Tweakments

What are Tweakments?

Tweakments are non-surgical cosmetic (or ‘aesthetic’) procedures that can rejuvenate the skin and soften lines and wrinkles, improve irregular pigmentation, tighten sagging skin, add back volume to ageing faces and adjust the proportions of facial features. They are mostly temporary. They are not cosmetic surgery. They involve injectable treatments, lasers and chemical skin peels, but no scalpels and no general anaesthesia.

Alice, the editor of The Tweakments Guide, has 20 years experience of reporting on and reviewing tweakments, and offers independent, unbiased information based on her experience. She is not a medical professional.

Using her knowledge and experience, she has created The Tweakments Guide website to help you understand what these procedures are and what they involve and, if you feel a tweakment is what you need, how to find a great and well-qualified, practitioner.

Botox

Botox

Botox is the best-known brand of wrinkle-relaxing toxin. It is a form of botulinum toxin A and it is injected into the muscles to soften the appearance of frown lines and other ‘dynamic’ wrinkles which form where we use facial muscles to make expressions. Botox reduced the ability of these muscles to contract, so it can soften frown lines, or lift downturned corners of the mouth.

The product is injected into the muscles responsible for making these expressions, to weaken them for three-six months, which in turn will, for example, soften your frown lines, or lift downturned corners of the mouth.

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Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning

An advanced form of facial exfoliation, which involves having the skin shaved, free-hand, with a scalpel blade. This removes the outermost layer of dead, polluted skin cells that make the skin look a little rough and uneven. It also removes the ‘peach fuzz’ vellus hair on the face, so skin is left extra-smooth – and no, this hair doesn’t feel stubbly as it grows back.

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Dermatology Facial

Dermatology-grade Facial

Not a pampering sort of facial, but the type that will give your skin a thorough MOT. Typically, an aesthetic facialist will examine your skin in detail, before discussing with you which aspects of the treatments at her disposal will benefit you most. So you might have a light acid peel, deep pore cleansing involving extractions of blackheads and milia, with perhaps a light treatment such as laser or IPL to tackle pigmentation issues. It will be a personalised treatment using the latest and most relevant technologies and high-grade skincare.

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Electromagnetic

Electrical Muscle-Stimulating Facial

Running a low-level electrical current through the facial muscles, as happens during treatments such as CACI and the Face Gym’s Signature Electrical facial, encourages these muscles to contract and tighten. Improving the muscle tone in the skin lifts the contours of the face and improves circulation in the skin, too. The latest versions of these treatments – such as the CACI Synergy, offer LED light therapy alongside the microcurrent treatment.

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Fat Dissolving

Fat Dissolving Injections

An injectable product made of chemicals that dissolve fat, so it can be used to spot-reduce fat all over the face and body, but is most popular for reducing the appearance of fatty jowls and double chins. The injections are quick but the results take a few weeks to show.

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Fat Freezing

Fat Freezing

The best-known and best-accredited brand of fat freezing is CoolSculpting. The process involves chilling a chunk of body fat until it is nearly frozen sounds a bizarre way to reduce it, but doing this kills 20-40 per cent of fat cells in the treated area. The dead cells are slowly excreted by the body over the next three months after which the full result of treatment can be seen.

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Fat Injection

Fat Injections

Having fat removed from areas where there is a surplus – usually the stomach or thighs – and injected in areas where it is lacking, such as the cheeks, sounds too good to be true but it is a perennially popular procedure, particularly with cosmetic surgeons who also do non-surgical work. The fat that survives the transfer with stay in the new location for good.

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Fillers

Fillers

Injectable facial fillers, more properly known as ‘dermal fillers’ because they are injected into the skin, add volume to the face. Injected into cheeks that are becoming hollow with age, they will restore volume and softness. They can be used to plump up thin lips, reshape a weak chin, define a jawline, soften hollows and dark circles under the eyes and enhance features by correcting asymmetry in the face.

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HIFU

High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU)

High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU) is a technology that works below the surface of the skin to lift and tighten it. Where the beam is focussed, it damages the skin tissues to create a tightening, lifting and wound healing response. That means you get a small, initial tightening effect, then a greater lifting effect over the next six months as the collagen within the skin is remodelled and tightened.

There are different types of focused ultrasound treatment, some of which are branded. The best-known brand is Ultherapy, which has FDA clearance for its stated claim of lifting the skin.

 

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Hydrafacial

Hydrafacial

A deep-cleansing, exfoliating facial done with a mechanised device whose different treatment heads can exfoliate, deliver a peeling solution, perform extractions, and hydrate the skin.

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Moisturising injection

Injectable Moisturiser eg Profhilo, Volite or Skinboosters

These ‘moisture jab’ tweakments such as Profhilo, Juvederm Volite and Restylane Skinboosters use pinprick injections to place a solution of lightly crosslinked hyaluronic acid just beneath the surface of the skin, where it acts like a long-lasting internal moisturiser.. Once trapped in the skin, the solution not only keeps the skin tissues better hydrated, but stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin. The net result is healthier, firmer, more pliable and better hydrated skin.

