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How many treatments is too many treatments?

The experts share which aesthetic treatments go well together and why you can also have too much of a good thing

Your social life might not be the only thing inducing a Fear Of Missing Out. In the aesthetics world, with so many new, intriguing and enticing propositions available, treatment FOMO could be having a similar effect. There’s no doubt that a carefully curated, in-clinic plan of skin offerings can wonderfully improve the complexion.

But on the flipside, taking an overenthusiastic approach towards how many and the variety of overlapping treatments booked into your diary can be counterintuitive to gaining the benefits you’re seeking.
“There are definitely potential drawbacks to overloading your skin with too many treatments at once,” explains Etre Vous Expert Dr Emmaline Ashley, Founder of Ashley Aesthetics. “There is a reason that we have minimum recovery times between treatments and space them out in certain ways. Often, particularly with collagen-stimulating treatments, we accomplish benefits by using the body’s natural wound-healing response to controlled trauma. Controlled being the key term here!”

As well as traumatising the skin, its delicate barrier function can easily be damaged by an overload, causing an increasing cascade of unwanted results. “Over-exfoliation where you disrupt your skin barrier, is also possible from an overuse of treatments,” adds Dr Ashley.

“With a disrupted skin barrier you have compromise, leading to dryness, irritation and inflammation. Disruption of the skin barrier could also lead to sensitising reactions if you are overloading your skin with too many different skincare ingredients, leading to redness and further inflammation.”

Know Your Limits

There is a plateau effect in just how much of our skin’s own natural volumisers it can produce, making too many overlapping treatments designed to produce similar results – for example skin volumising – effectively redundant, not to mention a waste of money.  

“There is definitely a limit to how much collagen or elastin your skin can produce in one setting, so repeating treatments doesn’t give you a faster or better result,” explains Dr Ashley. “The production of these proteins is regulated by quite a complex biological process which takes time to occur and can also be influenced by a variety of factors like age, genetics and your general skin health. This is why with treatments like microneedling, laser or chemical peels, we space them apart and would never recommend you do them constantly. In fact, if you are overly aggressive, you can damage your skin and actually limit the production of collagen or elastin.”

Thrill Of The New

Whether you want to call it the FOMO effect or the magpie always chasing different shiny things, this drive to keep trying out new skin-improving treatments is down to more than just vanity. One area in the midbrain essentially functions as its novelty centre, responding to new stimuli and in turn, triggering the dopamine pathways which make us feel good.

So there’s a psychological aspect to our constant craving for newness that gives these experiences an emotional boost, as well as a potential complexion boost.

Take Your Time

But while what drives us to book multiple treatments together may be multi-faceted, for the best results possible, listen to professional recommendations rather than your own instincts.

“This is where your consultation comes in,” advises Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, GP, Award Winning Aesthetician and EV Expert. “Your doctor should give you a treatment plan so you have the optimum amount of time between treatments that need to be spaced out rather than overwhelming the complexion. Generally, it's two to four weeks. This also applies to booking ‘tweakment’ treatments alongside facials. For example, any kind of facial massage treatments should not be performed for two weeks after having injectables so the skin has time to heal and the injected solution doesn’t migrate.”

Dr Ashley agrees that treatment should be spaced out according to recommended guidelines of between two to six weeks. “Sometimes if you are combining multiple treatments, like microneedling and chemical peels for example, you might need to make sure there is a longer recovery time between treatments as skin needs to heal,” she adds.

Perfect Pairings

While the best treatment combinations will depend on your individual skin type and goals, there are some tried and tested duos that doctors know work well together. “Some classic pairings include microneedling and PRP,” suggests Dr Ashley. “This is because you are stimulating collagen production with the controlled trauma of the needling, and encouraging healing and regeneration with PRP. Radio frequency and ultrasound are also frequently paired for skin tightening as this combines heat and energy to create a lifting, firming effect.”

And don’t discount the power of viewing skincare as the ideal partner to your in-clinic treatment when aiming not to overdo it. Both Dr Ahmed and Dr Ashley agree that ensuring skin is in good health thanks to a consistent routine gets the optimum results from any non-invasive treatment.

But there are some situations when skincare can act as a fantastic stand-in option for adding a different treatment to your plan. “For example, where people have either pigmentation or rosacea we steer away from overdoing injectables and lean more towards a prescribed skincare routine as it provides much better results,” says Dr Ahmed.

“Having too many injections through the skin too quickly can cause inflammation which you want to avoid flaring up in those cases, making the skincare pairing a preferable option.”

And that’s the sweet spot between more is less and too much of a good thing…

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