As a 60-something female, Kate Swanson is well aware of the challenges facing women throughout their life in health, beauty, and fashion.
I’m at an age where, if I wasn’t such a coward, I'd be seriously considering cosmetic surgery—perhaps a thread lift or mini-facelift. But because I'm such a worrywart about the risks, I’ve been searching for a safer, non-surgical way to look youthful.
I'm very excited to report that I believe I've finally found one! It's phototherapy. I had a salon-based treatment, but you can buy an at-home version, too.
What impresses me about phototherapy is that it's genuinely no-risk, and yet I can really see the results on my skin.
I tried and researched several other options along the way. I'd like to share my experiences here— both my false starts and the light treatment itself.
Thinking of non-surgical facelifts, the first thing I thought of was CACI. I remember reading that Princess Diana used it!
I tried it, and wasn't too impressed at first until I discovered why. I'd totally misunderstood the kind of results it could deliver.
In fact, most people do sign up for the treatment with the wrong expectations. For more information on what it can and can't do, read my CACI Non-Surgical Facelift Review.
My next thought was to try the "Sixty Minute Facelift"–Thermage. It's a powerful radiofrequency treatment that stimulates your natural collagen to grow.
Then I researched and discovered a few Thermage horror stories. Used incorrectly, Thermage will purge fat from under the skin. That's great if you're using it to treat a flabby stomach or loose underarms. But for most women, the last thing they want is to lose volume from their face, especially if that loss is uneven.
In the early days of Thermage, many women were left with dimples and dents in their faces, while others simply looked gaunt. I already have sunken areas under my cheekbones, so I certainly didn't want to risk making it worse!
Particularly as it seems even some plastic surgeons think it's a waste of time.
Rejuvalight and Omnilux
While researching Thermage, I came across another alternative—phototherapy. There are several salon treatments, but the most popular are Omnilux Revive and Rejuvalight (Lumiere Lift).
Phototherapy is gentler than IPL or laser, as it uses visible light. It's been used for years in medicine to accelerate healing and treat skin cancers. There are two different lights: blue light destroys bacteria in the skin and clears up acne but of course, it was the red anti-aging light that interested me. The red light treatment:
- Stimulates collagen production (which lifts, contours and plumps the skin)
- Improves hydration
- Reduces wrinkles
I Googled, and found research results that confirmed the benefits. Even better, hundreds of happy former acne sufferers and de-wrinkled women, without one report of side effects or damage! That sounded like my kind of facelift! But was it so safe it wouldn’t actually do much, like CACI? There was only one way to find out—try it!
Light therapy can be delivered in two ways.
- Omnilux Revive uses a large bank of lights that you simply lie under.
- Rejuvalight Lumiere Lift (and others like it) use a small hand-held device that concentrates the light. The therapist strokes the device over your skin.
Just lying under the Omnilux Revive is relaxing but the light is very, very, very bright, even with goggles. It does freak some people out. If it affects you, then the Rejuvalight-style device would suit you better.
However, apart from that, which style you choose is purely down to personal preference and convenience. It so happened that my closest salon (Paris Medispa in Sydney) had the Rejuvalight system, so that's the course I signed up for. Here’s how it went:
- Facial #1
A full pampering facial as well as 20 minutes of Rejuvalight. The light treatment was completely painless, no heat or prickling, and in fact no sensation at all. My skin looked nice afterwards, but no more than I’d expect after such an intensive facial.
- Facial #2
This was shorter, just a cleanse, Rejuvalight treatment, and a 5-minute face mask. Spent the afternoon feeling shiny (no foundation). Heading home, I wondered if my husband would notice shiny—er, glowing—skin. Did he? What do you think!
- Facial #3
Mentioned my post-facial shine to my therapist, who offered to “do my face” after treatment. I was in a rush, so I settled for a quick sponge-over with mineral foundation. Back at work, looking at myself in the mirror in the ladies' loo (why are those lights always so unflattering?), I’m struck by how good my skin looks. Is that the Rejuvalight or the mineral foundation? If it’s the foundation, I’m buying ten gallons!
