If your face is beginning to show serious signs of ageing, aesthetics practitioner Kim Chown is a big fan of threading. She explains why

A LOT of anti-ageing skin treatments are aimed at improving the surface of the skin and eradicating lines, but after 50, the whole face seems to slide downwards. We lose the defined jawline and the mouth turns downwards in a constant expression of disapproval.

No cream is going to rectify that. A full medical facelift is one option, but it’s a drastic one and you can’t change your mind once it’s done. Another option, and one that’s increasingly popular, is threading.

Facial therapist Kim Chown is a fan. After training with Intravita International, she has carried out the procedure many times on clients over the past four years, and has had it herself. At the age of 53, she is testament to the success of threading and the other treatments she offers at her Darlington clinic, Skin Renaissance. Her skin is smooth, her jawline well-defined. “I like a natural look,” says Kim. “I am very heavy-lidded and threading has worked wonders.”

Threading is not new, but the procedure is being refined all the time and Kim is very particular about using only the very best methods. “I use PDO (polydioxanone) threads on clients,” she says. “Although it’s expensive, it lasts, and then instead of replacing it all, you can pay per thread to have the treatment topped up, or to concentrate on another area of the face that concerns you.” The most common areas that she treats are jowls, nasolabial lines (folds from nose to mouth), marionettes (drooping to corners of mouth), necks and drooping eyebrows

A description of the treatment sounds a bit worrying, but it is worth noting that thread placement is not a pain-free procedure and local anaesthesia is used to achieve patient comfort. After mapping out the area of the face to be treated, it is numbed with a local anaesthetic before bio-absorbable threads are inserted into the deeper layers of the skin by means of a cannula. The threads enable instant skin lifting through mechanical effects, while the fibres, which dissolve naturally, increase the production of collagen and elastin. Contracting fat tissue also helps to tighten the contours of the face.

Not everyone is suitable for the PDO lift, but you may be a good candidate if you have a slight sag or are droopy in the cheeks, jowls, neck or brows. Normally, the procedure is perfect for men and women aged 40 to 65, and how long the results last depends on the age of the patient, lifestyle, quality of tissues, medication, general health and diet. PDO thread treatment is a continuous process and regular additional threads are likely to be required at six to nine-month month intervals to maintain the effect.

Although the treatment is mainly used to target specific areas of the face, it can also be used to treat sagging tissue anywhere else on the body, such as the abdomen, to reduce the negative effects on the skin from obesity. “Crepey skin, stomach, thighs – you can do it anywhere," says Kim. "A full lift takes about an hour.”

There can be side-effects and the treatment should only be done by someone fully competent in the procedure; Kim worries that threading and other treatments are being offered by practitioners with little training and no experience. Years spent working as a nurse have taught her to be cautious and to do her research, and though she’s confident that the treatments she offers do work, Kim always insists that there’s a cooling off period after the initial consultation for the client to take time to reflect.

“Threading is not the sort of thing you go into lightly. It is certainly not the ‘lunchtime facelift’ it is advertised as by some therapists,” she says. “You will be very unlikely to saunter back into work looking fresh-faced immediately post treatment. It is not going to do the same thing as a surgical lift - it is a less radical option. There are other things I can offer, so I always take time to discuss all the alternatives with my clients.” Threading takes anything from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on what is required.

With her medical background – a Masters degree in nursing and critical appraisal, Kim knows how to research treatments properly and how to evaluate the results. She has tried other types of threading, but prefers the PDOs. "I found the other threads more painful on insertion and I can honestly say I got a far better result with the PDO threads," says Kim. "I don’t offer new treatments unless I am convinced of their efficacy. They also have to be treatments I am happy to have myself. Threading is definitely one of those.”

  • Skin Renaissance, 74 Victoria Road, Darlington, DL1 5JG.


"I decided I wanted to give my face a lift without surgery and decided on the thread lift. I have known Kim many years as she takes care of all my present procedures so I wasn’t worried about the procedure. My face was numbed, slight incisions were made and the threads were inserted. When they perform the 'lift', you can feel it slightly, but not in a painful way. Everything was completed in just over an hour. I had five tiny plasters on each side of my face and that was all. The clinic gave me all my aftercare notes and antibiotics and I felt slightly sore for a few days, but not anything a few paracetamol couldn't cure. The results have been amazing, but also very subtle I don’t always wear make up now as my face looks smooth and I will be happy to go through the procedure again when it’s needed."

– Carol Wilson, 51