So, are “lunchtime lifts” the wave of the future, preventing women from investing in a face lift? Maybe.

Forget corporate chow downs. quick trips to the medical spa for a 12 o’clock touch up are a trend sweeping the workingwoman demographic. Nicknamed “lunchtime lifts,” non-evasive maintenance remedies, scheduled midday and lasting about an hour or less, are stepping in as a secretive, 9-to-5 path to preventative aging.

Slipping out of the office for “lunch and a few errands” easily translates to your alibi for a speed date with the aesthetician. After electing willing females from different age demographics (mid-20s, 40s, 50s), OÊ»ahu’s “age reversing” elite—Dr. Shim Ching, cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon of Asia Pacific Plastic Surgery (drshimching.com), Ewa Radzislaw-Silva, medical aesthetician and clinical manager of Honolulu MedSpa (honolulumedspa.com), and Dr. Robert Peterson, plastic surgeon of Athena Clinic (athenaclinic.com)—shared speedy, almost evidence-free therapies to “turn back the hands of time” for our group.

Whether you opt to keep your break time tucks hush-hush or not, HILuxury details the experiences of three ladies we sent incognito and into the doctors’ offices …

VENUS FREEZE

“Venus Freeze is a noninvasive procedure that tightens and contours the skin,” Radzislaw-Silva explains. “[It] is good for people who want to reshape the face a little bit … so look at it as more of a ‘lifting’ treatment than anything.”

Formulated for the face, neck and body, Venus Freeze delivers multi-polar radiofrequency and pulsed magnetic fields over skin, creating a dense heat index that increases oxygen and blood flow (to tighten and glow). Safe for all skin types and the most sensitive skin, heat activated during treatment boosts collagen synthesis in the skin, resulting in a plumper, youthful and radiant complexion.

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Ultherapy in action (photo courtesy Ulthera).

This treatment, performed at Honolulu MedSpa, was prescribed to Patient A, a mid-20s, fair-skinned Caucasian woman.

“Not only is the treatment great for aging skin, but younger clients are also turning to it as a preventive treatment to preserve the youth for a longer time, maybe even avoid a face lift in the future,” Radzislaw-Silva explains.

According to Patient A, the skin-tightening radio frequency was “surprisingly quite enjoyable. The metal ball prongs on the device feel like warm, mini massage rollers.” Her take? “I’d do it again, but would recommend taking a longer lunch and pairing the treatment with a cleansing HydraFacial, especially if your skin is prone to break-outs, which can be spurred on by heat.”

Treatments cost $300 a pop, but packages—e.g., buy five, get the sixth treatment free (totaling $1,500 for six treatments)—are available. Bonus? Results only get better with time, but upkeep is regular. Six consecutive weeks of one-hour skin tightening dates are recommended. To keep skin smooth and refreshed, women usually opt for single maintenance treatments every two to three months.

THERMAGE

For those desiring fewer blocked-out lunch breaks, the Th ermage CPT procedure, available at Athena Clinic, promises advanced skin tightening via comfort pulse technology. While Thermage is a more costly option, the convenience of a one-time treatment every few years makes this one worthwhile. Cited for stimulating existing collagen and spurring further collagen growth through radiofrequency, Patient B, a Caucasian blonde in her 40s who tans easily, chose this zero-downtime service.

“Thermage is really nice as a skin-tightening treatment that you can use to remove a little bit of fat as well, so you can sculpt with it,” Dr. Peterson says. “It tightens the skin and improves skin tone at the time of treatment, but then goes on to have additional new collagen formation for about six months afterward.”

“I’ve had different things done, but it doesn’t hurt at all. If it gets too hot, you just let him know. I was really impressed that the doctor did it, and it wasn’t a nurse. He has the most updated machine,” Patient B says, describing her treatment. “I have a thinner face, and there are areas you want to contour, and there are areas that you want to leave alone. It makes your face thinner, that’s for sure, and it gets better and better as time goes on.”

Because the syringe used to contour the face or desired body area in treatment can be costly, and the process is very technical and must be executed by a skilled professional, note that Thermage can set you back anywhere from $1,500 to $3,900 (Patient B’s totaled $2,900). Frequency is based upon one’s desired outcome, though sessions are scheduled every few years, on average.

ULTHERAPY

Ultherapy is an ultrasonic energy-based, anti-aging remedy also touting no downtime. While Ching recognizes that surgery is the gold standard, Ultherapy does offer skin tightening in the face and neck regions within two to three months following treatment.

Ultherapy, like the cosmetic treatments previously mentioned, works by heating the skin layers of the face, causing remodeling and relaying of the tissue layers. Patient C, a woman of Asian descent in her 50s, was the choice subject for this treatment, performed by Ching’s experienced nurse practitioner.

Patient C admits that “the discomfort level is there … it felt like electricity piercing through your skin,” and similar to our other treatments, it “does take really just one hour to accomplish.”

The longevity of this one-time treatment varies upon patients’ desired outcome. The ideal patient does not have marked signs of aging, but if aging has advanced, Ching would perform facial rejuvenation surgery instead.

“Ultherapy can be done as a more preventative treatment in younger patients. We are also using Ultherapy in older patients who may be good candidates for surgery,” Ching shares.

Most women opt to treat their face or neck and, depending upon the size of the treatment region, the procedure can range from $1,500 (for select face areas/neck) to $4,500 (entire face/neck region). Patient C opted for the full monty.

Perk of Ultherapy and these other “lifts”? “Sun is not an issue, and you can go right back to the office.”

RESULTS

One must wonder: Are “lunchtime lifts” the wave of the future, preventing women from investing in a facelift? While our skin specialists are positive, they caution that these treatments are in no way a “magic fix” … and are not recommended for everyone.

“Surgery is the ‘strongest’ treatment and can still do things that we cannot do with less invasive treatments,” Peterson says. Radzislaw-Silva concurs: “Venus Freeze cannot replace a traditional face-lift for clients who have lots of loose skin, but it can help them look better and preserve the results post-face lift.”

“While all of these non-invasive treatments are effective,” Ching remarks, “they cannot completely stop the aging process, even if started early.”

Fortunately, we have options that do “freeze the hands of time,” at least temporarily, and will allow women to defer, perhaps even avoid, a future facelift.

So, grab your compact and powder-puff for your next lunchtime rendezvous.

Look out for a lunchtime lifts update in a future issue.