The Beauty of PDO Threads
A facelift without having facelift
Ageing can be a bitch! Especially when your mind and heart don’t match your birth age! You still think you’re 25, until you look in the mirror, and ‘slimy fish’ slap across the face… you remember you’re not!
As you age a lot of your body’s functions slow down, and the years accumulated become evident on both the inside and outside of our body. Yet, don’t bring out the acceptance speech just yet! There is a lot you can do to slow your body’s natural ageing process.
It’s interesting, I can put my hand on my heart and only say I begun taking a genuine interest in ageing … as I started ageing! I was doing a lot to maintain internal health however, apart from regular facials and a good skincare regime, I wasn’t doing too much on the outside. I truly didn’t think (when I was young) that I would dabble in more invasive skin procedures (more invasive than a facial)… who does when their skin is dewy and plump like a ripe plum?
It isn’t until your skin starts to lose it’s structure, your face drops, and you start getting a sagging jaw line that you start investigating your options.
Signs of ageing skin
Some of the signs of healthy ageing skin include:
The basal cell layer of the epidermis slows its rate of cell production and thins the epidermis. The dermis may become thinner. Together, these changes mean skin is more likely to crepe and wrinkle.
Older skin produces less elastin and collagen, which means it is more likely to sag and droop. Older skin is particularly vulnerable to the effects of gravity. For example, jowls along the jaw and bags under the eyes are simply skin that has yielded to gravity.
Reduced elastin and collagen and the thinning of skin, mean those ‘high traffic’ areas of the face (like the eyes and mouth) are especially prone to lines and wrinkles.
The remaining pigment cells (melanocytes) tend to increase in number and cluster in certain areas, forming what’s known as age or liver spots. Areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as the backs of the hands, are particularly prone to age spots.
Older skin has fewer sweat glands and oil glands. This can make the skin more prone to conditions related to dryness, such as roughness and itching.
Broken blood vessels
Blood vessels in older, thinner skin are more likely to break and bruise. They may also become permanently widened. This is commonly known as broken vessels.
If your skin is experiencing any of the above, that’s normal, and a part of ageing. But like I said, don’t bring out the acceptance speech…. as you no longer have to accept this as normal. There is an entire Beauty industry geared up to help. This industry was worth $511B in 2021 — and with an annual compounded growth rate of 4.75% worldwide — it’s predicted to exceed $716B by 2025.
This includes skincare, cosmetics, cosmetic procedures and beauty supplements such as collagen drinks. And it isn’t just women who are buying in, men do too!
This industry offers a lot of well-researched solutions, as well as over-priced snake oils. It is wise to thoroughly research your options and treat your skin with the respect the largest organ of the body demands.
Like everyone, seeing myself on zoom (a lot) over the last couple of years, I began to notice things about my skin that hadn’t worried me in the past (oh ignorance is bliss). Call it vanity, call it prevention, call it taking measures to improve the condition of my skin… I decided it was time to explore my options. PDO threads seemed to be the most suitable solution.
What are PDO Threads?
PDO threads are one of three types of sutures commonly used in thread lift procedures. The other two types are made from polylactic acid (PLA) and polycaprolactone (PCA).
PDO threads have been around the longest of the three and have been used in surgeries since the 1980s. They’re made from a colorless polyester that breaks down in your body after about 6 months.
Here’s the kicker, the presence of these sutures in your skin triggers cells in your body called fibroblasts to produce more collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its structure and elasticity. Loss of collagen is one of the main causes of aging skin. The end result is to soften those wrinkles.
PLA and PCA threads are newer than PDO. They last longer in your body and tend to stimulate more collagen production. PLA threads take about 12 months to be absorbed and PCA takes about 12 to 15 months.
Each type of thread is best suited for a particular function. PDO threads are better at repositioning and revitalising tissue while PLA and PCA threads are better at lifting sagging parts of your skin.
Under the good advice of Nicole (a registered Nurse for over 13 years) at Lana Tarek’s studio in Sydney, I opted for PDO threads. 200 of them!
According to Nicole, people who say they don’t get the results they were seeking is generally because the amount of threads used was not enough for the task at hand. She is a pro at this, having been in the industry and one of the country’s top injector, she knows her craft. Again, I can not stress enough the importance of doing your research and ensure your aesthetician is fully credentialed with matching experience. Trust and expertise trumps price.
So, all booked in, I was excited with a touch of trepidation. I knew there were risks with this procedure, yet the risk of complications with PDO thread lifts are much than facelift surgeries. More easily treated too. Even though rare, you still need to know what they are:
- visible sutures (especially in people with thin skin)
- minor bruising
- snapping of threads
- accumulation of blood (hematoma/bruising)
- dimpling (orange peel-like skin texture)
- salivary gland injury
The day before the procedure I was advised not to drink alcohol, don’t get sunburnt (ever), and don’t do anything too strenuous that will already put healing stress on your body. It’s also a good idea not take anything that would thin your blood and increase risk of bruising (aspirin, green tea, or omega-3 fatty acids). Advice heeded!
On the day, drink plenty of water and arrive with clean skin.
The Big Day
The procedure itself is relatively quick, around 45 minutes. First Nicole went through the procedure and did warn me that it is painful. After all, 200 needles will be inserted into my skin. Despite this, she opts not to use any anaesthetic as she feels it can increase chance of bruising, and also over dilates the cells.
This is where having an experienced injector pays dividends. While not painless, it was nowhere near the pain I was expecting, or had read about. I was having my cheeks, jawline and nasalabia folds treated. Nicole methodically places the needles along my jawline first. Once the threads have been inserted, she gives a slight tug, and removes the needles. Not one at a time, but in batches. Short and sharp!
Once one side of my face is done, she gives me a mirror to take a look. Even though you don’t expect to see full results for at least four weeks, I could see a visible difference between the side of my face that had been treated versus the side that hadn’t.
This is a good ploy, as seeing the immediate effects meant the second side was less painful. Maybe I was used to it, maybe I was numb to it, or maybe I knew the pain was worth the gain.
After the treatment, Nicole gave my face a cleanse and recommended ice and Arnica to help with both the swelling and bruising. While my face felt heavy, I wasn’t in pain and I was certainly able to get myself home.
That night I slept on my back to keep the pressure off my face as it was quite tender and didn’t respond well to pressure. I won’t lie, I did bruise quite a bit, and this did take about 10 days to go away. I also had swelling, but not enough that was overtly noticable. The swelling was.
Eating chewy, crunchy foods for a few days was uncomfortable, but no more so than after a visit to the dentist.
I was absolutely thrilled with the result. The entire procedure gave my skin the lift it needed without being too drastic. Just enough. The texture and ‘bounce’ of my skin has definitely improved, and those deep nasalabial folds are more shallow. I hope the results last as long as they say (approx 12-18 months). Would I do it again. Yes I would.
For more information: Lana Tarek
Prices start from $599 for 50 threads
Eye Brow expert and founder of Lana Tarek Studio, Lana Tarek
For those looking for a less invasive alternative to facelift surgery, PDO thread lifts are a good option. This facial rejuvenation treatment involves using dissolvable threads to lift and tighten the skin. While the threads mainly work by lifting your face, their presence also triggers an increase in collagen production in your skin — giving your face a tighter, plumper appearance. PDO thread lifts are most commonly used to tighten the skin in the cheeks, around the mouth, and neck. Ensure you do your research, this account is based on my personal experience and not meant to replace that of a qualified professional.