seems to be slowly coming down. I have a little more movement with my mouth and I don’t feel, or look, as puffy as yesterday. My face is also less tender. There are still a couple of points that are sore if touched, but for now, a little more ice should settle that down.
Tonight I am still swollen and have some bruising coming out down my neck. I have to remind myself I’ve had a lot done and the swelling is to be expected but I really will be pleased when it goes down.
Tomorrow is my DOT therapy appointment with Dr Syed and I’m a little nervous about this one. I’ve never had any laser treatments before and while I’m excited about potential results, I’m not sure how challenging my recovery will be. I’m hoping for a reasonable night’s sleep before another big day.
Treatment 4 – DOT Therapy and 3 Days post Long Lasting Dermal Filler and Soft Silhouette Threads
I still feel very swollen this morning, but at least have managed to get some more sleep in my pillow fort! I don’t recall waking during the night so feel a little more refreshed than the previous couple of days, which is just as well for today is another big one.
Today is DOT therapy with Dr Syed and I’m a little anxious. My face is still tender in places and I’m hoping it’s not going to hurt too much. I’m also a little worried about the recovery if I’m honest but I’ve done my research and have a fairly good understanding of what to expect. Time to make my coffee to go, fight the freeway traffic, and head off to the Nedlands clinic for my morning appointment.
I’m a couple of minutes late due to traffic but the girls greet me warmly and whisk me away for some numbing cream before Dr Syed arrives. A thick layer is spread all over my face and left to do its job…trust me when I say I’m very thankful for this later on!
I have my regular ‘before’ photos with Vanja and we are ready to go. Dr Syed comes in to the treatment room and puts me at ease with a chat about Monday night’s treatments. He explains today’s procedure will be a little uncomfortable, especially around the mouth as he plans to treat the lines there a little more aggressively. Goggles are placed over my eyes and Dr Syed hands me what will become my best friend over the next 30 minutes, the gas! He tells me to inhale deeply, and explains we will start on the most painful area first.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but that first shock wasn’t it! It felt like a burning rubber band had snapped my skin for a moment and I won’t lie, it did hurt, quite painfully so in some areas. The areas that weren’t so painful were still unpleasant and felt a little like the pinch and pull sensation you get with threading times 3 or 4.
I have to admit I was hanging on to that gas mouth piece and inhaling like it was my lifeline, just like a deep sea diver uses their oxygen tank when underwater! I’m sure I looked a right sight sucking away at the gas, but it worked for me for there were moments when I very thankfully just floated away.
The procedure itself took around 25-30 minutes and once finished, the immediate sensation was tightness, followed by extreme heat. Once again I felt I’d been at the beach all day, but this time without the sunscreen and boy did I know I was going to pay for it later! I had a small amount of spot bleeding but that stopped very quickly and the girls got some ice for me to cool my face down. A few ‘after’ photos were taken and it was time me for to drive home.
Immediately After DOT
With the aircon blasting on my face to cool it down, and the seat warmer on to actually keep the rest of me warm (crazy, I know), all I wanted to do was get home, put my pjs on, take some nurofen, and find those trusty ice packs of mine to hold against my face.
Mission accomplished and it’s now six hours post treatment. I only used the ice for about 30 minutes and found that, combined with the nurofen, post treatment cream, and a few episodes of Ghost and Tommy in Power on Stan, was enough to settle it all down. My skin still feels super tight, in fact I can barely open my mouth wide enough to drink my coffee or water, but it’s not burning like it was earlier and the tightness is easier to endure. Whilst I’m not so keen to see what I look like over the next couple of days, I am very excited to see the result when it all settles.
Dr Syed asked me which treatment so far was the most unpleasant and I have to say it was the DOT therapy. The sensation really is uncomfortable and unpleasant but I know the long term results will be worth the 30 minutes this morning. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…
1 day post DOT Therapy
Waking up this morning I was a little apprehensive to look in the mirror. I could tell without looking that my face was quite swollen and it felt really tight. I wasn’t sure what to expect but taking a deep breath I turned the light on and looked in the mirror. My face was certainly red, and I had a few small scabs from some bleeding spots but it wasn’t any worse than the images I’d researched beforehand.
During the day I’ve found my skin feels itchy and dry but I’ve been applying the cream and that has helped. I don’t have any pain and I certainly don’t have the sunburn sensation I was expecting which I’m very happy about.
I’m hoping tomorrow sees some of this swelling come down and I’m interested to see if these little dots come up the surface or whether my skins just peels. Time will tell…
2 days post DOT Therapy
I’m really itchy this morning and feel super dry. I feel like I’m applying the cream every hour.
