Need a quick ‘face lift’ for that important social event? Pelleve may be your answer

August 13, 2013 by
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Early signs of aging are first noticeable in the 30s as the upper eyelids become slightly hooded. In the late 40s to early 50s, the mid-cheek falls – creating more of a smile fold and the jowls start to form.

Aging facial features result from surface changes of coloration and texture and from infrastructural volume loss that may cause sagging or drooping features. Traditionally, this has been addressed almost exclusively with face lifts. Deep chemical phenol peels and ablative carbon dioxide laser resurfacing may also help tighten skin, but they have a more demanding recovery American Society for Dermatologic Surgeryperiod.

Many of my patients at my New York City dermatology practice tell me the same thing: they want to look refreshed rather than artificial, and they want these results without surgery or taking time off of work – and with little or no pain.  As such, there is a high demand for non-invasive treatment of these facial changes.

Luckily, there is a new non-invasive treatment option called Pelleve. This radiofrequency device creates electromagnetic waves that are absorbed in the skin. The generated heat induces collagen formation and tightens connective tissue. To see optimal results, patients usually need a series of three or four Pelleve treatments separated over a three-to-four week interval. Most patients report that Pelleve is not painful at all and actually feels like having a deep heat massage!

Collagen production occurs for as much as six months after the last of the treatments and maintenance treatment with Pelleve can be done in the future as patients wish to continue improving their appearance.

An added plus is that immediately post treatment there is a temporary improvement in the fine lines caused by microscopic swelling of the skin that makes the overlying skin smoother. My patients often take advantage of this side effect and undergo Pelleve a day or two before an important social function to appear more radiant, as light reflects better off of smoother skin.

Usually most patients who have facial sun damage and photo-aging also have textural change from sun exposure on the neck and décolletage. I have seen very good improvement in the texture of the skin in these areas and other “off-label” areas such as the hands and forearms. “Off-label” simply means that a drug or device is being used in a way that was not part of its FDA clinical approval.

The amount of tightening obtained from having a series of Pelleve treatments never amounts to the same degree as that of a face lift, but when you’re not ready for surgery and don’t want the down time of a surgical procedure, Pelleve is a safe and gentle treatment to refresh one’s facial appearance.


Ron M. Shelton, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Shelton served as the Chief of the Dermatology Service at Langley Air Force Base Hospital and studied cosmetic dermatologic and Mohs micrographic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1993, he created the Division of Dermatologic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and served as its first director. Dr. Shelton entered private practice in 1998 and co-founded The New York Aesthetic Consultants, LLP, a premier cosmetic dermatologic and plastic surgery facility in NYC. Visit his website:

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