It comes as a bit of a shock when you suddenly notice you look a bit, well…different.
I had major insecurities about my looks as a teen, but by my twenties I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. So it was an unwelcome surprise when I hit 30 and noticed my face had started to look saggy.
I typed various words into Google and soon I’d found it – I had jowls. Actual jowls! To say I was horrified would be an understatement. And once I’d “diagnosed” my condition, I couldn’t stop obsessing over it. The expensive creams I was using didn’t seem to be doing much, so I decided to ask an expert for advice on treatments that might give my face the youthful boost it needed.
I’m nervous when I go to see Dr Aamer Khan at Harley Street Skin Clinic, but he is so warm and friendly, he puts me at ease straight away. After examining my face carefully, he explains I have pockets of fat on my face, a common issue which can be down to genetics or losing and gaining weight.
The fat pockets have given me sagging skin and created a jowl-like effect.
This usually happens in older women, but Dr Khan reassures me he does see it in younger folk too. I’m not alone.
He suggests I consider a minimally invasive treatment called FaceTite, which he describes as “more or less a facelift without going under the knife”, with just a few days of downtime and almost instant results.
The 45-minute treatment uses radio frequency energy technology to remove the fat and tighten the skin in the process.
A local anaesthetic is injected to numb the area, then a small probe is inserted under the skin to heat the tissues and liquify the fat cells.
This fat is then gently sucked out using a small cannula. The heat also remodels the surrounding tissues, resulting in a tightening and lifting effect.
Because some sagging skin is also obvious on my neck, Dr Khan recommends NeckTite at the same time – you guessed it, the same treatment but performed on my neck. Scarring is minimal, and Dr Khan says it wouldn’t be visible anyway as the incisions would be tucked away behind my ears or under my chin.
Reassuringly, he tells me he has over 10 years experience with this treatment. FaceTite is so popular he carries out several a week. The results are more or less permanent, so it’s very unlikely I’ll need to have it done again. Win-win. Treatment day can’t come soon enough.
I arrive at the clinic with two days booked off work followed by the weekend – mainly because I’ll have to wear a rather unattractive compression bandage on my head for three days.
The waiting room is where it hits me. Am I really going to let someone slice into my face while I’m awake? Luckily a very sweet receptionist spots my nerves and Dr Khan gives me something to take the edge off.
With Valium running through my system, I start to feel calmer.
I’m given my surgical gown and hairnet and led to a small room to start the procedure. I glance at the table full of alarming-looking spikes – big mistake.
But a lovely assistant plays some calming music and Dr Khan puts me on a drip of something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. First, the area has to be numbed.
But the injections aren’t bad at all. Once I’ve had the first one, the numbing effect takes hold and I hardly notice subsequent pricks.
Thankfully, there’s no pain when Dr Khan starts the procedure, but it does feel very peculiar. A long prong enters my face near my earlobe and is scraped backwards and forwards as it sucks out fat all the way down to the tip of my chin.
The shock of how bizarre it feels makes me burst into tears. Dr Khan kindly ups the dosage on the drip, and within around 10 seconds I feel like I’m on a beach somewhere.
I’m still aware of what’s happening, but I completely lose any sense of time. When Dr Khan puts plasters over my incisions
(so tiny there is no need for stitches), it feel as though I’ve only been there 10 minutes.
The head garment is applied and I’m allowed to see myself for the first time. I look horrendous! My face has ballooned to twice the size and the skin is so swollen it’s protruding from the sides of the bandage.
The bruising is almost instant too. Within 10 minutes my neck is black. Nasty fluid drips from the bandages and my hair is sticky with blood. I look like I’ve been run over.
I’m put in a cab and when my boyfriend sees me, his face makes me burst into tears again. I’m too swollen to eat anything, so
I drink water and head to bed.
In the morning I’m groggy and very bruised, but the swelling has gone down dramatically. When I pull down the side of
my bandage near my mouth, I’m astounded.
Dr Khan had told me it takes three to six months to see the full results, but I notice a difference already. Immediately I forget what the day before was like. I’m delighted to see my new face. It’s all worth it.
Despite most of the swelling more or less disappearing after 24 hours, I’m still bruised and I look like I have hamster cheeks. I avoid the office but on a trip to Tesco I notice a lot of people staring at me. One staff member even asks, “What happened to you?!”
My jaw is sore if I open my mouth wide to chew, so I stick to soft foods like soup and bread. Sleeping upright is the hardest part but I’m so emotionally drained after the treatment I’m out like a light.
After three days I take off the bandage to wash my hair and face, which feels like heaven. It needs two shampoos to get all
the dried blood out. But with clean hair and a freshened face, I’m beginning to feel slightly less sorry for myself.
Now the bandages are off, I’m like a new woman! My skin can breathe and it’s lovely going outside and feeling the air on my face.
The only weird part is that both sides of my face are numb to the touch. But the bruising has gone and there’s no discomfort whatsoever. I’m just extra careful getting dressed in case I knock my jawline. One side of my face appears less saggy than the other.
I call Dr Khan and he reassures me that uneven healing is normal. I keep going to look at myself in the mirror, covering half my face to see the difference. I’m thrilled to notice results already.
I go back to see Dr Khan, who is ecstatic with my results. He shows me my “before” pictures and I can see a huge improvement already.
The slight unevenness remains, but he assures me it will level out in the next six weeks or so. We agree to meet again in a few months to check the finished result.
Six months on
I can’t believe the “before” pictures were actually me. I now look exactly how I want to look. My side profile appears smooth and youthful and I no longer have heaviness around my jawline.
My friends comment that I look “glowing” and my family can see a huge difference. FaceTite has, in all honesty, changed my life. It lasts a very long time, but if I ever feel I need to, I’ll have the treatment again in a heartbeat.
For more information contact Dr Aamer Khan at harleystreetskinclinic.com, or call 0207 436 4441. FaceTite and NeckTite prices start from £2800
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