After cleansing my face at bedtime, I still look fresher. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though. If I'd realized Rejuvalight was actually going to do something, I'd have taken a "Before" photo!
- Facial #4
I took my own make-up but can't see to apply it in the mood lighting in the salon. Later, in the loo at work applying make-up, the pigmentation on my cheeks looks lighter.
My Wow! Moment
- Facial #5
I had a real “Wow!” moment after this treatment—but you'll laugh when I tell you what it was.
Let me explain for the young folks. We older women have an image of our face that’s stuck back in our 30’s before it all started to head south. Every time we look in the mirror, there’s a split second when we think, “Who’s that old bat?” before we realize that, actually, that’s us.
So when I say I looked in the mirror the morning after treatment #5 and recognized myself immediately—it really was a huge deal! I felt like I was looking at a face I haven’t seen for about 10 years.
Sure, I still have wrinkles—but they've shrunk back to the edges of my eyes instead of creeping down my cheeks. My skin feels firm and resilient instead of papery. I still look a bit sunken under the eyes, but the dark shadows have gone and there’s no puffiness. My double chin is still there, but my jowls have really lifted. It’s as if the Rejuvalight machine really is winding back the clock.
- Facial #6
I mention my “Wow!” moment to my therapist and we speculate that this is why some of her clients are thrilled with the results from Rejuvalight, whereas others are less impressed.
A surgical facelift can make you look as young and beautiful as you can afford. All Rejuvalight can do is give you back whatever beauty you once had. If you weren’t happy with the way you looked in your thirties, that may not be enough for you.
Overall, I’m delighted with my Rejuvalight experience. The initial course of treatments required an investment in money and time. But now, a once-a-month booster is all I need to maintain my skin.
My only problem is deciding whether to continue treating myself to a monthly salon treatment (with all that lovely pampering thrown in), or save money by buying a home version.
Treatment undertaken at Paris Medispa, Level 1, 22 Market Street, Sydney, tel. (02) 9299 4848. The author has no affiliation with the salon, except as a satisfied customer!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Kate Swanson
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on January 19, 2015:
The salon treatment is great, it's not so trendy now so you may find salons offering good deals. A home device works the same IF you buy a good one and IF you have the patience to use it. I wrote an article about that too
Josephineji on January 19, 2015:
you mentioned Omnilux Revive and Rejuvalight (Lumiere Lift) and how it worked for you. Would you recommend the salon treatment or will the home device do the same? Thx Josephine
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on April 09, 2012:
DesertGal, if you ALREADY look 15 to 20 years younger than your real age, then perhaps your skin is already in such good condition that it can't get any further benefit from any of these treatments.
I had the same experience with CACI. It promises the exact same benefits as the red light therapy, but as I'd already got the benefits from that, there was nothing further to be gained with the CACI.
Thanks for the feedback on the thread lift. I was thinking that might be my next step - I may think again!
DesertGal on April 08, 2012:
I have had 19 treatments of the red light and see no difference. I have 3 months of this and hopefully will see some improvement at the end of this time. I have had Juvederm which was a waste also. $1600 (and that was at a discount), and a whole lot of pain,(more like torture). Tried a thread lift which also did not work. Threads broke and had to be removed. Tried Oil of Olay Pro X products which didn't do a thing. If this red light therapy does not work then I am just going to forget it and just age gracefully. Not really that bad as my skin has been in good condition (per my dermatologist) and I look 15 to 20 years younger than my biological age.
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on August 07, 2011:
Thanks for the info. :)
I understand that my cousin was impressed by the results, though.
I'm going to look into both ideas, further.
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on August 07, 2011:
Ah, galvanic is another system. It's sometimes called a non-surgical facelift but it's not. You use the galvanic device with moisturisers and serums. All galvanic does is drive the cream deeper into the skin - so the results all depend on how good the serum or moisturizer is.
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on August 07, 2011:
Hi again :)
No, it was something different that my cousin was describing ~ the 'Nu Skin Galvanic Spa'.
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on August 07, 2011:
I've written to ask my cousin ~ so I'll see what she says :)
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on August 07, 2011:
Trish, Thermage is another type of non-surgical facelift. It's more invasive than the Lumiere lift and has more risks, but also gives greater results - so it's a trade-off.
