Old vs new house

Venus Concept and You: What To Do If You DIDN’T Wear Sunscreen

By George Gillson, MD, PhD

Venus Concept and You: What To Do If You DIDN’T Wear Sunscreen

As threatened in the last post, now I’m going to discuss some technology which can improve the appearance and texture of skin, particularly sun-damaged/aged skin. This could be referred to as “facial rejuvenation” or more specifically, “non-surgical facial rejuvenation.”  There are many approaches to this and the one I want to talk about here is the FDA-approved Venus Viva™ MD device developed by a Canadian medical aesthetics device company called Venus Concept, located in Ontario and founded in 2002.

Delivering two different treatments used in rotation, this device is able to both firm and tighten skin but also resurfaces or improves the texture of skin (smoothing out and reducing skin imperfections such as acne scars, deep lines and wrinkles, large pores and stretch marks.) Some people refer to this combined treatment as a Nonsurgical Facelift.

In order to explain how this is achieved, I first need to review the structure of the skin:

Parts of skin

The epidermis contains the squamous cells that make a waterproof coating when they die and become compacted. It is about 0.1 millimeter (mm) thick and that’s about as thick as an average piece of paper (0,05 to 0.1 mm).  Below that lies the dermis which contains collagen and elastin proteins that give the skin its toughness and elasticity. The dermis can range anywhere from 1 to 4 mm in thickness.

I know, I know.  You’re saying to yourself, ”Tell someone who cares.” Hang on!

If we want to significantly change the appearance of skin, we basically need to prod the dermis to make more collagen and elastin. One way to do this is through gentle heating of the epidermis and dermis. Gentle heating could be delivered to intact skin via infrared radiation such as what you would get in an infrared sauna, as well as via radiofrequency (RF) radiation as I discussed previously for firming up tissues in the vagina. (Red lasers might also be used for heating but the energy disposition is too focused and intense.)

Another way to induce the dermis to make more collagen and elastin is through physical trauma that extends through the epidermis and into the dermis.This can be done by what is called microneedling where needles are inserted into the skin in a grid pattern to depths of a few millimeters. This causes tissue damage and bleeding but also stimulates repair. It can be quite painful and requires that the skin be pre-treated with a numbing preparation beforehand. Alternatively, an array of tiny electrode pins (also in a grid pattern) can be applied to the skin, perhaps pricking but not penetrating the skin to any extent. The pins deliver radiofrequency pulses into the skin and creating tiny, fine columns of disrupted, damaged tissue, extending well into the first millimeter of dermis. This approach is less painful than microneedling.

The Venus Viva™ MD device uses the gentle heating approach, delivering RF pulses through an applicator tip known as the DiamondPolar™ Applicator. The twist is that the applicator also delivers pulses of magnetic energy which helps to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. Two different sets of poles or electrodes arranged in a specific pattern deliver the combination pulses. The configuration of the poles gives flexibility in treating around the eyes and other smaller areas that are difficult to treat with competing applicator models. A gel needs to be applied to the skin during the treatment to allow the applicator tip to glide smoothly over it.

Venus vivia

The Venus Viva™ MD device also uses another applicator tip known as the NanoFractional™ Radio Frequency applicator. This tip has the array of pins I was talking about which create the grid pattern of tiny, precise conical “fingers” of disrupted/damaged tissue. A numbing cream is applied prior to treatment with the NanoFractional™ applicator but I need to re-emphasize that this is not microneedling, which is significantly more painful, as outlined already. Another advantage of the NanoFractional™ Radio Frequency applicator is that it only needs to be passed once over the treatment area, to be effective.

In the below left image, the pattern of black squares is actually the array of pins used to deliver the RF

Skin tool image

This image below contrasts and compares the approaches taken with the two Venus Viva™ MD applicators. Note that the “fingers” of disrupted tissue appearing in the image on the left are actually quite tiny: If shown to scale with the applicator tip, they would be invisible.

feature of the Venus Viva MD technology is that it uses sophisticated algorithms to control the spatial pattern

An interesting feature of the Venus Viva™ MD technology is that it uses sophisticated algorithms to control the spatial pattern, intensity and timing of the pulses of energy delivered to the skin.  This ensures precise control of the speed, uniformity, depth and lateral extent of heating. This has apparently been an issue with other similar devices on the market.

In practice a course of Venus Viva™ MD treatments delivering a Nonsurgical Facelift might look like this:

Base Treatment Cycle
NanoFractional™ RF resurfacing treatment (addresses skin texture) x one treatment

Wait one week

Follow with three DiamondPolar™ firming and tightening treatments once weekly

Repeat this cycle for two more months.

The Nonsurgical Facelift treatment therefore takes three months but the skin continues to respond for another three months. Six months might seem like a long time but the results can be significant as shown by several examples of Before and After photos.

Viva before and after treatment
Viva before and after treatment

Closing Remarks

As you might have surmised by now, this treatment will be available this summer at the EvolveWell clinic! It has some significant advantages compared to other devices using similar approaches including better flexibility and control over the delivery of RF/magnetic energy to the skin, better recovery time and less discomfort. Between low-tech strategies to prevent further skin aging, and high-tech solutions to repair the effects of too much unprotected sun exposure, you are now well-equipped to continue to have fun in the sun for many years ahead.

Please don’t hesitate to call or arrange a visit to get more information!

George Gillson MD PhD

Author: George Gillson, MD, PHD, CCFP
EvolveWell Medical Director