The Magic Three: Why Nobody Has Facelifts Anymore

Aesthetics Hub | 29 Jun 2018

The needle and knife-free alternatives replacing cosmetic surgery.

Credit: Getty Images 

Sitting next to a friend at dinner recently I was intrigued to find out what (or which doctor) was responsible for her skin upgrade from fabulous to absolutely incredible. She proceeded to give me a brilliantly concise response, telling me exactly what new treatments she had been trying and where. 

A few phone calls later, it became apparent these treatments are part of an exciting new phase of beauty procedures and technology; the next generation on from fillers, facelifts and Botox which, as we all know (in the wrong hands) can leave the face looking too “done”, puffed-up or just weird. The brilliant thing about these new procedures is that you still look exactly like you - just fresher, smoother and more airbrushed. 

Needle and knife-free, these treatments don't add anything into the skin; they work more naturally (either stimulating a mega boost of our own collagen production or working on the facial muscles themselves). Also, they can all be done in a lunch hour (and with minimum downtime). 

The idea of a facelift is dated. As my friend said, “Nobody is having facelifts anymore. There’s no need to.” Interestingly, since having a combination of these new treatments, she has stopped having Botox as she feels she doesn’t need it. Her glowy skin, cheekbones, and taut jawline were more than enough to make me call her skin doctor and book in.

So here they are. The latest, skin-transforming treatments (plus a tried-and-tested old favourite) for skin-tightening, lifting and radiance boosting. Or, as another friend put it, “the Valencia Instagram filter for real life”.


1. The Ultralift 

What exactly is it?

Leading the way in this new wave of beauty technology for lifted cheekbones, jawline definition and smoother, tighter skin, you may have admired the results on Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian - both of whom are reported to be fans. Ultrasound energy is fired deep under the skin into the SMAS (the muscle that surgeons tighten when doing a facelift). The ultrasound stimulates the growth of new collagen over time, so it strengthens and tones the skin from within to make it look smoother and brighter on the outside. It’s also great for lifting the skin on the neck and under the chin. What I noticed was a definite tightening of the jawline and a lovely cheekbone-sculpting effect. “This has definitely transformed the perspective regarding a possible non-surgical face and neck lift,” says Dr Sebagh, “as this new technology has allowed us to deal with the musculoskeletal system of the face which is the key element in face lifting and brow lifting.”

A full face-and-neck treatment takes about 30 minutes. Brilliantly there is no downtime at all – I just looked a bit flushed (for about an hour). 

Is it uncomfortable?

It can be. What you feel are the tiny amounts of ultrasound being delivered below the surface of the skin. Lots of people say this treatment can be a bit painful, but the brilliant Dr Diana at Dr Sebagh’s clinic made it totally bearable without any painkillers at all. It’s rather like tiny little hammers bouncing on the bone. Plus the discomfort is a sign that the collagen-building process has been initiated - so it’s worth it. It feels a bit achy afterwards – a bit like after having a filling at the dentist. 

How many treatments?

Top-ups every three-to-six months. 


A fantastic instant glow and a more defined jawline, lifted brow and cheekbones. But because this is working from within the full-lifting and skin tightening effect is visible after about four weeks. Lots of people say they do not need to top up their Botox as frequently when having this treatment, and some people stop entirely.


2. Radiofrequency with microneedling 

Both of these treatments can be done separately but Dr Sebagh’s clinic combines them for a double whammy. 

What exactly is it?

The microneedling and radio frequency waves delivered to the skin cause tiny micro wounds to the skin, which then stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Like the Ultralift, this procedure is also tightening but is particularly good for improving the overall look of the skin - making it smoother, brighter and more glowing. A few days later you look like you’ve had the best facial you’ve ever had – but with longer-lasting results. It can also help with pigmentation. 

Is it painful?

You can use an anaesthetic cream if applied first; there is a mild pain but it’s totally bearable. 

How many treatments?

Three-to-four sessions (every one-to-three months). 


Immediately afterwards there will be slight redness or tiny red squares which lasts a few hours. Most people say skin is more glowing and polished-looking after several days. The tightening effect and final results appear gradually over six months as the body produces extra collagen. 

Credit: Getty Images

3. Lifting facial with facial massage 

What exactly is it?

A tried-and-tested secret favourite with beauty insiders who have been booking this for years at facialist Vaishaly’s Marylebone clinic. It’s the one to choose if you like your beauty treatments a little more low-tech but high on results. Combining truly great massage (which we know can sculpt cheekbones, and reduce a puffy jawline) with a galvanic/microcurrent wand-like device, which really pushes in a glow-enhancing hyaluronic acid serum into the skin while lifting and toning the facial muscles at the same time. 

You can also tailor it to work specific areas – I wanted my brows to be lifted and was pleased with a noticeable result after just one session. 

Is it painful? 

Not at all. But the face does feel like it’s had a good workout. 

How many treatments are required? 

Five treatments, once a week. 

What should I expect after the treatment?

Lots of people book it as a one-off treatment before a big event, but you need to book a course for longer-lasting results. It also works brilliantly alongside any of the above. 


By Lucia Ferrari
This article first appeared in Harper's Bazaar.
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