Many people begin noticing changes their facial skin by age 35. What they may not realize, however, is that smile lines, under-eye bags, and softened jawline all share a common origin: Collagen depletion. After age 30, levels of this essential skin-firming compound start to decline by approximately one percent per year. As a result, both the skin and the connective tissues that support it become weaker. This allows fat deposits to gradually slide downwards and contributes to the appearance of facial creases, hollows, jowls, and loose skin.
The Argument for Non-Invasive Treatment
Traditionally, facelift surgery has been used to correct cosmetic problems caused by skin laxity. During facelift surgery, incisions are made along the patient’s hairline, allowing Dr. Singer to access and lift the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS). Doing so positions the patient’s skin and facial fat pads so that they sit higher on the face, just like they used to. If the patient has a significant amount of loose skin, Dr. Singer can also carefully remove any excess skin during facelift surgery.
Though facelift surgery produces dramatic results and only requires one to two weeks of downtime, it’s not right for everyone. Several factors can make facelift surgery either impossible or undesirable for a patient. Health issues, for instance, are a concern when performing facelift surgery. Though the operation itself is low-risk, many prospective facelift patients are over the age of 50. As such, they’re more likely to have age-related health problems, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, that increase the chance of surgical complications.
Younger patients, on the other hand, are often too busy to dedicate two or more weeks to recovering
from plastic surgery. They may also be too budget-conscious to invest in surgery and therefore prefer nonsurgical treatments. To provide these patients with a viable alternative to facelift surgery, Dr. Singer has invested in the latest nonsurgical skin tightening technology: Protege. Protege can restore your skin’s elasticity without the need for incisions or healing time.
What is Protege?
Protege is a completely non-invasive skin tightening device. During Protege treatment, an applicator wand that emits radio frequency (RF) energy is glided across the patient’s skin. This process is completely painless and takes just 30 to 60 minutes to complete, and patients are free to return to all their normal activities immediately after their appointment. For best results, most patients need between two to four Protege treatment sessions, spaced about two weeks apart.
How Does Protege Work?
Protege tackles the signs of aging where they start: inside your cells. Applying RF energy to the cells within the dermis and epidermis gently heats them, activating the body’s healing response. This prompts the body to produce fresh collagen in treated areas. This new collagen causes the skin to become gradually firmer, smoother, fuller, and more youthful over the course of four to eight weeks. In effect, RF treatments turn back the clock on cellular aging.
RF energy has an immediate tightening effect on treated tissues, as well as a gradual impact on skin condition; some improvements will become evident in as little as 48 hours after Protege.
The heat produced during Protege treatment causes the patient’s muscles and connective tissues to contract slightly, essentially toning the area. Collagen fibers in the treatment area also move closer together. RF energy has even been shown to have a slimming effect; it can damage fat cells (without harming any of the tissue around them), causing them to be removed from the body via the lymphatic system. This is an important advantage because some undesirable features, like jowls and submental fullness (the presence of a double chin), are caused by a combination of skin laxity and fat deposit migration.
Frequently Asked Questions About Protege RF Skin Tightening
1. Where Can I Use Protege Skin Tightening?
Though most patients choose to use Protege to tighten the skin on their face and neck, Protege’s gentleness makes it suitable for use on multiple areas of the body. Patients have used Protege to tighten the skin on their hands, arms, chest, knees, and thighs, for example.
The versatility of Protege makes it an excellent procedure for patients undergoing facelift surgery. You can use Protege RF skin tightening to make the skin on your hands, arms, and chest look as youthful as your face; this way, you’ll achieve more uniform anti-aging results.
2. Who Makes a Good Candidate for Protege Skin Tightening?
Patients of all ages can have Protege skin tightening, but this procedure produces more noticeable results on patients who are under 55 years of age. Older patients who have only a moderate amount of skin laxity can also benefit profoundly from Protege. Protege is suitable for use on all skin types, too; it will not lighten dark skin, and it’s gentle enough for use on patients with sensitive skin.
Protege is ideal for patients who have common health issues that make surgery risky, as well as those who simply aren’t ready to try surgery. Smokers who cannot quit smoking should also consider Protege treatment in place of facelift surgery. With that in mind, Protege is not recommended for everyone. Certain health conditions, like poorly controlled diabetes, bleeding disorders, and compromised immune function, can make you a poor candidate for Protege. You should also avoid RF skin tightening treatments if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an active infection in the treatment area, use a pacemaker, or have silicone fillers or implants in the treatment area.
3. What Does Protege Treatment Feel Like?
Most patients tell us that their Protege treatment experience is very comfortable; in fact, some people have likened having Protege to getting a massage.
During your Protege appointment, Dr. Singer will begin by applying a cooling gel to your skin. This will ensure that the heat produced by the RF wand doesn’t become uncomfortable. Then, he’ll move the Protege wand over the treatment area in slow circular motions to evenly distribute RF energy.
4. What Cosmetic Problems Can I Treat Using Protege?
Protege is ideal for the treatment of cosmetic problems related to poor skin tone. It can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, creases, and areas of loose crepey skin. Protege can also make the jawline and submental region sleeker by shrinking the size of the patient’s jowls and tightening the skin under the chin.
While Protege can make your skin smoother and less dry, it cannot treat the signs of photoaging or blood vessel abnormalities. To get rid of age spots, spider veins, broken capillaries, and acne scars, you’ll need to combine Protege with other skin rejuvenation therapies, like the IPL Photofacial. The IPL Photofacial uses intense pulsed light to gently exfoliate the uppermost layer of the epidermis, removing the dead and damaged skin cells that form age spots, scars, and other blemishes.
Protege treatment also cannot fill in facial hollows. To replace fat deposits that have been lost during the aging process, Dr. Singer uses dermal fillers. Dermal fillers, like Juvederm Voluma, can fill in hollows under the eyes and cheeks. Juvederm Voluma can amplify the results of Protege treatment by filling in deep creases and plumping up the lips, too.
Both the IPL Photofacial and dermal fillers stimulate collagen production, making them the perfect addition to most nonsurgical anti-aging plans. When you visit Dr. Singer for a consultation, he’ll help you review your options and develop a personalized treatment plan.
5. Does Protege Have Any Side Effects?
Most patients don’t report any side effects after having Protege. Because Protege is completely non-invasive, there is no risk of infection, bruising, or bleeding associated with this procedure. If side effects occur at all, they are typically very mild. Some patients have reported experiencing lingering redness and subtle swelling for one to two days after their procedure. If this happens to you, you should feel free to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and apply a cool compress to the treated area.
In very rare cases, patients have developed skin irritation after having Protege. They might notice small bumps, like hives, and feel some slight itching. If you experience these symptoms, talk to Dr. Singer about whether using an antihistamine might help keep you comfortable. He may also recommend the using of a cooling ointment to reduce irritation and speed healing.
The Protege system contains several built-in safety features that prevent the over-application of RF energy. As such, there is no risk of burning or skin damage associated with this procedure, if you have Protege administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
6. Can I Have Protege in Place of Facelift Surgery?
Yes, Protege skin tightening is often recommended for patients who don’t wish to have facelift surgery. However, it’s important to make sure you have realistic expectations for this procedure. The results produced by nonsurgical treatments like Protege are subtler than the results that can be created with surgery. Patients with a large amount of loose skin may not be as satisfied with RF energy treatments as they would be with a facelift, so it’s important to weigh all your options as you map out your personal treatment plan. Dr. Singer will provide you with several before and after photos during your consultation to help you develop a realistic idea of what Protege can accomplish.
If you’re unwilling or unable to have facelift surgery, combining Protege with other skin-firming therapies can help combat advanced skin laxity.