The one-hour face lift that cured my lockdown chin: Mother, 45, who hated the jowls she developed despite not gaining weight has threads put in her cheeks to sculpt her jawline
- Nilufer Atik, 45, a London writer, believes she’s always looked young for her age
- In lockdown, she developed jowls, frown lines and a double chin for first time
- She decided to have a one-hour non-surgical facelift to make her look younger
- Four months on, she is delighted with results and says jowls have not returned
While many people’s waistlines expanded due to the worry and restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, my main problem was the effect it had on my face.
For some reason, it seemed to make me age more rapidly than usual. Almost from the very moment the first lockdown was announced back in March last year, my eyebags began to grow, additional wrinkles formed on my forehead, and my cheeks started to sag.
Even my complexion, once boastfully blemish free with a healthy golden glow, became pallid and dull. I put it down to the stress of having to juggle looking after my four-year-old son at home while still trying to work, not to mention being stuck indoors almost 24 hours a day.
As an outdoor person living in quite a dark flat, I hated not being able go out for a walk or run to get some fresh air and a little sunshine whenever I wanted, not to mention the constant feeling of anxiety over what might happen if I or a loved one contracted the virus.
Nilufer Atik, 45, a London-based writer, believes she’s always looked young for her age. But in lockdown, she developed jowls, frown lines and a double chin for first time (left) and decided to get a non-surgical facelift (left) to make her look younger (right, younger)
Nilufer is pictured during the treatment. The new type of threadlift treatment that promised to raise and tighten the face
Age-fighting treatment I’d spoil myself with every few weeks like facials or peels became a thing of the past as beauty clinics were forced to close their doors – and the effects definitely showed on my face.
Deep frown lines that had never been present before etched their way onto the space between my eyebrows. The marionette lines by my mouth sank deeper. But the worst effect was around my chin and jaw. I developed jowls for the first time and my jawline all but disappeared. I no longer had one chin but three, even I hadn’t put on a single extra pound.
Thread lifts – or suspension face lifts – are often referred to as the ‘lunchtime facelifts’ due to their speedy completion and lack of lengthy recovery time. They’ve been around for more than a decade but have recently gained popularity in the UK.
The first thread lifts were pioneered in Europe using threads made from tendons,nylon and gold in the 1970s, this was then followed by the use of prolene and the creation of the ‘anti-ptosis’ or APTOS (barbed) threads in the late 1990s.
APTOS threads offer a less invasive alternative to a surgery without the risks and downtime associated with going under the knife.
Thread lifting is a procedure which involves lifting tissues that have started to sag due to age and the downward force of gravity. Threads are inserted using needles or cannulas and may need to be anchored, pulled taut or simply placed in meshworks.
Unlike dermal fillers, which can migrate away from the treatment area causing unintentional lumps, the threads are not able to move from their original position, which also reduces the risk of the blood vessels becoming disturbed or damaged.
The threads dissolve completely and safely, meaning the procedure is non-permanent.
The results are significantly longer lasting than dermal fillers with the effects expected to last two years and the thread encourages natural collagen production, which adds further structure, firmness and contour to the area.
River aesthetics say a thread lift is more suited to men and women between the ages of 35 and 70, as the procedure is most effective on skin that has minimal sagging and laxity and offers the best results for cheeks, jowls, brows and the neck area.
Prior to March, people had always complimented me on the fact that I looked young for my 45 years, flattering me with exclamations of, ‘Wow, you only look about 33.’
Now I could see the surprise on friends’ faces whenever I FaceTimed them or chatted over Zoom.
Dubbed the ‘Lockdown Lift’, the procedure involved the placement of dissolvable threads beneath the skin, fixed to certain points of the face, which were then pulled upwards to create an immediate lift. Unlike a surgical facelift no skin was removed, it was simply suspended.
‘Have you been unwell yourself?’ one asked. Another questioned whether I’d been sleeping okay.
In truth, I hadn’t. Nor had I been taking the time out to look after myself properly with a good diet or at-home beauty solutions such as eye and face masks.
I barely had a moment to shower at home on lockdown with a young child to entertain and deadlines to meet.
By the time we were given a brief reprieve from the first lockdown in June, I looked so much older I actually considered having a facelift. But the pain and risks involved frightened me, as did the thought of permanently looking like I’d been trapped in a wind tunnel. Then there was the £5,000 cost.
The advantage of this type of thread lift compared to others was that the APTOS threads used contained certain ingredients, such as poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), to encourage the production of collagen – the magic protein produced naturally in the body which gives skin its youthful appearance
Besides, it was mainly my jowls and double chin that upset me. The frown lines and bags I could live with.
