Millennials are tackling aging differently from the baby boomer generation before them. This generation wants instant fixes, be it injectables to stave off aging or makeup to conceal it. Where our mothers would have saved up their money to buy face cream, the younger generation is spending their earnings on niche skincare brands and treatments that deliver proven results in a short timeframe. We're the generation that wants everything yesterday, so why wait for a cream to work? That's not to say we aren't invested in a skincare routine; it's just that we're willing to upgrade it in the name of perfect skin.
Nothing is off-limits, be it dermarolling or dermaplaning, Botox, or light and laser facials. But with glowing skin being the complexion du jour (rather than a fixation on ironed out faces), more and more people are turning to mesotherapy, a treatment where a cocktail of nutrients are delivered into the skin via a needle meant to pep up and support the complexion. Despite needles being involved, it feels less invasive than Botox and fillers and while those tackle wayward lines and less than pillowy pouts, this treatment gives the whole complexion much-needed life.
Keep scrolling to find out more about mesotherapy's glow-boosting powers.
What Is Mesotherapy and How Does It Work?
We called on one of London's most in-demand skin experts, Frances Prenna-Jones, MD, to reveal just how mesotherapy works. "It's a procedure involving tiny injections into the surface of the skin," she tells us. "These injections contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other components naturally found in the skin, such as hyaluronic acid that diminishes with age."
Though many turn to mesotherapy for its flow-inducing properties on the face, it's also often used on the body or even on the scalp. "There are different types of mesotherapy that can be administered, each designed and tailored depending on what the concerns such as collagen loss, hair loss, cellulite, or even excess fat," Prenna-Jones says.
Those dealing with pockets of stubborn fat and cellulite can utilize mesotherapy to target areas such as the abdomen, buttocks, and even arms.
The Benefits of Mesotherapy
- Targets cellulite
- Stimulates collagen production
- Smooths wrinkles and fine lines
- Improves symmetry of the face
- Improves the texture of skin
While mesotherapy is used for a range of issues, it's recently become especially popular when used on the face, to impart a youthful look. "The physical technique stimulates fibroblasts to produce new collagen and elastin," explains Prenna-Jones. "Then, think of the fibroblasts as depleted of nutrients—hyaluronic acid, vitamin, minerals, essential amino acids, growth factors, stem cells, etc.—you can then tailor what nutrients you want to give the fibroblasts, according to the patient's needs and age."
Mesotherapy is also not a filler, so as Prenna-Jones explains, "it cannot replace volume loss, however, it will prolong the life of a filler and it will stimulate collagen and elastin where there is loss of volume and therefore improve plumpness on the face." It's also a solid choice for those looking to get a more symmetrical look. "Mesotherapy is brilliant for perpendicular lip lines, dry dehydrated lips and the barcode wrinkles patients get adjacent to the mouth and under the cheekbones," she says.
How to Prepare
There's not much you'll need to do in terms of preparation for mesotherapy, though some providers may warn you to discontinue the use of aspirin beforehand, which can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising after a procedure.
You should also discontinue the use of products containing retinol a few days before your treatment, as it can irritate the skin and make it especially sensitive. Also, it's a good idea to abstain from alcoholic beverages at least 24 hours prior to treatment (alcohol can thin the blood and increase your risk of bruising and bleeding). After your procedure, you'll want to use sunscreen, to protect the skin, and hold off on getting any other procedures (laser treatments, fillers or Botox, peels) until your skin fully heals.
Prenna-Jones also recommends you ask your provider questions about the procedure along the way: "Ask what they are injecting, ask how they do the treatment and most importantly of all ask for before and after pics and personal recommendations."
What to Expect
A mesotherapy treatment with Prenna-Jones takes 45 minutes, with the mesotherapy portion of the treatment taking around 10 to 15 minutes.
As for pain, well, Prenna-Jones says that depends on your tolerance. "It depends what you mean by hurt! It is not pain-free but really not uncomfortable either," she says. "Patients come for 30 minutes before the treatment and have aesthetic cream and red light applied to reduce pain and improve the treatment results."
Mesotherapy vs. Botox
Though it's a popular procedure for weight loss, mesotherapy has more recently been marketed as an alternative to Botox or fillers like Restylane, as it is meant to plump the skin by building collagen. And while it might help treat wrinkles on the face, mesotherapy is not exactly a replacement for other procedures, like Botox. While Botox prevents wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing the facial muscles, mesotherapy works to nourish the skin, layer by layer, according to Prenna-Jones.
"Botox works on dynamic wrinkles, wrinkles caused by movement, so those types of wrinkles are always best treated with Botox," Prenna-Jones explains. "Mesotherapy will improve the texture of the skin where Botox is used."
At Home vs. In-Office
If you're interested in exploring mesotherapy but not quite committed to getting a full treatment, you have a couple of at-home options, which aim to replicate results. Keep in mind, however, that at-home treatments won't be able to get as deep into the skin as an in-office treatment.
111 Skin Meso Infusion Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C Micro Mask ($160 for four) is rich in skin-brightening vitamin C and hydrating hyaluronic acid, with tiny dissolvable micro-structures that look like small needles. These are meant to help drive the active ingredients deep down into the skin, mimicking the in-clinic treatment. The Filorga Meso-Mask ($64) is also inspired by mesotherapy, and promises to brighten, tighten, and smooth out the skin—no needles required.
Potential Side Effects
Depending upon where on your body you have the procedure performed, you may expect possible bruising or swelling at the injection site and possibly some sensitivity.
In general, a mesotherapy treatment ranges from $250 to around $600, so it's roughly on-par with Botox.
As with treatments such as Botox or fillers, your provider may ask that you refrain from strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours post-treatment, and stay out of the sun for a few days. If you experience minor discomfort, an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol will help.
The Final Takeaway
Though the results aren't as drastic as that of Botox or fillers, mesotherapy is a solid choice for those looking for a little boost or added glow. Pain-wise, it's on par (or even less painful than) many in-office procedures, making it an easy treatment that you could likely get on your lunch break (without anyone being the wiser).
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