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IPL

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Best known perhaps for hair removal, IPL is also really useful in facial tweakments. The IPL machine produces flashes of intense light that shatter brown or red pigment in the skin, which are then cleared away by the body’s lymphatic system. This means it is good for clearing away both brown age spots or patches of irregular pigmentation (brown pigment), and also thread veins and the redness of rosacea (red pigment). It’s not a permanent change as more pigmentation or redness or other thread veins will emerge over time, but it makes an impressive difference.

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HIFU

Intracel

Intracel is a device that combines radiofrequency energy, which heats skin tissue and has a ‘shrink-wrapping’ effect on the skin, with microneedling.  Both of these technologies stimulate the growth of new collagen in the skin.

If you’re thinking that it doesn’t sound very comfortable, you’re right, but your face will be covered in numbing cream for half an hour beforehand so it will be perfectly manageable.

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Intraceutical

Intraceuticals

A glow-boosting, face-sculpting and skin-strengthening facial which is very gentle, so it is a great one for sensitive skins. A jet of pressurised oxygen mixed with a series of hydrating serums is sprayed over the skin, and that’s about it. It sounds like nothing but that jet, used like a contouring tool, has a lymph-draining effect that sculpts cheekbones and jawline, while the hydrating serum gives the skin radiance. Very effective.

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Laser Facial

Laser Facial

The term ‘laser facial’ is a bit vague but what it means is a treatment that involves an element of lightweight lasering. So it is not as heavy duty (nor as painful, nor as effective) as a proper session of clinical lasering, but it will brighten the look of your skin and give you an idea of what lasers can do.

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Laser

Laser Skin Rejuvenation

A laser uses a precisely focussed beam of light to generate heat within the skin, or burn away the surface skin. For resurfacing the skin, practitioners usually use a fractional laser which fires its beam through a grid of tiny holes, so that rather than burning away all the skin in its path, it creates a series of vertical channels of damage in the skin. Where the skin has been damaged, it will repair itself, creating new, fresher skin in the process, and the fractions of skin that remain untouched between these channels enable that repair to happen quickly. This repair procress creates smoother, fresher, clearer, tighter skin with more even pigmentation.

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LED Blue

LED Blue Light Therapy

The LED lights used for this treatment are a high grade version of the sort you find in fairy lights; LED lights are graded, in the way that diamonds are graded, and the best-quality ones make the best devices. Blue LED light feels like a non-treatment but has been shown by clinical studies to denature the acne bacteria, P acnes, so it can reduce the inflammation of acne breakouts. It’s good for everyone, and suits even the most sensitive skins as all it involves is lying down under a canopy of lights.

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LED Orange

LED Red Light Therapy

The LED lights used for this treatment are a high grade version of the sort you find in fairy lights; LED lights are graded, in the way that diamonds are graded, and the best-quality ones make the best devices. Red LED light feels like a non-treatment but has been shown by clinical studies to promote collagen growth and make skin healthier, smoother and more radiant. It’s good for everyone, and suits even the most sensitive skins as all it involves is lying down under a canopy of lights.

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Lip Fillers

Lip Filler

Lip injections are pretty straightforward. First, your chosen practitioner assesses your lips and discusses your concerns: What is it about your lips that bothers you? Are you looking for bigger lips? Or better defined lips? Or both? Or simply more hydration in your lips? You and your practitioner then decide on a treatment plan.

If you are contemplating lip fillers, please read the Staying Safe page on this site, just to keep yourself up to speed with why you need to choose a good, competent, safe practitioner to do your treatment.

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Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy involves injecting a special cocktail of skin reviving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins into the middle layers of the skin (the ‘mesoderm’, as it is called in France where the treatment originated) to hydrate, plump and revive the skin. The injections can be done freehand, or with a mechanised needle-gun, which sounds terrifying but is perfectly comfortable. Skin is left plumped up and looking radiant and glowing.

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Microneedling

Microneedling

A device – either a small roller covered in 3mm spikes or an automated pen-type device tipped with spiked stainless steel needles – is worked across the skin to create thousands of tiny puncture wounds. Why? Because the wound-healing response provoked as the skin races to repair itself releases growth factors that stimulate the growth of new collagen and elastin within the skin, which make it fresher and firmer than before. Skin hydration is improved, too, and pigmentation from sun damage is softened. The length of the needles on the automated devices can be adjusted from 0.5mm to 3mm.

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Microneedling

Microneedling facial

Microneedling involves using either a small roller covered in tiny sharp spikes, or a pen type device tipped with a grid of tiny sharp needles, to punch thousands of very small holes in the skin. That might sound like a terrible idea, but there are a couple of compelling reasons for doing it.

One reason is that making holes though the tough protective outer cells of the epidermis means that any skincare product that you slap on immediately afterwards can get direct access into the skin — so if that’s a high-tech serum with skin-repairing benefits, it will be more effective.

The other reason is that, if the needling is done with long enough needles, it can stimulate a wound-healing response in the skin which floods the skin with growth factors and prompts the skin to create new, firming collagen.

These two reasons tend to get run together and conflate in people’s minds into seeing microneedling as something really scary that will leave their faces smeared with pinpricks of their own blood (I looked up a Kim Kardashian post, which didn’t help).

