For thirty-two years old, my skin is looking pretty good. So far everything is intact and thankfully my adult acne phase has passed (knocks on wood), but recently I’ve started to notice some crepey-ness and thinning of my skin, especially around my mouth. My laugh-lines seem deeper. The skin on my cheeks and around my eyes, thinner. I blame the sleepless nights of that first year postpartum and not to mention those long days sunbathing with baby oil (why didn’t anyone warn me?!), smoking cigarettes (guess it wasn’t so cool after all) and sleeping in my makeup (ugh). While thin crepey skin is a part of aging, my sentiments are — can’t I push it off a little longer? I’m not against aging. We all will age. I just want to delay the signs as much as I can, so in an effort to do just that, I recently had a PDO sugar thread lift and wanted to share with you guys here on the blog and on YT what PDO sugar threads are, how they work, what I had done and my results. I have a feeling these threads are about to BLOW UP because after seeing my skin improve so much, I am shook and will never again do botox or dermal facial fillers.
But first the basics…
What are PDO sugar threads & what is a thread lift?
PDO (polydioxanone) sugar threads are very thin dissolvable sutures. They’ve been used for forty years by cardiologists and surgeons when doing internal sutures (Dermatology Times). They break down into carbon dioxide, sugar and water molecules and are flushed out of the body within 2-4 weeks.
There are various types of PDO sugar threads, but the two most common are smooth vs barbed. Smooth threads are as the name suggests smooth, while barbed threads have little bidirectional barbs on them that generate more lift than smooth threads. Both are used in thread lifts to improve the tone, structure and look of skin.
How do they work when used for aesthetics?
*For the sake of this article, since I only had the smooth threads done for my thread lift those are the ones I will be talking about.
The PDO sugar threads are inserted deep into the dermis, the deepest layer of the skin, where they stay for 2-4 weeks before dissolving stimulating all the while the production of fibrous tissue, collagen and elastic to cause lifting, thickening and tightening of the skin. Thus causing a lifted and more toned appearance to the face.
My thread lift experience
I’ve known about threads for a while. Whenever I interviewed plastic surgeons to discuss fillers or ultherapy or facial fat transfers, threads always came up because they’re such a great way to lift sagging tissue without surgery, but in the past they have mainly been used on women in their 50s or 60s. Women who were facelift candidates but wanted an alternative to surgery because the old version of the thread lift was where plastic surgeons were threading an actual needle and thread near the corner of the mouth and threading it back towards the ear pulling and lifting the tissues with it. It sounds scary, I know, and while effective, this type of thread lift fell out of fashion quickly because of the potential drawbacks: tearing, infections, pulling of the skin, visible sutures, etc.
But threads are back and apparently better than ever. The new PDO sugar threads don’t offer as dramatic of a lift as the old threads, but because they are short-term, smooth, dissolvable and “floating” in the skin (not attached) they come with almost zero downtime and negative side effects. They sit deep within the dermis and stimulate collagen and elastin production offering great benefits without the risks that are associated with traditional threaded sutures.
I had a hard time finding someone in Los Angeles with PDO smooth sugar thread lift expertise. It’s still relatively new in the US, though thread lifts have been very popular for years in Asia and Europe; in Europe they actually use these PDO threads to stimulate collagen along the border of the lips instead of using lip filler!
After searching on Instagram, I stumbled upon @nursejamiela and saw that her medical spa, Beauty Park, is only a few blocks away from where I live. Done and done. I decided to give it a try and booked an appointment for a PDO thread lift with their nurse, Sarah.
Here’s how it all went down
I arrived the day of my appointment extremely nervous, but excited. I showed Sarah my areas of concern: nasal labial (laugh lines) folds, the “eleven” lines between my brows and loss of firmness and thinning in my cheeks and around my jawline.
