Crow’s feet, dark circles, bags and crepey skin – the eye area is the first place on the face to show signs of ageing.
Until now, our beauty arsenal has included creams and serums, injectables, lasers and even surgery.
But there’s a new weapon on the scene that is harnessing some unlikely, cutting-edge technology: 3D printing.
A new beauty weapon for ageing eyes uses cutting-edge technology: 3D printing. The crescent-shaped eyepatches covered, on the underside, with tiny spikes help produced collaged. Above, after the treatment
It’s being used to manufacture the latest wrinkle-busting gadget and beauty experts are touting it as the most exciting innovation since Botox.
Designed by Welsh company Innoture, Radara are crescent-shaped eyepatches covered, on the underside, with tiny spikes. These claim to anti-age the skin by smoothing crow’s feet and rejuvenating skin around the eyes.
They do this by mimicking the action of micro-needling, a painful technique used by aesthetic doctors that involves puncturing the skin with tiny needles, which helps to stimulate the body to produce the skin-plumping protein collagen.
Yet Radara can be used at home and – most importantly – they don’t hurt. Because they are made on a 3D printer, the tiny spikes are much finer than those used in micro-needling techniques – you can hardly see them – and they are made of flexible plastic rather than titanium or surgical steel.
I heard about this new technology at Face, Britain’s largest medical aesthetics conference held in London, and was invited to be one of the first to put it to the test.
As a 39-year-old mother, I felt I was a worthy candidate: I have dark circles and crepey skin around my eyes, and feel I look tired and drawn.
Designed by Welsh company Innoture, Radara claim to anti-age the skin by smoothing crow’s feet and rejuvenating skin around the eyes. They do this by mimicking the action of micro-needling, Above, before
I cannot be persuaded to leave the house without foundation and under-eye concealer.
While Radara is designed to be used at home, you need to buy it from a clinic and be shown how to use it safely and effectively. I visited PHI in London’s Harley Street, one of the first clinics to offer it.
First, Dr Benji Dhillon took photographs of my face using a 3D-imaging machine, which assesses lines, wrinkles and skin texture. Happily, he pronounced my skin ‘in fairly good condition for my age’, though I did have sun damage and some lines.
Because they are made on a 3D printer, the tiny spikes are much finer than those used in micro-needling techniques – you can hardly see them – and they are made of flexible plastic rather than titanium or surgical steel. As a 39-year-old mother Hannah, above, left, before, right, after, felt she was a perfect candidate
Dr Dhillon was confident that a four-week course of Radara would make a difference.
‘Where Botox freezes muscles to smooth out dynamic wrinkles caused by movement, Radara acts on static wrinkles – those that stay etched on your face even when it’s relaxed and expression- free,’ he says.
‘The only other way to do that is with fillers, that plump up and disguise the furrows, or moisturisers. Then there are clinical procedures such as chemical peels, lasers and micro-needling, but these can all involve pain, red, scaly skin, trips to the clinic and downtime while skin recovers.’
Radara patches claim, in contrast to botox and derma rolling, leave no marks on the skin. They’re made from a medical-grade polymer – a flexible foam that feels like a waterproof plaster. Above, a woman models the patch
I’ll admit that micro-needling has never appealed. It’s usually done using a Derma Roller, which looks like a small, paint roller, but is covered in small metal needles.
A treatment that makes your face bleed sounds like torture.
‘Micro-needling works by creating micro injuries in the skin, which triggers an inflammatory response,’ says Dr Maryam Zamani, an aesthetic doctor and eye surgeon at London’s Cadogan Clinic. ‘The injuries stimulate new collagen production as skin begins the healing process. So within a few months, lines and wrinkles can be filled out, giving a smoother, younger look.’
My skin felt plumper, my under-eye shadows less obvious and I found myself wearing less make-up without thinking about it
But even Dr Zamani concedes it can be an unpleasant experience.
‘It requires topical anaesthetic to numb the face, and skin does bleed and is left red and sore,’ she says. ‘So there’s a day’s recovery time.’
Radara patches, in contrast, leave no marks on the skin. They’re made from a medical-grade polymer – a flexible foam that feels like a waterproof plaster.
One side is covered in 2,000 microscopic structures, similar to needles, each less than 0.5 mm long. This is long enough to make tiny holes or ‘microchannels’ in the skin.
As well as stimulating collagen and elastin – two proteins that give your skin strength, shape and firmness – the little holes allow beauty products to penetrate much more deeply into the skin.
The Radara patches comes with a pure, high-grade hyaluronic acid serum. This is a substance naturally produced in the body to moisturise and protect tissues.
According to makers, as well as stimulating collagen and elastin – two proteins that give your skin firmness – the little holes allow beauty products to penetrate much more deeply into the skin. Above, before the treatment
It’s found in the skin’s inner layer, where it provides elasticity, hydration and softness.
‘The patches are the vehicle that gets it to where it needs to be,’ says Dr Dhillon.
Initial studies, while small, are promising. In a clinical trial of 32 women, Radara patches and serum were shown to reduce lines and wrinkles by 35 per cent in four weeks (compared to 24 per cent for the serum alone), with noticeable results after only a fortnight and continuing to improve for up to four weeks.
And using the patches is straightforward. They go on in the evening, after cleansing. You peel the backing off the patch and press it, needle-side down, to the outer edge of each eye for a few seconds, to create the microchannels.
You then remove the patches and put them to one side while you smooth on the serum, before finally reapplying. They don’t slip off, so you can walk around.
Hannah felt there was a definite difference that continued for a couple of weeks. She said her skin felt plumper, her under-eye shadows less obvious and she found herself wearing less make-up without thinking about it
While you can feel the needles – if you press hard when applying them – it’s not painful. It feels like a strip of Velcro. After five minutes you discard the patches and wipe off any remaining serum.
So, did it work for me? I had to wait a patience-testing four weeks before I noticed any improvement.
But there was a definite difference that continued for a couple of weeks. My skin felt plumper, my under-eye shadows less obvious and I found myself wearing less make-up without thinking about it. A couple of friends remarked that I looked well.
Just after finishing the course, I returned to PHI for another scan, which showed my lines and wrinkles had reduced by 18 per cent.
Compared to the 35 per cent improvement seen by the women in the trial, I felt a little disappointed.
‘It’s important to recognise that your skin was in a good condition to begin with,’ says Dr Dhillon.
‘You achieved a good degree of improvement for a non-invasive product. We do tend to see a bigger change in people who have more lines and wrinkles to start off with.’
This suggests it’s a restorative rather than preventative treatment. And the effects aren’t long-lasting. When I returned for a final scan four weeks later, the 18 per cent improvement had dropped to 8 per cent.
‘This is in line with the clinical data, which demonstrates an improvement up to four weeks post treatment and not longer,’ says Dr Dhillon. ‘What I believe it’s best for is as a maintenance treatment between treatments such as Botox.’
But the cost could mount up. The recommended price of Radara is £240 for a four-week supply, plus consultation fees.
For now, it’s only crow’s feet that Radara promises to tackle. But the technology means there’s no reason why patches can’t be made to treat frown lines, the upper lip, forehead or decolletage.
But for beauty junkies, Radara would be ideal to use for six to eight weeks before a big occasion – or for extending the time between Botox injections. Just don’t expect a miracle.