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Non-surgical facial rejuvenation technologies have ramped up several notches with the introduction of Infini, and a clinical study claiming it is up to 49 percent as effective as a surgical facelift.

As little as 10 years ago the answer to sagging facial contours and wrinkled, lax skin was a choice between the scalpel or ageing graciously. Then non-surgical rejuvenation technologies came along and revolutionised the face of ageing.

Devices harnessing energy sources such as light (laser), radiofrequency and ultrasound allowed consumers to achieve a firmer, younger-looking appearance without the invasiveness of surgery, its expense and the healing downtime involved.

This, in turn, allowed them to prolong the need for cosmetic plastic surgery (if that was ever on their radar) or avoid it altogether.

Now non-surgical facial rejuvenation has ramped up several notches with Infini, a treatment described as “3D Micro-Needling Fractional Radio Frequency (MFR)”.

A clinical study conducted among 499 participants in five countries showed that Infini could be up to 49 percent as effective as a surgical facelift.

When asked to trial Infini at cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson’s Sydney clinic (the first in Australia with the technology), I wasn’t exactly skeptical but, as a specialist writer in cosmetic anti-ageing for more than five years (and with a great personal interest in subject for years prior to that), I have heard my share of extravagant product claims.

I have also had a number of non-surgical facial firming/rejuvenating treatments over the years. While they certainly made a difference, it was of the subtle kind that attracted comments from others like “you look well – have you been on holidays?” rather than seeing it for myself in the mirror. Because the improvements are gradual, over a period of 3-6 months as collagen in the dermis is regenerated, it’s hard to see these changes for yourself.

After the first session of Infini (two down, one to go), I began to notice distinct improvements within about two weeks. It wasn’t that I was staring in the mirror watching for results – it was catching random glimpses of myself in glass reflections (the latter are way worse than mirrors as they tend to exaggerate every groove and depression. Or maybe they just tell the plainer truth!).

The hollows under my eyes appeared less … well … hollow, my jawline seemed firmer and my mouth corners not so ☹. In the mirror my skin looked fresher. Llnes weren’t as pronounced around my eyes and pigmented patches were lighter. Overall my complexion looked and felt more hydrated and it absorbed product more effectively.

My skin is definitely improving all the time and I still have one session to go. I’m told I’ll see optimal results 3-6 months after my final treatment.

One not-so-great by-product is that the intensive process of cell renewal generated by Infini seems to have dislodged all the murky stuff that lay beneath and brought it to the surface. For about a month I was getting breakouts, particularly around my chin and lip area. I’m told this is a good thing and a sign Infini is doing its work. Thankfully the eruptions have now subsided but I delayed my final Infini treatment as a result.

So, what is Infini? 

Non-surgical rejuvenation technologies using radiofrequency (RF) heat the dermis (the second of the skin’s three layers) to stimulate the production of new collagen and, so, renew and tighten the skin. Because RF doesn’t affect the epidermis (surface of the skin) there’s no way of telling what effect it is having underneath if the setting is too high – until it’s too late and the patient is burnt.

By using a “micro-needling” handpiece that creates fractional micro-holes in epidermis, higher levels of RF can be delivered to the dermis with more predictable results than RF used alone. Micro-needling is also well documented to generate production of new collagen in its own right.

This all means more dramatic results. It also meant my face was left beetroot red immediately after treatment, and it took up to a day for the red-pink blush to fully subside. But more of that in shortly…

What does an Infini treatment involve?

I was told there could be pain or discomfort, but I’ve heard that before. Yeah, yeah. yeah. I consider myself an aficionado of these treatments and, combined with extensive corrective dental work over the years, have a high pain threshold.

So maybe I was just too cocky. I won’t lie…it hurt. Quite a bit.

After two applications of numbing cream at 20-minute intervals, Hannah, my designated therapist, got down to biz. There were to be three “passes” over my face and upper neck of decreasing intensity. Hannah started on my forehead and worked down (with extra attention to the droopiest and most lined areas), along systematic lines. On each “line” there were up to five short, sharp pulses of micro-needles delivering RF.

Each pulse of the first “pass” jolted me and I asked for micro-breaks. The second pass was easier and by the third it was bearable. It was all over in about 30 minutes.

Redness is an oft-cited side effect of skin rejuvenation treatments. I’ve rarely suffered any but in this case it was no lie, either. My face was bright red (mainly the result of the micro-needling) but fortunately the clinic recommended Synergie Minerals’ Mineralwhip Antioxidant Cream Foundation as the ultimate post-procedure cover-up. Although light and silky, it covered the redness so no one could tell I’d had anything done. I went straight on to a meeting.

My skin was still a bit red, then pink for a day after each of my two sessions so far and felt somewhat dry and flaky for up to a week.

Is Infini for you?

Dr Hogdkinson says Infini is ideal for those concerned by moderate signs of facial drooping and skin laxity who aren’t ready for, or want to avoid cosmetic surgery.

“However, if a patient has passed a certain point, I will recommend they save their money for when they are ready to have a surgical rejuvenation procedure,” he says. “Otherwise they will be wasting their money and I don’t condone that.”

Although I found Infini … uncomfortable … I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it in light of the results I have achieved so far. No pain, no gain as the cliché goes.

I would, however, advise accepting the offer of a pre-procedure painkiller or sedative (in that event, make sure you have a lift organised home, or get a taxi)!

You don’t have to go the “whole hog”, either, as I did. Patients can have either the superficial RF or the micro-needling as individual treatments. This is ideal for younger patients and those who just want a subtle boost.

What anti-ageing treatments have you tried and loved (or hated!). Tell us in the comments!