She pulled back on the skin here and there, examined me close up while I watched with a handheld mirror, and explained where she was going to place each suture to achieve the desired lift, tightening and increased thickness I was after. We agreed to do 10 PDO threads: two above my eyebrows, three crossed in an “X” along the back of my jaw to pull back and lift, and one along each side of my temples to lift upwards and back. She said that 6-10 threads is typically what she does when patients come in, but that she’s had some patients come in for a PDO thread lift and do 15-20 threads. She said it just depends on how much collagen stimulation you want.
One thing I noticed during the assessment is that Sarah recommended crossing the sutures in an “X” fashion in large areas, like my cheeks. She said that this would create more lift.
She showed me the threads looped through a needle before she began inserting them into my skin and they were almost invisible they were so thin. She asked if I wanted numbing cream, but after experiencing Ultherapy (omfg! painful!) I said I can handle this treatment without numbing cream. (Numbing cream can severely irritate sensitive skin and cause swelling, redness and breakouts — so I always like to avoid it when possible.)
She reclined my chair, cleaned my face with alcohol wipes and began to slowly insert each thread deep within my skin. I felt a little pinch with each insertion, but it felt like a tiny pin prick that passed quickly.
All in all, the entire appointment took a little over 40 minutes from the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out and paid. It was so quick and nearly painless.
Immediately after my session, my skin looked a little smoother, firmer and plumped, but Sarah assured me that this was just due to some intra-dermal swelling that would fade after one week. She said that the true results from the stimulated collagen and elastin would not be noticeable until around the 4-6 week mark. At which time, if I desired more, she would be happy to have me back to assess where to place a few more sutures.
As the weeks went by, I didn’t notice much, but then suddenly when I hit week three it was like holy shit my skin?! Everything started to look more youthful, plumper, firmer, slightly lifted almost overnight. The results were so harmonious and unlike fillers didn’t change how I looked, they just enhanced my overall appearance making me look more youthful, so no one realized I had had anything done. I just started to receive compliments like —“Wow, you look so nice today” “Your skin looks great” “You look fourteen!” (Yah, that last one was from the woman who runs Chloe’s daycare…not sure what to make of it.)
When I smile now, my laugh lines crease but don’t indent as deeply. My brow is smooth and flat. My cheeks look full and taunt. It’s really amazing how much my skin has improved from these threads and the results are so much more natural than fillers because there isn’t unnecessary volume being added. I don’t need added volume. My cheeks are big enough. What I need is an improvement in my skin quality and tightening of my skin.
The best part about these PDO sugar threads is that the results are permanent unlike fillers. Fillers dissolve and fade over time, because they are temporarily plumping up the skin, but PDO threads actually stimulate the production of new collagen that can last for years depending on how you age/take care of your skin.
Overall, I am extremely happy with the results of the PDO thread lift I had done. I’ve gone back twice already to have a few more sutures added around my mouth, which is my biggest area of concern, and each time I leave feeling like my money was well spent.
I recommend PDO sugar threads to all of my girlfriends and really try to steer them away from dermal facial fillers which I think people are realizing now can make your face look puffy, uneven and distort the facial features.
(Before PDO threads on the left and after having 3x treatments of threads (total = 26 threads) after 4 months on right. In both photos I am wearing foundation and they are both taken under indoor canned lighting. The only other difference between these two photos is that I started using a retinol serum, too.)
If you can, I have found what works best for me is having a series of PDO threads inserted and then coming back in for a follow up appointment 6 weeks later to have a few more inserted for a second PDO thread lift. This way we can see at the 6 week mark how the threads are doing and if any more are needed.
Price: $200 per thread, $1,200 for 6 threads or $1,500 for 10 threads. I recommend signing up for Beauty Park’s newsletter to stay abroad of their quarterly specials. I recently went back again for 10 more threads during their 20% off promotion on threads!
*If you want to watch my consultation with Sarah and see the full process of having a PDO thread lift done, head over to my YouTube channel where I posted a video on my experience!