I don’t have any pain, which is great, but I feel like I put a face mask on and let it dry then forgot to wash it off. The itchiness is what’s driving my crazy so I think I’ll take an antihistamine and see if that helps. I’m certainly not comfortable seeing anyone so I’m going to see what movies may have my name on them and make myself comfortable for the rest of the day 😊
3 days post DOT Therapy
Okay, I think last night may have been my worst. I struggled to get comfortable sleeping on my back and the itchiness woke me around 3am. I got up at 3.30am and took an antihistamine and headed to the freezer for my ice packs. Both helped settle the itching enough for me to get back to sleep for a while.
Washing my face this morning was bliss. My skin feel so tight and the water on the gauze against my face is so soothing, I could wash it all day! Lots of cream applied and today’s pics were taken.
I notice a few things and the first is that my face is not as red today, although it is very obviously a different colour. I also notice the bruising on my face from the threads is coming out across my cheek and down my neck but is not as bad as I was expecting. Thankfully, I have another week off work and I would not be at all comfortable outside of my home.
The texture of my skin feels rough, like sandpaper in places, but I can also see teeny tiny shiny spots poking through which gives me confidence the dry skin will soon start to peel away.
I’m feeling a little tired and grumpy within myself but think that may be because it’s such a gorgeous day outside and I’m stuck in here. I know the results will be worth the downtime and just have to remind myself that I only had the laser three days ago. I think I’ll treat myself by washing my hair, which is feeling a little yuck thanks to the cream, and I’m sure that will make me feel like a new woman 😉
4 days post DOT Therapy
Okay, last night was probably the worst night so far on this journey. I was in bed at 10pm, only to be awake at midnight with this horrid itching all over my face. An antihistamine didn’t seem to help and the only relief I was able to get was from my ice packs, which are difficult to hold in place if you’re asleep! I think it was around 4am when I finally, and thankfully, drifted off.
I’ve washed my face this morning and the saline being nice and cool helps. When I apply the cream, it glides smoothly over the new skin and I can clearly see where the old skin is yet to come away. Not much left to peel off. My face is red, kind of like I have a sunburn but it doesn’t hurt, it just itches!
If I had to go out today, I would be a little self conscious, but could do it, unlike previous days. Personally I think this is really quite impressive given it has only been 4 days since the treatment. I think that come the weekend, I could probably pop a light BB cream on and feel more than comfortable going to the shop or out for a coffee, if I can get some sleep that is!
5 days post DOT Therapy
I’m still not sleeping so well so I’m really tired. The itchiness is slowly settling so I’m a little more comfortable today but can’t wait to be able to sleep properly again.
I still have a little bruising which is fading to yellow and the swelling is almost gone. A few small pimples have come up but I’m sure they will disappear.
I’m yet to put any makeup on, so my new skin is very shiny and still quite pink, but no longer really red. I found I didn’t scab up like I was expecting and the peeling of my skin hasn’t really been very noticeable. My skin still feels very tight but not uncomfortably so. I am extremely cautious about going outside at the moment and only venture out once the sun is gone. I’ve got a great 50+ SPF to use once I feel okay to venture out. I’m looking forward to the next days and weeks to see the results.
6 days post DOT Therapy
Today is the first day that I’m starting to feel like myself again. The itchiness has settled and a touch of BB cream has taken the pinkness away from my skin. I still feel like my face is dry because it’s so tight, but I’m using the moisturiser multiple times a day so I know it’s not. I think my skin has healed well from both the soft silhouette threads and the laser treatment. I still have some minor residual tenderness around my jaw every now and then but it’s nothing that bothers me terribly. The bruising has just about gone and so has the swelling. I’m feeling ready for the last step in my treatment and looking forward to it 😊
7 days post DOT Therapy
Now I’m really starting to feel like myself. My skin has settled right down and tightened right up, what a wonderful combination!!! 😊
I still have a residual red/punk hue to my face, which isn’t quite covered by B.B. cream but a light foundation does the trick. Knowing my skin texture will only improve in the coming months has me very excited.
8 days post DOT Therapy and 11 days post Silhouette Soft Threads
I still have a slight red tone to my skin and some minor soft yellow bruising but each day I see some minor improvements as the residual effects settle.
I haven’t really put any makeup on as yet, and am keen to see how my skin looks and feels with my usual ‘face’ on!
