- Dr. Henry Ngai
What is Aqua Lifting™ and How it works?
Our clinic has been performing Aqualift™ for almost 5 years. There is some confusion of what the procedure is. What does Aqualift™ do? Who would benefit from it? As hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient in the procedure, we will start the discussion with it.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a major component of the skin called extracellular matrix (ECM). As we age, our skin has less HA and other components of the skin, such as collagen and elastin. Individuals who have more photodamage have a faster attrition of these materials, leading to the sign of aging , such as dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, large pores as well as skin roughness.
Aging skin often looks dull and coarse because of its inability to trap moisture. By far the most important molecule for skin hydration is HA. HA can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water. In other words, it functions as a humectant which holds water molecules onto the surface of your skin to keep it nice and hydrated. There are quite a number of topical cosmetic skin care products that have HA as an ingredient. However. The efficacy is very limited as HA is a big molecule which makes it difficult to be absorbed by the skin. To act properly as a humectant, HA has to be injected into the skin directly.
The basis of Aqualift™
However, traditional HA injection targets the deeper layer of the skin, into the subdermal and subcutaneous layers. In order to achieve the goal of optimal hydration of the skin, the HA has get to the dermal plane higher up in the skin. Deeper injection into the subdermal layer or lower will give merely a volumizing effect rather than hydration. Therefore to achieve the skin hydration, injection technique is paramount. At Reviva, we perform a procedure called Aqualift™ for this indication. (Aqualift™ is a proprietary procedure trademarked by Dr. Moonsang Choi of DMC Clinic.) Aqualift™ consists of injection of HA along with several Health Canada-approved medical ingredients into the dermis.
In order to accurately deposit HA in the dermis, special equipment has to be used as manual injection often results in visible lumps on the skin. The Vital Injector™ we use allows us to deliver the microdroplets at a depth of 0..08-0.15mm into the skin. Each microdroplet has a volume of 0.002-0.004cc of product. The procedure is very precise, both in treatment depth and volume delivered. As the larger vessels are situated at the lower layer of the skin, large hematoma does not occur although minor bruising is occasionally around the eye area because the skin there is much thinner. After hundreds of Aqualift injections performed at Reviva, there is zero incidence of lumps on the skin.
In a 2014 article by Dr. Jongseo Kim of Korea in the Archives of Plastic Surgery, he showed that intradermal injection of HA result in good improvement in skin texture, dermal (skin) thickness, and skin hydration. After dermal injection of HA, as in Aqualift™, the skin will not only appear brighter and tighter, there will also be visible improvement in pore size as well as fine wrinkles.
The Aqualift protocol consists of a series of 3 treatments , 1 month apart. We do suggest a maintenance treatment every 3-4 months, depending on the skin condition. Aqaulift™ can be combined with other procedures such as IPL, radiofrequency, Dual Yellow laser or neurotoxins as a complete rejuvenation package.