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on August 06, 2011:
Very interesting for us ladies!
My cousin recommended one of these ~ but I cannot remember the name. I'm wondering if it might have been the 'thermage'. I shall have to check this out :)
Thanks for the info :)
M.S. Ross on March 14, 2011:
Ha! -- I was managing my HubPages earlier today, signed out, and later, happened to start looking into what a Lumiere lift is. I searched all over the web with mediocre results, and then found a link that (finally) provided the information I sought: right back here at HubPages! Thanks, Marisa!
plastic surgeons sydney on December 31, 2010:
why does everyone afraid to get it old? do they know it's a part of life cycle?
tyf on November 26, 2010:
Skin treatments (peels, lasers) are usually necessary
to rid the epidermas (the outer layer of skin) of "hard" mineral silt left from daily showering (almost every water supply--"tap"--is pumped out to the public from the bottom of reservoirs: otherwise reservoirs would
be just mud pits within a few years).
For clear healthy (respirating) skin, don't shower: the best skin cleaner/conditioner is nutritionally profound sweat! Showering everyday (with hard or soft water)ultimately does no thing but damage.
This isn't to say what one ingests (swallows or tries to eat) isn't still the number one deciding factor: but take a look at the shower stall after just one week
of daily showering; that crude--lime scale--is also being deposited onto the surface of the skin.
After a period of time, it starts to fill pores--it
gets a grip or there's silt left from the day before
for more silt to build upon--and the crust prevents
the skin from proper respiration (expelling
gases, sweating). James Bond: 'Goldfinger'
(and GF died! from his skin not being able
I bath w/surgical water(store bought distilled that's been boiled); I add just enough cool distilled water to be comfortable) water: and it's a daily sponge bath for
the cleanest/healthiest skin. In a pinch or (if a worry is to hurry) white distilled vinegar rids the skin of topical debris and deodorizes any smell, while acting
as an anti-inflammatory (calming) and topical anticeptic result (once dry, the vinegar leaves no scent whatsoever) and best of all, it is a "debriding"
agent or it removes mineral silt. The use of distilled vinegar as a skin treatment dates back to the Egyptians: the oldest remedy is still the best...
beauty-lasers on November 18, 2010:
What a great article! It is so informative and useful and reading about someone else's experience is invaluable - thank you.
I am retailing a brand new, more technologically advanced personal skin laser for home treatments which has 12 lasers in it, both red and infrared (proper lasers, not LEDs), which uses low level laser light therapy (AKA soft laser or cold laser)to penetrate more deeply to stimulate collagen production and heal skin from within. There are no safety concerns and no unwanted side effects. So far, we have been delighted with the feedback from reviewers and customers reporting how their jawlines have firmed up, their acne is healing and they are generally thrilled.
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on November 11, 2010:
Refirme uses radio frequency (similar but not the same as Thermage) combined with IPL. There are some risks with Refirme (loss of fat in the face which can make you look more sallow) and results are subtle.
Triniti is a combination treatment which includes fractional laser, so it's bound to be more effective - but again, there are more risks associated and there is downtime after treatments.
Karen on November 11, 2010:
Thank you sooo much. I too had done research and had given thought to Baby Quasar. I will, without a doubt be ordering. I would like to know if anyone knows, how this compares to refirme treatments. There also is a triniti series that is supoose to be the bomb...but at 1000.00 a pop. Would love to hear any feedback and once again thankyou.
Nell Rose from England on March 16, 2010:
Hiya, thanks again. This one sounds really good, so if the other one doesn't work, I will try this one. Great stuff, and making me feel great about tomorrow with the facial. thanks nell
Thermage Dude on January 26, 2010:
I saw the results with a girl I was dating and was amazed at her transformation. She wanted Botox and some other invasive solutions. She decided to try the non invasive way and a friend suggested Thermage. I didn't see her for a dew days later. But she looked phenomenal. I suggest trying this before sticking needles.
Simply Soheila on December 17, 2009:
Thanks for the great hub, lots of wonderful information.
