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Non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments are less risky and require minimal recovery time, although the effects may not be as quick or long-lasting. Photo: Shutterstock

Vampire facials, micro needling, thermage – the pros and cons of non-invasive cosmetic procedures as alternatives to plastic surgery

  • Non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments are less risky than surgery and require minimal recovery time, although the effects may not be as long-lasting
  • Top surgeons and celebrity favourites Dr Yannis Alexandrides and Dr Anthony Youn explain 5 of the most popular non-invasive procedures and their pros and cons

While the plastic surgery trend shows no signs of abating as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, not all women are willing to go under the knife in the name of vanity.

Top surgeons in cities like London and New York have noticed more clients opting for minimally invasive cosmetic treatments that promise to give similar results to common plastic surgery procedures, without the risks and downtime.

“There is a continued interest in people wanting to refresh their appearance especially since the ‘Zoom boom’. The innovation behind these treatments, especially with devices that use laser radiofrequency and micro needling, is extremely advanced now and non-invasive, so that’s appealing,” explains Dr Yannis Alexandrides, founder of London’s famed cosmetic surgery clinic, 111 Harley St. and the 111Skin skincare line.

Trained as a traditional plastic surgeon, board-certified Dr Anthony Youn has become a celebrity favourite, due in part to his unique approach to body enhancement, which he defines as “holistic plastic surgery”.

Dr Yannis Alexandrides says the “Zoom boom” has increased the popularity of non-invasive cosmetic procedures.

“Every patient is treated individually. Most of my surgery patients also undergo non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments, since there is so much available, and surgery doesn’t necessarily do what non-invasives can do,” Youn says.

These can mostly benefit the face, but other parts of the body may be affected positively as well, he adds.

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As with traditional plastic surgery, many of these procedures come with a list of pros and cons. Most are less risky than surgery and require minimal recovery time, but cannot promise the same results as going under the knife.

For one, they are not permanent, requiring the patient to repeat the procedure. And unlike a facelift, they cannot turn back the clock overnight, or in the long term for that matter.

“While many of these treatments can most definitely help delay the ageing process and be preventive, it’s important to support this with a healthy lifestyle and good skincare regime as early as possible,” says Alexandrides.

Dr Anthony Youn is a celebrity favourite for his “holistic plastic surgery”.

“This is known as ‘prejuvenation’ – a preventive protocol you should begin in your 20s to help support your skin as you age,” he says.

Finding the right treatment may also take some time, so it is advisable to do some homework and have realistic expectations.

“I wouldn’t be the first to have something done, especially if it involves some degree of invasiveness. Some devices are FDA cleared for safety, but that doesn’t mean they work or that you still aren’t at risk of problems,” says Youn, referring to the United States’ Federal Drug Administration.

Promotional before-and-after photos of Thermage skin-tightening treatment at 111 Harley St.

Five popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures for women

1. Thermage

This cutting-edge skin-tightening treatment uses high radiofrequency technology to heat deeper layers of the skin, usually on the face, eye area and body. The results are twofold – collagen “contracts”, thereby creating a tightening effect while encouraging new collagen production.

Most patients see the effects immediately after the first treatment, but the skin will continue to regenerate and improve for up to four to six months.

In addition to being popular among women, Alexandrides also uses it on male patients who want to create more definition along their jawline.


2. Potenza

A favourite with Kim Kardashian – she’s even posted her experience on Instagram – Potenza combines micro needling to puncture the skin and trigger collagen and elastin production with radiofrequency technology to heal the skin.

The benefits include skin tightening and diminishing acne and surgery scars. It can also be used on the body to treat stretch marks and other skin irregularities, as well as the face.

Experts say that a number of treatments may be required before the patient can see results.

Kim Kardashian after a ‘vampire facial’.

3. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) facial

More commonly known as the “vampire facial”, this regenerative treatment isn’t exactly new but it’s still popular for good reason. While it may not necessarily “plump” the skin, it is said to target a wide range of skin concerns, from hyperpigmentation and sun damage to fine line sand wrinkles.

The treatment begins with micro needling followed by the application of a platelet-rich plasma which is extracted from the patient’s own blood. Following the treatment, patients should expect some redness, swelling, or bruising.

Sculpsure’s warm sculpting body contouring treatment.

4. Sculpsure

Forget liposuction – this contouring laser treatment is quick and effective and already has fans including actress Brooke Shields. Targeting unwanted body fat, it involves heating up fat cells so they shrink and are naturally expelled through the body’s lymphatic system as urine/waste.

Multiple treatments are recommended, with the best results visible between six and 12 weeks after treatment. Experts say that the effects can be long-lasting.

According to studies, each treatment can destroy up to 25 per cent of fat cells in the treated area.

Intense pulse laser (above) is effective for dark spots, while Accent Prime works on skin tightening and body contouring. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Accent PrimeLaser

While IPL (intense pulse light) is the go-to laser treatment for dark spots, Accent Prime is highly effective for skin tightening and body contouring.

Combining technologies including ultrasound and radiofrequency, it can heat the collagen under the epidermis to create the appearance of firmer, more supple skin, and can disrupt fat cells while producing new collagen at the same time.

The treatment has been likened to a warm massage, with results being visible just after one session.