Mono-Threads: All About the Skincare Procedure

Skip the Botox or surgical face-lift for a minimally invasive, non-surgical alternative.

It's completely normal to notice that the skin on your face gradually sags as you age. The supportive tissue becomes weak, and the fatty tissue dwindles, resulting in less-than-ideal drooping along the areas of your face that used to be firm.

Surgical facelifts are available for some people who desire to rejuvenate their skin. But those procedures are often invasive and costly. Luckily, minimally invasive, non-surgical thread lifting procedures are a low-cost alternative to facelifts.

What Are Mono-Threads, Exactly?

Specifically, mono-threads are a popular option among people who may not want to commit to a surgical facelift. Thread lifting is a non-surgical alternative that works to rejuvenate the face and neck by lifting drooping skin and producing collagen.

Collagen is a protein that helps make up the supportive tissues of your skin, bones, and muscles and promotes strength and elasticity. But as you age, collagen decreases, contributing to the skin's sagging. Per the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), sun exposure also damages collagen, causing wrinkles.

"Mono-threads are little threads made of an absorbable material called polydioxanone," Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., told Health.

Polydioxanone (PDO) is a material often found in sutures that healthcare providers use to close wounds during surgical procedures. In mono-threads, dermatologists insert PDO filaments into the skin to tighten areas that sag.

"[The threads] are inserted into the subdermal layer of the skin in a mesh-like pattern with the intent of boosting collagen in the skin long-term and defining the jawline pretty quickly," explained Dr. Gohara.

While the procedure certainly sounds painful, Dr. Gohara explained that there are no worries about discomfort. A dermatologist typically performs the procedure using a numbing cream, allowing a pain-free and instantly sculpted appearance. And although your face and neck may feel tender shortly after receiving mono-threads, the procedure is less painful and requires less aftercare than a facelift.

How It Works

Mono-threads boost collagen by activating the synthesis of those proteins. Your body produces collagen to promote healing after a dermatologist inserts the mono-threads into your skin.

"Your body slowly breaks [the threads] down and leaves a trail of collagen in its place," dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, a faculty member at Mount Sinai Medical Center's Department of Dermatology in New York, told Health.

"The new fibers that your body makes in the location will give an anti-aging effect of localized [skin] tightening," added Dr. Nazarian.

During the procedure, a dermatologist creates a mesh-like pattern by cross-hatching the mono-threads, which they attach at an "anchoring point." Depending on the area of your skin, they will use 10 to 30 mono-threads. For example, a dermatologist may only use 10 mono-threads under each eye or 30 mono-threads on each side of your face.

And if you want to tighten the skin underneath your chin, a dermatologist may employ a process called lipolysis, which breaks down excess fat tissues by inserting the mono-threads deeper into your skin than normal.

Mono-threads differ from the threads dermatologists use during other thread-lifting procedures because mono-threads do not have barbs. In thread lifting, dermatologists use threads that have small cones, or barbs, that reverse sagging by pulling the skin on the face upward. On the other hand, mono-threads are smooth.

Because mono-threads lack barbs, a dermatologist may combine them with cog threads (which have barbs) to further lift the skin.

However, the lifting and jaw-defining effects of mono-threads only last about one year, as the threads eventually dissolve. According to one study published in 2019 in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, mono-threads are not permanent procedures.

Aftercare for Mono-Threads

Luckily, the aftercare for mono-threads is minimal compared to a surgical face-lift.

First, if you receive mono-threads, keep your facial expressions minimal and not incredibly animated. So, you probably don't want to watch a movie or television show that will make you laugh or cry too hard. Keeping your facial movements minimal during the healing process will allow your skin time to produce collagen and tighten the treated areas effectively.

Additionally, bruising may occur following the procedure. Bruising is common after receiving mono-threads because there are several blood vessels in your face. However, the risk of severe bruising from mono-threads is less than that from face-lifts, per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Also, avoid moist areas, like saunas or hot tubs, and don't do rigorous exercise to decrease your risk of infections.

When Will I Notice Results?

Because your skin needs time to produce collagen, it may take as many as 12 weeks to notice results.

In the meantime, per the AAD, there are other ways to avoid further damaging collagen, like:

  • Apply sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 to any skin exposed to the sun daily.
  • Avoid tanning from the sun and tanning beds.
  • Moisturize your skin daily.
  • Make sure that you do not have any allergies to the ingredients listed in your skincare products.
  • Use your skincare products as their labels direct.
  • Do not use skincare products that irritate your skin, and do not use too many skincare products.
  • Allow six weeks for new skincare products to work, and do not test out several different skincare products too closely together.

Who Should Try Mono-Threads?

According to Dr. Gohara, mono-threads may be a good option if you're looking for a skincare procedure that goes beyond Botox or filler but is not ready for a surgical face-lift.

"Anyone with aging skin, without a history of poor healing or poor scarring, or those without a history of autoimmune disease, or allergy to the fibers, would be acceptable candidates," added Dr. Nazarian.

But given that the threads dissolve within one year, a surgical face-lift may be a better option if you desire long-term results.

So, if you're interested in trying mono-threads, visit a board-certified dermatologist, according to Dr. Nazarian. You may increase your risk of scars and complications, or your body may reject the fibers if they are placed incorrectly.

"Never let anyone who isn't a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon perform this," added Dr. Gohara. "It requires precision and a keen understanding of anatomy."

It's a good idea to consult a dermatologist before deciding whether the procedure is right for you.

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