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Dermatologist-approved facial toning devices for a needle-free face lift

With so much new technology at our fingertips, the old saying “beauty is pain” is a thing of the past. From facial massages to microcurrent devices you can use in the comfort of your own home, improving the appearance of wrinkles and tightening the skin has never been easier or more accessible.

Surgical facelifts continue to be popular in the UK, following a decline in the number of procedures performed in 2019. Last year, face and neck lift surgery became the sixth most popular cosmetic procedure for women in the UK.

Despite this, experts are seeing an overall decline in surgical procedures, with the latest figures from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) showing a 16% drop in the number of operations performed in 2023. This is largely due to more people opting for non-surgical methods to achieve younger-looking skin.

To find out what you need to know about these new beauty advancements, we spoke to renowned dermatologist Ada Ooi, who shared her best tips and favorite tools to get your face looking fresh without the need for a needle or scalpel.

Renowned dermatologist Ada Ooi shares her tips for getting a facelift at home. (Ada Ooi)Renowned dermatologist Ada Ooi shares her tips for getting a facelift at home. (Ada Ooi)

Renowned dermatologist Ada Ooi shares her tips for getting a facelift at home. (Ada Ooi)

Ooi is a celebrity beautician to Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley and more. Her holistic approach to wellness and beauty focuses on treating skin concerns from the inside out, by examining everything from a client’s temperature to their tongue, as well as discussing lifestyle and emotional factors that can affect their skin.

Aging is a completely normal and inevitable process that every person goes through. However, many people may feel concerned or even surprised by the changes that aging brings, especially in the way we look.

The changes in our facial structure begin in our mid-20s, says Ooi. “The structure of your face begins to change based on the density of fat in your cheeks and the fibrous network of your skin. We start to sag from the middle triangle of our face.

“The first thing you’ll see is that your tear ducts and the area under your eyes start to sag, and lines gradually form from the sides of your nose to the outer corner of your mouth. While all this is happening, your cheeks and chin also start to sag because those areas are quite heavy. We’re not only fighting our own aging process and internal physiology, but also gravity all the time.

“You might start to see a more pronounced chin line, maybe a double chin. The skin on your neck is very thin because it’s designed to move a lot as you move your head up and down and side to side. It won’t be that tight, dense skin forever, so it will start to sag and give less support to the face.”

As we age, our face is constantly changing. Some people may want to start looking at “preventative” techniques and methods to slow down the aging process, and Ooi says that while people can start as early as their twenties, she recommends being more proactive about it in your early thirties.

While many social media tips for achieving a facelift focus on smoothing out forehead wrinkles and firming up skin, Ooi’s most important piece of advice is to pay special attention to your jawline.

This is because the jaw muscles are strong, making them large and heavy, which can put strain on the face as our skin becomes thinner and less resistant to gravity.

“We have so much tension in the jaw that I would really recommend trying to reduce it as much as possible,” says the esthetician. “There’s a really strong muscle in the jaw, and you can massage it to make sure the fascia around it stays flexible and mobile, which will help prevent sagging.”

Genetics and lifestyle factors also play a huge role in how you age, which can lead to certain areas aging faster or losing their firmness than you would like. While you can’t change your genetics, you can certainly make lifestyle changes to slow down the process.

“Lifestyle is so important because it affects the quality of the skin and how well the fiber structure can support it,” Ooi explains. Like many dermatologists, she is a big advocate of avoiding the sun.

“If you’re constantly in the sun, it changes the fundamental DNA of your skin. A lot of the elastin, the fibers, the network structure can be damaged by sun exposure,” she says.

“Excessive sun exposure also leads to enlarged pores. So if you have a lot of enlarged pores with a weak fiber network, add gravity and aging to that, your skin becomes fragile and stretches easily, leading to sagging and drooping.”

Ooi is a big fan of gua sha, a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves using a special tool to massage and “scrape” the skin. The tool is typically made of polished stones like jade or rose quartz, but some modern gua shas are made of metal with smoothed edges.

Gua sha skin massage using pressure also stimulates blood flow, restoring oxygen and vitality to the skin.

“I once saw a comment that gua sha was just a trend,” she says. “But I don’t think it was ever a trend. It’s an ancient practice that was used by dynasties in China for well-being massages.

“If you have a gua sha tool at home, use it! It’s not just a TikTok or Instagram trend, it’s really useful for the specific issue we’re trying to solve, which is loose, sagging skin.”

To sculpt your face with gua sha, Ooi recommends the following ritual, which should be performed at least once a week:

✨ Apply facial oil to help the gua sha glide over your skin
✨ Place the edge of the gua sha on your chin and apply light pressure
✨ Pull it along your cheek towards your ear, then rotate it so you can pull it down along the side of your neck.
✨ Gently move the tool across your skin as you reach your ear, then again as you reach the point where your neck meets your shoulder.

“These are lymphatic collection points,” says Ooi. Massage this area, on both sides of your face, for as long as you like and according to what feels good.

✨ Using the edge of the tool, massage around the mouth and cheeks
✨ Gently press and pull the tool towards the temples
✨ Use gua sha to massage your jaw, especially where it meets your cheekbone
✨ Using the smaller end of the gua sha, massage under the eyebrows and sweep the tool up over the forehead towards the hairline.

ADA Approved Purchase: Microsculpt Gua Sha Joy Kit | £140 from 001 London

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you’ll find well-rated options on Amazon for under £10.

Rena Chris

Ooi also rates microcurrent facial tools highly. “It’s basically an electric current that works the muscles in your face,” she explains. “I would personally recommend a combination of gua sha and microcurrent, which we also offer in our clinic.

“Gua sha is really great for people who do it more often, on a daily basis, whereas microcurrent treatments are very effective at accentuating and training larger muscles like the cheeks and forehead.”

Foreo

Ada says, “There are different modes in this one device, the microcurrent is great for contouring under the cheekbones that need some extra lift. The pulse mode helps with lymphatic drainage, further enhancing the sculpting effect.”

£379 in Foreo

ZIIP HELLO

Ada says: “This is a large-sized device that uses microcurrent to tone and lift the skin. Not only is it easy to carry, as it is compact enough to fit in a small bag, but the conductive bulbs are relatively small, allowing for precision around the contours of the face.”

£379 at Currentbody

three-field

Ada says, “Radiofrequency uses electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the dermis layer where collagen is produced, triggering a regenerative and remodeling mechanism to produce collagen, with the long-term prospect of firming the skin from within. This model provides even heat distribution for optimal results.”

£562 in TRI POLLAR