Taking years off your face without the stitches and pain of plastic surgery sounds like a dream, but does it work? Us Weekly’s Marc Lupo consulted Heather Struhl, PA-C. of A. Joshua Zimm’s Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery practice in New York City to try Forma — a non-invasive “facelift” procedure that uses radio frequency to target deep into the skin’s layers to improve skin elasticity and build collagen.
A few details about me: I’m 33-years-old and have maintained a dermatologist recommended skincare routine that includes daily use of sunscreen, moisturizer and a prescription retinoid for years. I also aim to drink a gallon of water each day. I may not seem like the ideal facelift candidate to you, but with balancing a busy work and social calendar, subway delays and the sad effects of gravity, life eventually catches up with you. So when Struhl first talked to me about trying Forma, I was curious, but had a bit of hesitation. I was afraid it might hurt or worse — I might not like the results. I decided to meet with Struhl at Dr. Zimm’s office in NYC to learn more.
So what exactly is the treatment and how does it work? “Forma is an FDA -approved procedure that stimulates the production of new collagen and improves skin laxity and it utilizes radio frequency, energy technology to heat the deeper layers of the skin to a controlled target temperature,” Struhl explains to Us. The procedure, which can be performed anywhere on the body, is most commonly requested for the lower face, including the jawline and upper neck. “We do have patients that come in requesting Forma for their upper face around their forehead. It actually gives them a nice little lift of their eyebrows and patients feel like their eyes look more open and they look relaxed and years younger,” Struhl notes.
Forma stimulates collagen and elastin production, which makes the skin tighter and it slows down the signs of aging and actually can take off years of aging. It’s important to note that everyone ages at different rates, so this a great treatment to do in addition to getting regular facials — which treat the superficial layer of the skin. Forma actually targets the deeper areas and results in collagen stimulation, which is something that’s useful in the battle against aging.
My experience with Forma:
After a quick assessment with Struhl, we agreed that I’d treat both sides of my face and under the neck area for a noticeably more sculpted and lifted appearance. To achieve maximum results, I committed to six separate treatments — spaced over six weeks. Each treatment would require about 45 minutes of time.
To begin, Struhl laid me back completely flat and did a quick cleansing of my face. Next, she applied a gel similar to what doctors might use during an ultrasound. For the first 20 minutes, Struhl focused on the right side of my face. As the wand passed in a circular motion around my cheeks, I immediately noticed how relaxed I felt. It was like receiving a hot stone massage — but on my face! Struhl then moved the wand in upward motions around my cheekbones, jawline and neck to help contour and lift the skin. At moments, I felt so relaxed I almost dozed off to sleep.
After about 20 minutes, the right side of my face was complete and Struhl asked me to sit up. I checked my reflection in the mirror and the results were stunning. The right side of my face was visibly more sculpted and lifted, but I still looked like “me.” After another 20 minutes or so, my first treatment was complete. This time, it was more difficult to point out the difference in my appearance as the changes were consistent on both sides. As for downtime or associated side effects post treatment, I noticed my face was rosy for about 5 minutes, but that didn’t stop me from hailing a cab and heading to work, business as usual.
The following five treatments mirrored the first treatment exactly… but something amazing was slowly happening. After my third treatment, friends, strangers, even an employee at my local salad shop noticed a change in my appearance. I too noticed a difference. My skin looked more youthful and lifted, especially under my chin. To say I was pleased with my experience would be an understatement. It’s definitely a confidence booster.
For those who are looking for a refreshed appearance without breaking the bank, Forma checks that box too. For a single procedure, Struhl estimates it could cost a patient up to $620. (A single treatment is a great option for someone who is looking for a boost before a big event like a red carpet appearance or a wedding.) To achieve longer lasting results (lasting up to 6 years) it’s recommended that a patient complete six treatments — which can cost around $3,550. I’d say money well spent.
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