If you’ve been keeping up with beauty news, you may have heard about a trend that’s rising in popularity in Canada. More people than ever are asking questions and showing interest in thread lifts, a non-surgical, long-lasting procedure that helps boost natural collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. If you are noticing a bit of loose skin around your face and neck, thread lifts are a much quicker and more cost-effective alternative to full cosmetic surgery.
While the science of thread lifts isn’t new, the breakthroughs made in recent years have made it increasingly popular and it is getting a lot of attention on social media. For those looking into it, though, it is still relatively rare in southern Alberta – as a medical procedure, it does require a medical license and proper training. We are proud to be one of the few establishments in the area that does thread lifts, using the latest available knowledge and materials, and helping people better understand the potential of this new technology.
What are thread lifts?
To understand what thread lifts are, first we must go over what they are trying to accomplish. As we age, our skin loses elasticity and thickness, slowly loosening and drooping down off the underlying muscles. Traditional surgeries excise and remove excess skin, “tightening” it back up again, but this involves a long healing process and a high amount of discomfort for many people. Furthermore, many patients do not want that kind of invasive procedure.
So, thread lifts were designed to be an intermediate step – not as severe as surgery, but still able to fix minor wrinkles and sagging skin. They work by using bio-friendly, dissolvable threads, put under the skin and adjusted, to pull the skin back to its desired place. Often using small barbs and “cogs”, the threads hold the skin in this location for months before safely dissolving, and in the process they stimulate the production and buildup of new collagen in the area – allowing the skin to naturally get stronger and maintain its new placement.
Two types of threads have been approved in Canada: polydioxanone (PDO) and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA).
PDO threads, aka NovaThreads, are very commonly used for lifts, because their barbed design allows for easier moving and “locking” of the skin into its desired place, and will last 6-8 months before dissolving. This gives enough time for some collagen creation. They are good for shaping, contouring, and rejuvenating facial skin.
PLLA, while not as flexible as PDO, is better at stimulating collagen production and can last up to two years before dissolving into harmless compounds like water and glucose. This additional time allows for a stronger collagen base to build up. PLLA is also generally less inflammatory than PDO.
There has been a recent surge in styles, manufacturers, and formulations of threads, but the most popular are “silhouette lifts”, which use threads with small cones to reposition fatty cell deposits to create more defined facial structure. At Bardöt Beauty, we combine this process with mechanical lifts that also have small barbs alongside the cones, holding them in place while boosting overall collagen production.
Are thread lifts safe?
Thread lifts are as safe as any other medical procedure done by a qualified technician. There will always be some risk, but a properly trained tech understands how to reduce it as effectively as possible.
Before thread lift technologies were approved in Canada, they were tested and approved in other countries like the United States. Once established elsewhere, Health Canada has, in the last 18-24 months, approved them for use here, and put strict guidelines in place for people that can do the procedure (such as having a medical license and doing a certification course, like we mentioned above). As new materials and threads are developed, they will all be approved and monitored by relevant government bodies.
There are two things to remember to make sure that your specific appointment is as safe as possible, though. First, you need to go to someone comfortable in doing the procedure. Most often, the biggest complication comes down to the skill level of the technician, and a poor technique can cause thread migration (where the barbs don’t grab properly, and may move, twist, or inflame the skin).
Second, ensure that the setting, your skin, and the tools are sterile, and that they do not brush anything (like your hair or clothing) before insertion. With anything that is injected, bacteria can quickly transfer from a hand, needle, or cannula into the underlying tissue, and a good technician will be very aware of this and prevent it from happening. This should be a highly regulated and controlled process.
Is sedation used during thread lifts?
Yes, we offer conscious sedation for an additional fee, which is preferable for many people because it can minimize discomfort and movement. A nurse administers an appropriate sedative, such as nitrous oxide (Pronox), benzocaine, or an intravenous drip, and continuously monitors the patient throughout the process.
As an added safety precaution, all patients who receive IV sedatives or benzocaine must have a driver with them.
How long do thread lifts last?
The effectiveness and durability depend on the patient. Generally, the older you are, the less time the lifts will remain in place, and the same applies if you are in poor health, have naturally thin skin, smoke regularly, or had a procedure that involved lifting a lot more soft tissue than is typical. With all that said, typical results last about 18-24 months.
How long does a thread lift take?
The entire process starts with a consultation, to make sure that you are a good candidate (i.e., your skin and tissue can support the threads and there is a high probability of success). Once you are approved, there is a short assessment of specific expectations and logistics, such as examining the under-chin area and planning how to work around subcutaneous fat deposits. This may add an additional appointment to dissolve fat cells, but it varies from person to person.
As for the lifts themselves, they are non-surgical, so it’s actually a fairly short appointment – usually about 60-90 minutes. A topical freezing cream is applied to the face, and lidocaine is injected and given time to work (about 40 minutes), and then about 20 minutes is spent marking out the path of the thread lines so they can be accurately place.
Typically, we do a small lift in one preliminary appointment, to make sure there are no complications or issues that arise. Then, two weeks later, we do the full lift, giving you and your skin time to get accustomed to the process. These two appointments are both covered under a single fee, and in our experience it is the best way to do thread lifts for optimal results.
What does a thread lift cost?
The total cost will depend on what you get – fox eyes, brow lifts, ponytail lift, mid-face lift, and so on. The approximate range falls between $1000 - $2500, depending on what you get.
Do you have additional questions about thread lifts? Feel free to reach out and ask! As one of the few places in Alberta to offer this service, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns if you are considering getting a thread lift done. Simply hop over to social media or send a message through our contact page. We look forward to seeing you soon!