9-10 days post DOT Therapy and 12 days post Silhouette Soft Threads
This weekend I took the plunge and put some makeup on, albeit just a light B.B. cream and some mascara and lippy, and my skin feels amazing. It’s so smooth and soft. My moisturiser and BB just glide on and first the first time since I was in my 20s, they seems to work with my skin rather than just sit on top of it! I still have that sight pink hue, but I don’t mind too much as I know it’s all new skin, which I find exciting.
I had a couple of people ask if I’d been away on holiday because I looked rested and refreshed (little fist pump here, okay, I lied, BIG fist pump!!!) and they were really interested to hear that I’d just had a few “treatments”.
ACM, you may have some new clients soon 😊
I’m looking forward to getting back to work on Monday and can’t wait for my last treatment on Thursday.
Treatment 5 – Dermal fillers
Fast forward a few days being back at work and today is Thursday, the day of my last appointment. This is another treatment that I’m excited about and have been looking forward to. I had never had any fillers before so I’m really keen to see how it looks.
Since the swelling in my face has subsided, I’ve noticed the area under my eyes are looking a little hollow and I feel like the bags have become suitcases. I can’t help but find it kind of amusing how I’m noticing things about my face I’d never really noticed before, but then, I’ve never been so fortunate to have had so many treatments before, or reasons to notice!
I know Dr Syed is planning on filling my tear troughs which will resolve that hollow ‘suitcase’ feeling, and I’m wondering what else is planned. Will I come away with a fuller top lip? Will I still look like me?
My day didn’t start so well with a major incident closing the freeway and what should have been a straightforward 45 minute drive ended up taking me 2 and a half hours. Thank goodness I have a decent travel mug that kept my coffee hot is all I can say about that! I admit I was a little stressed and felt terrible for being so late to my appointment, but the ACM girls and Dr Syed were fabulous, as always. Quick before photos were taken and it was time to start.
The treatment for my fillers started with a little local anaesthetic. The injections into the side of my face didn’t bother me but the ones into my top lip weren’t very pleasant. The discomfort however was quickly over with my lip and mouth going completely numb. I felt like I was at the dentist but I promise, this was a much better experience!
Dr Syed first filled my tear troughs. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and like some of the previous treatments, this wasn’t quite it. It didn’t hurt at all, thanks to the local, but it was a little disconcerting having what felt like a little cannula slip under my eye area, and I could actually feel the filler being injected. It also crunched a little, although from the other filler injections, I was expecting that. One side, then the other, and Dr Syed would step back to check the volume and balance. A little bit more here and there and the troughs were done.
Next was some skin boosters were injected into my smile lines around my mouth. Lots of little injections meant spots of pressure, but that was all, there was no pain.
Lastly, my lips got their own little treatment. Dr Syed was extremely cautious in only placing small amounts of filler into my top lip. Fortunately for me, my entire top lip was numb because I could feel the needle sliding along my lip and it really did feel odd. I wouldn’t want to be having the lip filler without the local. A touch of filler to the centre of my bottom lip finished the treatment.
I was handed a mirror and warned I would be a little blotchy from the local injections so I was prepared, or so I thought. What I wasn’t prepared for was was the image reflected back at me. It was as if 10-15 years had magically been erased, and as with the thread treatment, it took all I had not to burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed, and so excited, with the result. Some final ‘after’ pictures were taken and it was time for me to get on with my day, and ACM to continue to work their magic on others.
I had a couple of chores to run after my ACM appointment and I was more than comfortable in not wanting or needing to apply any more makeup so this procedure really is one you can have on your lunch break and continue with your day. There is very little pain and discomfort and the only thing you need to be careful of is the numb lip for an hour or so after the procedure.
I am back to ACM for one last time (for now!) on Monday morning when I will have my makeup done and final photos taken. I for one can’t wait to see a picture of where I started and where I’ve been so very lucky to end up in this wonderful journey.
This Non-Surgical Makeover is in the running for a My Face My Body Award. If you have had a positive experience at Absolute Cosmetic or like the results of this makeover we would be greatly appreciative if you could please vote here.
At Absolute Cosmetic Medicine we have a wide range of treatments available and we create bespoke treatment plans to assess your specific concerns. At a consultation with highly experienced our Dermal Therapists, Cosmetic Nurses or Cosmetic Doctors we will go through your concerns, the different options available to you, any downtime that would be associated with these treatments and come u with a plan that suits your needs.
Consultations can be booked by calling our reception team on 93899099. More information about the treatments that Anthea had are available on the Ultraformer, Silhouette Soft Threads, DOT Laser Therapy and Dermal Filler pages.