So you want to look younger. You’re tired of sagging skin, wrinkles, or scars showing. You just want to feel amazing every time you look in the mirror.
So what are your options? Facelift is the first cosmetic procedure that comes to mind. After all, it’s been around since…since when?
THE HISTORY OF COSMETIC PROCEDURES
Humans have not changed. We may kid ourselves and say oh, yes, we have. But our nature is the same and has been since the beginning of time. Humans have always cared about what they look like. They care now. They will care in the future.
History suggests that cosmetic surgery procedures have been in existence for centuries. We know for sure the Ancient Egyptians used makeup as well as other ancient cultures. Piercing, purposely scarring the body or stretching body parts, and tattooing have also been around a long time. Beauty has always been important as seen in ancient art and even manuscripts that describe queens as “having great beauty.”
The plastic surgeries of today have been around since the 1800’s. After all, our skin has shown the same signs of aging; it’s only technology that has changed.
WHO WAS THE FIRST PLASTIC SURGEON?
Pin-pointing one person as the first to perform plastic surgeries is impossible since the procedures took place before anyone cared to take note. The first recorded use of changing the face’s appearance comes to us from Ancient India where a manuscript from the 6th century BC records a healer named Sushruta who performed the first recorded skin graft. He took a piece of skin from the patient’s body, grafted it to the face, and changed the person’s appearance. He also records how he used skin grafting to heal those with skin injuries and disfigurements of the skin.
Ancient India also gives us the first recorded evidence of rhinoplasty, which is cosmetic surgery relating to the nose, which occurred around the same time in the 6th century BC. This procedure is only recorded on use with the royal family who often changed their noses.
What the royals do, the commoners do (like celebrities today–another instance of humans never changing). Soon the beautification of noses became a phenomenon amongst the common folk and the proliferation of the procedure exploded.
Reconstruction took root as warriors returned from battle with horrific injuries. Taking skin from other areas of the body to repair the face spread across Asia. Part of the reason rhinoplasty grew in popularity is because many tribes in Asia had the custom of cutting off noses and cutting the lips of enemy warriors. At least humans have grown a bit less barbaric!
Cosmetic surgery next pops up in a significant way in Italy in the Middle Ages. Duelling has become insanely popular beginning in the fifteenth century. Having read Sushruta’s work from Ancient India, which had been written down and circulated), Italian surgeons Gustavo Branca and his son, Antonio, who lived in 1400 in Catania took skin from the cheek and grafted it to the nose. Later, skin from the upper arm was used to avoid more scarring on the face.
We next see plastic surgery in a significant way in the 16th century AD with Gaspare Tagliacozzi who modern day credits as the father of plastic surgery. He used flaps of skin from the upper arm to perform nose grafts mainly on patients who suffered from saddle nose deformity, which is an indentation in the nose where it sits flat. He wrote one of the first books on plastic surgery entitled De Curtorum Chirurgia per Insitionem (1597) (“On the Surgery of Mutilation by Grafting”).
FROM SKIN GRAFTING TO MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Like everything in history, humans’ desire for better and easier in this world also fueled the improvement in plastic surgery techniques. Surgeons continued to refine and be more precise and the results improved as a consequence.
In 1798, someone finally decided to name these procedures. Pierre Desault of Greece christened them plastikos, which means molding (funny how Greek shows up everywhere!), which evolved into plastic surgery.
With the advent of anesthesia and antiseptics in the 19th century, plastic and cosmetic surgeries became safer and easier. The Industrial Revolution brought about more facial injuries due to machinery, requiring more and more advanced procedures to correct. Injuries from automobile accidents became a factor as well since people were moving at high speeds with no seatbelts!
However, it was both World War I and World War II that fueled the growth of the field, primarily driven by disfigurement from war injuries. Plastic and cosmetic surgeons had to learn new skills and derive new techniques to cope with the hundreds of different injuries they were seeing.
THE FIRST FACELIFT
All of this lead to the first facelift. In 1931, the first facelift in America was performed by a team of surgeons, following a 1901 facelift performed in Germany.
Did we stop there? No! If the face could be surgically altered, why not other parts of the bodies? Women suffered for centuries, wearing corsets, brassiers, and bustiers to enhance their breast size. Why not make this permanent?
Ah, economics: supply and demand. If someone demands something and is willing to pay for it, the supply appears. Hence, breast augmentations were born. In the beginning, the results were far from perfect and frankly not perfect. Breast lifting took flight in the 19th century by using rubber, paraffin, ivory and glass. The first surgical implants were made from silk floss, silk, celluloid, and other foreign materials for breast implants. Needless to say, women were not happy with the results.
Up until the 1960’s, facelifts were still taking a page out of the nineteenth century: the skin was simply tightened and pulled to a new position and then the excess was being cut off and discarded. This resulted in the unnatural, stiff-look most people associate with facelifts.
Again, technology assists here as SMAS procedure took root. SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic sheath) is the stronger, deeper layer of tissue between muscle and fat. The surgeon now cuts down to this layer, repositions the SMAS to achieve a multi-dimensional result that both tightens and lifts the face to result in better volume and contour of the cheeks, definition of the jawline and firmness of the neck. This is the full facelift procedure.
Invasive (but less so) facelift procedures are the S-lift, mini-facelift, neck lift or endoscopic facelift. These procedures target certain areas of the face and not the whole face.
THE ADVENT OF MICRONEEDLING
Think microneedling is a “new thing” in facial cosmetic procedures? Think again. Let’s return to Ancient Asia and this time to Ancient China to acupuncture. Again, no one thought to document the first recorded use so the first proven use of acupuncture is from a book called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, dating from 100 BC. The original purpose of acupuncture was to open channels or conduits to allow the Qi (vital energy or life force) to flow. Nowadays, acupuncture is used to improve the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process–which is exactly what microneedling does.
The first recorded use of a microneedling procedure was in 1905 by German dermatologist Ernst Kromayer. He used various-sized dental burs powered by motor-driven flexible cord equipment to treat scars, birthmarks, and hyperpigmentation.
microneedling as we think today was first used in 1995 by Dr. Desmond Fernandes in Philadelphia to treat wrinkles and scars with hypodermic needles. Around the same time, Dr. Fernandes developed a small needle stamp to induce collagen production.
With more research, microneedling was discovered to be successful in treating other skin conditions besides scars. Capitalizing on the body’s natural healing processes, a microneedling procedure induces collagen and elastin production to eliminate wrinkles and lines, smooth out the skin, and treat pigment issues and brown spots.
Now that we’ve examined the history of facelifts and microneedling, we’re ready to dive into the difference between facelifts and microneedling procedures in part two of this blog. MDPen is a strong proponent of microneedling procedures. We believe strongly in using the body’s natural healing processes to improve your looks and lead your best life ever. We offer MDPen microneedling pens and various skin revitalization products for the microneedling patient. Also for the microneedling practitioner we offer many resources such as marketing materials, training for your staff, device support, and a listing of your practice. Contact us today!