PSChannel from TX, United States on October 15, 2009:
Kudos on this wonderfully put experience of yours hub for everyone to cherish. I know this might sound a tad bit much but I really wish you had one of those before and after pics.
sbeakr on August 27, 2009:
I'll admit I've been obsessed with anti-aging and anti-gravity procedures since I was too young to even be thinking about them. Granted, I have an abiding interest in skin care in general...absolutely love these lucid, detailed hubs and all the real-world experience you share! Keep up the great work.
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on July 04, 2009:
Thanks Rik! Yes, I had noticed our HubPages experience is very similar. I used to live in the UK, too.
Rik Ravado from England on July 03, 2009:
Marisa - thanks for stopping by my hay fever hub - interesting phototherapy can deal with both wrinkles and hay fever.
Incidentally, I think of you as a hub-sister as we both joined around the same time, have roughly the same number of hubs, are about the same age and have similar Ad Sense experiences. Having said that we do live at opposite ends of the globe and i am a useless dancer!
Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on January 21, 2009:
Thanks, lifedancer. I've heard of the fat-dissolving machines but the only ones I've come across use ultrasound, not red light. There seems to be solid scientified evidence they work but the more academic studies say 2-3 inches rather than 5-6. Bad news is they can only use them on tummies, bums and thighs - I visualize myself with a slim torso but still with a double chin and fat flabby arms and wonder if it would be a good look!
lifedancer from California on January 21, 2009:
I no longer have my blog about my experiences with turning back the clock, but I, too, have investigated cool lasers (red light). You can buy your own for about $1500. They are also supposed to cause fat to "disolve" and/or be broken down to substances that are eliminated (the usual way) from the body. Claims of losing 5-6 inches, over several areas combined, after 5 treatments are common. I'd love to know if this works and how both can work.
bitsdawg on October 25, 2008:
Thanks for the hub. I actually saw a sign for this in my doctor's office and wondered about it.
VioletSun from Oregon/ Name: Marie on July 01, 2008:
I am also too chicken to do a facelift, especially after I know what they do to the face to "lift" it, so that option is out for me. The Rejuvalight procedure, which suggests it reveals the face we once had is very encouraging to me, sounds like a more natural way of bringing back youth to our face. A little vanity in my world never hurts. ;) Thanks for this information, as I had not heard of this procedure which surprises me, as I have done research on alternatives to cosmetic surgery, was even considering facial acupuncture.
Amber Arendsen from Solana Beach, Ca on June 16, 2008:
thanks for the great hub,
lifedancer from California on May 13, 2008:
Good info, thanks. Try Matryli for fine lines, it worked for me. My experience with Tighten was that after the little bit of swelling went down, no results. With Refirme, there is pain, but again I don't see results. It's supposed to tighten the skin, get rid of broken blood vessels and brown spots. You can read my other experiences with turning back the clock, SmartLipo, on my hub page. I'm interested in hearing from people on their experiences and results with various treatments.
Rhonda on May 03, 2008:
I am on treatment six of Rejuvalight and LOVE it!!! I am getting the treatments for a scar I have on my chin from having a neck lift seven months ago. Not only is the scar almost gone but as a side benefit the texture and tone of my neck is wonderful. I am signing up for six more treatments.
sanssecret from England on April 06, 2008:
Totally agree with this and am at the age where I'm looking for something to 'take me back'. Will google this to see if it's available here in the UK. Thanks for this info.
Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on March 04, 2008:
Love this! I'm too chicken and too cheap( and maybe not vain enough) to consider cosmetic surgery. I finally decided that the strange old woman who lives in my mirror is actually rather nice in a mature sort of way. Anyway, I've gotten used to her in spite of the fact that she looks remarkably like my mother :-) Thanks for a good read!
Shelly McRae from Phoenix, Arizona on March 03, 2008:
"We older women have an image of our face that’s stuck back in our 30’s, before it all started to head south. Every time we look in the mirror, there’s a split second when we think, “who’s that old bat?” before we realise that, actually, that’s us."
I understand this completely! Great article, nice assessment of the product/procedure.
Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on March 01, 2008:
Lots of great information in your HUB Marisa.