I remember the very moment that I noticed the first, insidious under-the-eye crinkle. It was a bitterly cold and dry winter day, and in preparing for a Sunday brunch with my family, I went to apply moisturizer. Peering closely into the mirror, what was that I saw under my left eye? Gasp! A blemish of some sort? A line! A wrinkle.
At 19, I was shocked to see life beginning to etch itself into my face already. That one particular groove and I developed a close relationship over the years as I watched, with some level of fascination, while it dug in deeper and spread, ever so slowly, but with obvious and unflagging determination, to help mark my years. With accumulating days of laughter, expression, and living, yes, that same facial crease has evolved, and is probably a part of me that I could happily say goodbye to–whether it’s a sign of all that goodness and life experience hodgepodge or not.
According to skincare experts, that little crinkle I first noticed under my eye is typical for most. And in a world full of pricey remedies, lotions, snake oils–and of course, the infamous Botox–reversing those ‘well-earned’ signs of aging just seems to be a losing battle. Not so anymore, according to the team at Welsh company Innoture, who have taken to the 3D printer to help their patients reduce wrinkles by as much as a staggering 35 percent–and that claim alone is probably going to have a staggering percentage of those just beginning to show wrinkles running to their door, waving cash wildly–and they will need some in hand as the system costs around £240 (nearly $340 USD) for a four-week supply, plus consultation fees.
Their secret is in Radara: 3D printed patches bearing tiny spikes that make little channels in your skin to make way for a pure, high-grade hyaluronic acid serum (this is actually produced in your body as well, and both moisturizes and protects your tissue). These spikes are actually very similar to needles, but are microscopic at .5mm in length, and with 2,000 of them on one side. Even with a barely there presence, the spikes are able to make micro-channels within the skin, stimulating both collagen and elastin which shape, firm, and strengthen the skin–and also give the serum a better chance to seep in. They leave no marks at all, and the crescent-shaped patches feel like foam against the skin as they work to smooth away your crow’s feet, offering greater support and elasticity.
“Where Botox freezes muscles to smooth out dynamic wrinkles caused by movement, Radara acts on static wrinkles–those that stay etched on your face even when it’s relaxed and expression-free,” explains Dr. Dhillon, of the PHI in London’s Harley Street, which is one of the first clinics to offer the treatment.
“The only other way to do that is with fillers, that plump up and disguise the furrows, or moisturizers. Then there are clinical procedures such as chemical peels, lasers and micro-needling, but these can all involve pain, red, scaly skin, trips to the clinic and downtime while skin recovers.”
Basically, this is a very similar process to the more traditional form of micro-needling, favored by many, which also helps with stimulation of collagen but has the downside of causing quite a bit of pain and suffering, usually applied with a micro-roller that is constructed with metal needles.
“Micro-needling works by creating micro injuries in the skin, which triggers an inflammatory response,” says Dr. Maryam Zamani, an aesthetic doctor and eye surgeon at London’s Cadogan Clinic. “The injuries stimulate new collagen production as skin begins the healing process. So within a few months, lines and wrinkles can be filled out, giving a smoother, younger look.
“It requires topical anaesthetic to numb the face, and skin does bleed and is left red and sore,” she says. “So there’s a day’s recovery time.”
Hannah Ebelthite of the Daily Mail wrote about her experience trying the system.
“As a 39-year-old mother, I felt I was a worthy candidate: I have dark circles and crepey skin around my eyes, and feel I look tired and drawn,” said Hannah.
With a 3D imaging machine, Dr. Dhillon photographed Hannah’s face to take stock of any lines, wrinkles, and also her particular skin texture. It’s important to note that he assessed her as having skin in good condition for her age, because this played a part in the outcome. He thought a four-week regimen would show good results for her–and indeed it did, showing an 18 percent reduction in ‘wrinkles,’ and although Hannah had perhaps expected more, Dr. Dhillon emphasized that she came to him with fairly good skin already. She also pointed out that the pieces of foam were not uncomfortable when adhered to her skin at all, feeling sort of like Velcro.
When she returned four weeks later, she was only at 8 percent–and Hannah pointed out to the doctor that the effects obviously weren’t long-lasting, although she reported definitely seeing an improvement, and her friends all remarked on how good she looked too.
“This is in line with the clinical data, which demonstrates an improvement up to four weeks post treatment and not longer,” Dr. Dhillon explained. “What I believe it’s best for is as a maintenance treatment between treatments such as Botox.”
Depending on how much time you want to spend making appointments with skin specialists–along with making hefty withdrawals from your checking account–it sounds as if you could couple this with Botox or another treatment and eliminate a good portion of those lines and ridges that heckle you from the mirror each early morning. While the Radara patches are specifically for the eye area currently, they see it as only logical to begin offering patches for other areas as well, from the entire facial area, all the way to the chest. They are meant for in-home use, but if you are interested in using Radara, you will need to purchase it from a distributing clinic, where they will show you how to apply it as well. Is this a anti-aging product you might want to try? Discuss in the 3D Printed Radara Skincare Patches forum over at 3DPB.com.