Then a beautician friend told me about a new type of threadlift treatment that promised to raise and tighten the very areas that were bothering me – with no hint of a scalpel in sight.
Dubbed the ‘Lockdown Lift’, it involved the placement of dissolvable threads beneath the skin, fixed to certain points of the face, which were then pulled upwards to create an immediate lift. Unlike a surgical facelift no skin was removed, it was simply suspended.
The facelift took less than an hour with just a little bruising and swelling to contend with afterwards. And the results were immediate
The advantage of this type of thread lift compared to others was that the APTOS threads used contained certain ingredients, such as poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), to encourage the production of collagen – the magic protein produced naturally in the body which gives skin its youthful appearance.
It took less than an hour with just a little bruising and swelling to contend with afterwards. And the results were immediate. I was sold.
Not wanting to take any risks with my face, I did my research on the two ladies who offered the procedure at River Aesthetics in Bournemouth – Dr Victoria Manning and Dr Charlotte Woodward. Having treated celebrities including Meg Matthews who raved about her youth-restoring results, I knew I’d be in safe hands.
To my relief there was no pain. It was rather like having your cheeks squeezed and jiggled around as a child.
After filling in an online questionnaire and conducting a Zoom consultation with Dr Manning during which she asked me about my aesthetic concerns were and talked through what the Lockdown Lift would involve, I arrived at the plush clinic feeling nervous but admittedly excited. The procedure itself wasn’t meant to be painful, but Dr Manning had warned that the anaesthetic administered beforehand could be.
‘That’s usually the part of the treatment patients say is the worst,’ she added as I lay back and she began cleansing my face. ‘I’m not going to lie, those injections can really hurt, but it will all be over within minutes and then your face will be numb,’ she reassured.
She wasn’t wrong. I had around eight anaesthetic injections in total and they were agony. Even the stress ball Dr Woodward had given me to distract me from the burning sting didn’t help. But the numbness kicked in quickly, and by the time both ladies began inserting the cannulas into my cheeks through tiny cuts and pushing the threads through, all I could feel was a strong tugging sensation.
To my relief there was no pain. It was rather like having your cheeks squeezed and jiggled around as a child.
Nilufer said: ‘I had around eight anaesthetic injections in total and they were agony. Even the stress ball Dr Woodward had given me to distract me from the burning sting didn’t help.’
Dr Manning had drawn insertion points and lines along my cheeks and jaw, so she knew exactly where to place the threads. One proved a bit tricky to get in though, and the tugging sensation made me feel slightly nauseas. But Dr Woodward stepped in to add some extra force and with a final push it was all over.
The results were instant, and I couldn’t believe how different my jawline looked. The jowls had virtually disappeared, and my chin looked much narrower and projected with no fat showing underneath it. Even my eyebags looked reduced.
‘Wow,’ I marvelled. ‘How can it work so quickly?’
‘Because we have pulled the skin up using the treads and then tied it into place,’ Dr Woodward explained.
She told me the threads would eventually naturally dissolve themselves but the new collagen they’d leave behind beneath the skin instead would make the lifting effect last for up to three years. Most surgical facelifts only last for five anyway.
All I had to do was not sleep on an elevated pillow for a few days, being careful not to roll onto my side, and avoid touching and moving my face too much. Exercise was a no-no for the first three days, after which I was allowed gentle activities like walking, before resuming my usual regime after ten days.
Facials and massages were banned for three months as well as any other treatments such as Botox or fillers, in case they interfered with the threads.
I was sent home with an ice pack to reduce swelling and bruising for the night, a neck pillow, and a box of paracetamol.
For the first two weeks after treatment, I did get a little bruising around my cheekbones and jaw. But it was barely visible and easily covered with make-up. The swelling was also minimal and only lasted a few days at most.
The only time it really hurt was if I yawned too wide or chewed food too vigorously. But I was advised to only eat soft foods for the first few days post lift.
It’s now been four months since my treatment, and I’m pleased to say the effects have lasted. My jowls have not returned, and my cheeks still look higher and tighter. I feel confident going outdoors for a walk with my son without make-up and when I Facetime friends, they always say I look well rather than asking if I’m not.
Now that we have to stay at home yet again, I’m just glad I managed to fit my Lockdown Lift in when I could. God knows what my face would look like by now if I hadn’t!
- The Lockdown Lift (or APTOS Lift) starts at £2,000. For information go to: www.riveraesthetics.com
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