But when microneedling is on offer as part of a facial, it will be done with short needles — say, 0.5mm long, which really don’t hurt as they don’t sink far enough into the skin to hit the nerves or to cause bleeding. By contrast, collagen-stimulating needling requires needles that are more like 3mm long — and yes, they will cause pinpoint bleeding, and you will need anaesthetic cream beforehand.

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Lip Perk

No-needle Lip Booster

This is a mini lip tweakment, which only takes five minutes and will only give a temporary enhancement to the lips. It is popular as a pre-party lip booster, because it is guaranteed that there will be no needle marks or bruises.

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Non-surgical rhinoplasty

You might not think that there is much that can be done to change the appearance of a nose by adding dermal filler to it — but then you may not have looked at the astonishing before and after pictures from the doctors who do this sort of work.

A quick trawl through the website or social media of any practitioner who does this will show how the treatment can make hooked or bumpy noses appear straight, and adjust the appearance of noses that tip down at the end, all in a matter of minutes. It’s a question of rebalancing the proportions rather than an optical illusion, yet grateful patients feel that this treatment is akin to magic.

Injections are usually placed at the top of the nose, where it joins the brow, on the bridge of the nose, and in the tip of the nose. Many doctors also inject the point between the nostrils, where the nose joins the upper lip, to help elevate the tip of the nose.

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PLP

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

This tweakment uses your own blood to provide a rejuvenating cocktail that is injected back into your skin. Around 15ml of blood is taken from your arm, as it would be in a blood test, then placed in a centrifuge for five minutes. This separates the red blood cells from the clear plasma, which contains platelets which can generate growth factors, which in turn can repair damage within the skin. This plasma is then immediately injected back into your face, either with a needle or with a cannula.

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Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency treatments are often described as ‘shrink-wrapping’ for the skin. Radiofrequency energy is a technology that can create heat within skin, and this heat causes the collagen to contract, believe it is damaged, and create new collagen to repair that damage. Radiofrequency treatments can be used for tightening the skin, and the best-known brands of the technology for this are Thermage, Exilis and Profound RF. Radiofrequency energy can also be used for re-surfacing the skin, which is done by devices such as Endymed and Intracel. creating many small channels of damage into the skin

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Radiofrequency Facial

Radiofrequency Facial

Radiofrequency energy is a technology that can create heat within skin, and this heat causes the collagen to contract, believe it is damaged, and create new collagen to repair the damage. The amount of energy used in a Radiofrequency facial such as the Venus Freeze will be much less than that used in a clinical treatment, but it is enough to create a small but noticeable amount of tightening in the skin, and this will be more pronounced after repeated sessions.

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Skin Peel

Skin Peels

Skin peels or chemical peels are used to reduce wrinkling and pigmentation of the skin, which they do by encouraging the top layer of the skin to shed. Old-style skin peels tended to burn away a good deal of the skin surface  — because then the new skin that grew back would be free from the lines and pigmentation that had been there before — but today, practitioners prefer to offer a course of lighter peels which are less painful and less challenging but also give great results.

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Skin Peel Facial

Skin-peeling Facial

This sort of treatment – such as the iS Clinical Fire & Ice facial – involves a small amount of pampering, in the form of skin cleansing and massage, but is mostly about the effects – first an exfoliating glycolic peel, and then a soothing, cooling and hydrating mask, to calm down the skin. The result is clearer-looking, more radiant and better hydrated skin.

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Threadlifting

Thread Lifting

Physically lifting the sagging tissues of the face through the placement of long, dissolveable sutures, each threaded through the skin tissues with a large needle, then pulled tight (there are cones along the sutures that hold the skin tissues in their new, lifted position). It  sounds barbaric but this process is increasingly popular for providing an instant, non-surgical face lift that improves the contours of the face and tightens up a softening jawline.

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Tixel

Tixel

Like lasers and radiofrequency and ultrasound, Tixel creates a trauma to the skin, which stimulates the skin’s wound-healing mechanism, in order to generate the production of new collagen and elastic which results in smoother, firmer, tighter skin. But unlike those other technologies, Tixel does this just by using heat. One practitioner described it to me as the equivalent of a ‘waffle iron for your crow’s feet’. It is the only one of these technologies that can be used on the eyelids.

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HIFU

Ultherapy

Ultherapy is a brand of High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU). This is a technology that works below the surface of the skin to lift and tighten it and Ultherapy has FDA clearance for its claims to do just this. Where the beam is focussed, it damages the skin tissues to create a tightening, lifting and wound healing response. That means you get a small, initial tightening effect, then a greater lifting effect over the next six months as the collagen within the skin is remodelled and tightened.

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Botox

Wrinkle Relaxing Injections

Wrinkle-relaxing injections soften the appearance of frown lines and other ‘dynamic’ wrinkles which form where we use facial muscles to form expressions. Botox is the best-known brand of wrinkle-relaxant; the others above are mentioned just so that you know what they are. All these products are forms of botulinum toxin A.

The product is injected into the muscles responsible for making these expressions, to weaken them for three-six months, which in turn will, for example, soften your frown lines, or lift downturned corners of the mouth.

Read More