Scan this summer’s red carpets and it is evident that maximum leg exposure is de rigueur. And yet I don’t want to see images of a lithe-limbed Anne Hathaway in micro shorts and skyscraper heels as this summer’s leg goals. Nothing against Hathaway and her perfect pins, but once you’re properly in the throes of midlife, squatting more and eating less will do little to alleviate specific ageing concerns such as wrinkly inner thighs or spider veins.
If you can relate to the above then it’s likely that you’ll be familiar with the myriad of other leg niggles that crop up in midlife from thread veins to loose skin and small fat pockets that seemingly emerge from nowhere.
On the bright side, it is now socially applauded to bare as much leg as you wish, whatever your age, says body expert and aesthetician Dr Galyna Selezneva from Dr Rita Rakus Clinic.
“On the one hand my clients feel more empowered to wear whatever they like, but alongside that freedom is the pressure to feel their best in a mini skirt,” says Selezneva, who as a former psychiatrist knows all too well how ageing can affect body confidence. And now the ageist fashion shackles are off, there’s an increased demand to tackle those midlife body woes like never before.
Depending on your skin type, exercise history and how much sun exposure you’ve had in your lifetime, the treatments differ, but thanks to advancements in non-surgical procedures there’s a protocol to minimise every body concern. Find yours below.
Tiny clusters of thread veins are common as we age, due to thinning skin and hormone fluctuations, but thankfully solutions are less invasive than the draconian practices of the past, says Dr. Joney De Souza, an aesthetic practitioner and laser specialist.
He explains: “We all have a superficial and deeper vein system. Thread veins are only surface deep but can have a larger feeder vein that is providing blood supply to the smaller spider veins.” De Souza says that feeder veins will need to be injected with a solution that strips and closes the vein off before you can begin treating thread veins, which can take eight weeks to heal. If no feeder vein is present then laser treatment is quick and easy.
“I use an NDYag laser on spider veins – you can get a good result over a reasonably large area in one session,” he suggests. PDL (post die laser) is another good light treatment for fading all traces of thread veins within four to six weeks. “Once treated, you’ll be left with a ghost vein that takes four weeks for your body to absorb, but overall there’s little downtime or pain,” he adds.
PDL or NDYag laser treatments for thread veins costs from £450 per session at Dr Joney De Souza Skin & Laser
Blood spots are a common age-related annoyance that can disrupt a smooth appearance. A type of hemangiona, they are a growth of blood vessels known as cherry angiomas or senile angiomas and present themselves as freckle-like bright red spots that can be smooth or raised. While completely safe and “normal”, laser queen Debbie Thomas says many of her clients don’t like the appearance of them as they can be an instant age giveaway.
“They are most common on the trunk of the body, but also on legs and arms, and usually start appearing in your 30s. Four out of five people have them by 75.” As they won’t go away of their own accord, lasers are a quick and easy removal method. “A few pinchy shots of laser light are zapped onto the spot, which coagulates the blood within, all taking just a few seconds,” she explains.
This instantly turns the spot from red to blackish blue and over the coming week the spot will collapse and disappear. Sometimes up to three sessions are needed, but often one will do. Thomas favours the Fotona SP Dynamis laser with NDYag technology to treat angiomas.
Treatments with Debbie Thomas at D Thomas Clinic costs from £200
Dry, crepey skin
There are two ways to tackle crepey skin. One is to inject moisture (literally) into the skin’s surface to rehydrate and plump out fine lines. Or, to tighten up loose patches of skin on the inner thighs and around the knees an energy tightening procedure can work small miracles. Aesthetic practioner Natali Kelly offers Profhilo Body, a remodelling treatment that delivers a high concentration of hyaluronic acid to tighten skin laxity.
Unlike dermal filler, Profhilo distributes smoothly and evenly without the risk of lumps, which means it can be used on areas that are difficult to treat with traditional fillers such as the hands and neck as well as the arms, knees and abdomen.
For sagging, crepey skin that typically develops on inner thighs and knees, Thermage FLX harnesses a powerful radiofrequency to tighten the skin. Or try Morpheus8’s new body handpiece, which uses radiofrequency with microneedling for a deeper, more targeted approach. It will also have some effect on smoothing cellulite.
Profhilo Body costs from £1,200 at Natali Kelly and lasts up to six months on average. Thermage FLX costs from £2,000 at the Dr Rita Rakus Clinic. Morpheus 8 body costs from £3,500 with Dr David Jack.
Localised fat pockets
No matter how many lunges you do or treadmills you pound you can still develop random pockets of fat that settle around knees and thighs. Not to mention the fact that cellulite tends to worsen when the skin is thinner making lumps more noticeable. Dr De Souza recommends Endolift, which uses a diode laser to reduce fat and tighten simultaneously.
Whereas Velashape, a lymphatic treatment popular in Brazil, combines radiofrequency with infrared and suction to stimulate localised fat reduction while smoothing cellulite and tightening the skin. Or try Dr Galyna’s Ballerina Legs treatment, which addresses all of the above with a combination of Cristal fat-freezing (CoolSculpting’s successor) to melt fat with Thermage FLX to shrink and firm skin and EmSculpt Neo to tone the muscle.
Hairs on legs isn’t exactly a midlife complaint, but permanently smooth pins can boost confidence and prevent the hassle of daily shaving. Hair removal is also handy for zapping those random hairs that spring from toes in older age especially.
Soprano Titanium is deemed the latest and greatest hair removal system on the block. What makes it so swish? For the uninitiated, hair removal technologies work by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle. In older technologies, the light source couldn’t differentiate between the melanin in the skin and the pigment in the hairs, which used to sometimes cause side effects such as pigmentation, burns and scars in darker skin types.
Soprano Titanium utilises different wavelengths of light that can be adjusted for each individual, including long pulse waves that can bypass the melanin and hone in on the hairs alone.
Soprano Ice Titanium costs from £200 for a large area such as legs at Halcyon Aesthetics. Up to six sessions six weeks apart are recommended for long-term hair removal.
The best at home
L-R: Tata Harper Resurfacing Body Serum, £139; Firming Leg Serum, £45; Resculpting Body Serum, £69;Vita Liberata Body Blur, £24; Supercharge Copper Body Brush, £69; Legology Exfo-Lite Stimulating Salts For Legs, £9.50.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.