Glossary of Aesthetic Medicine

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of aesthetic medicine. This guide aims to clarify and explain the key terms and concepts in this rapidly evolving field. Whether you’re a practitioner, a student, or simply interested in aesthetic medicine, this glossary will provide you with clear definitions and insights into the terminology that shapes this specialty. Dive in to deepen your understanding and mastery of the language of aesthetic medicine.

Glossary – Sorted alphabetically

Hyaluronic acid: biodegradable (absorbable), water-absorbing product used to fill wrinkles and modify facial volume, as well as in mesotherapy. Hyaluronic acid is available in a range of viscosities for different indications.

Cross-linked hyaluronic acid: product incorporating a cross-linking agent (BDDE) that binds hyaluronic acid molecules together, slowing down the process of hyaluronic acid degradation and elimination. Such a product has a longer-lasting effect (12-18 months).

Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA): a product belonging to the category of fillers used in aesthetic medicine for fibroblast stimulation when applied subcutaneously. Also used to reshape body volumes. (Sculptraâ, Lanlumaâ)

ACMES: association of Swiss aesthetic medicine centers

Adipocyte: subcutaneous adipose tissue cell storing fat in the form of lipid droplets. A concentration of adipocytes in a given area constitutes a fatty mass or adiposity (e.g. saddlebags).

Jowl: anterior protrusion of the mandibular line, associated with sagging skin on the oval of the face.

Blanching: technique for superficially filling fine lines and wrinkles.

Blepharoplasty: surgery for drooping eyelids

Botox: see Botulinum toxin.

Canula or microcanula: round-tipped blunt needle with a hole at the end. Used in aesthetic medicine for thread injections

Carboxytherapy: subcutaneous injections of carbon dioxide to improve tissue oxygenation and treat skin imperfections (wrinkles, dark circles, cellulite, stretch marks).

Cellulite: infiltration of subcutaneous tissue giving the skin a dimpled, orange-peel appearance.

Dark circles: areas under the eyes, hollowed or not, giving an aged or tired look to the eyes. They are treated with low-viscosity hyaluronic acid, carboxytherapy or lipofilling.

Scar: mark left on the skin after a wound has healed. Depending on the size of the scar, dermabrasion, peels or non-ablative or ablative lasers are used.

Barcode: refers to the wrinkles around the mouth when they have the appearance of a “barcode”.

Collagen (activators): dermal protein in the form of fibers that provide strength and support to skin tissue. Collagen is no longer used in anti-wrinkle injections due to the risk of allergies. It has been replaced by products that stimulate natural collagen production.

Filling: injection under the skin of resorbable products to fill hollows (furrows, folds, wrinkles and fine lines).

Platysmal cords: linked to the platysma (muscular remnants of the 4-legged walking position), muscles stretching from the mandible to the décolleté, giving a “chicken-neck” effect when contracted.

Cosmeceutical: high-end skincare product containing active ingredients developed and tested in aesthetic dermatology. Cosmeceuticals (a contraction of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) are available in pharmacies and recommended by specialized doctors. They are also known as dermocosmetics.

Cryolipolysis: technique of destroying fat cells using cold. The targeted area is vacuumed and cooled at a very low temperature for 1 hour. The first results of cryolipolysis are visible after 2 months.

Dermabrasion: mechanical sanding of the skin with a rotating tip or abrasive paper, performed on deep wrinkles or badly damaged skin. The superficial layers of the skin (epidermis and possibly part of the dermis) are thus destroyed in a controlled manner.

Laser tattoo removal: laser tattoo removal. The treatment requires several sessions, depending on the size and color of the tattoos, and generally leaves no scars.

Lymphatic drainage: gentle manual or mechanized massage to help lymph circulate, release toxins and promote cell regeneration and microcirculation. In aesthetic medicine, lymphatic drainage is used to eliminate cellulite (especially oedematous cellulite) and excess fat.

Elastin: dermal protein that helps maintain skin’s resistance and elasticity.

Energy Based Device: refers to all the tools and machines used to stimulate tissues for anti-aging purposes in aesthetic medicine through the delivery of energy. The sources are varied, including radio frequencies and ultrasound.

Pulsed light hair removal: progressive, long-lasting hair destruction by targeting melanin using intense pulsed light (IPL, flash lamp). Ineffective on white, blond or red hair.

Laser hair removal: progressive, long-lasting destruction of hair by targeting its melanin with a laser. Ineffective on white, blond or red hair.

Faning: techniques designed to distribute filler as evenly as possible under the skin.

Fibroblast: biological cell that plays a crucial role in the formation of connective tissue. It synthesizes extracellular matrix components such as collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans.

filler: common name for all permanent or resorbable subcutaneous injectable products.

Tensor threads: suspension threads, absorbable or non-absorbable, inserted under the skin to reduce wrinkles or tighten certain parts of the face (remaillage).

Fluence: energy delivered by a laser on a surface (Joule/cm2)

Frost: phenomenon of immediate post-peel skin whitening as the skin freezes.

Gauge: unit for measuring the diameter of a needle. The smaller the gauge, the larger the diameter.

Glabella: Area between the 2 eyebrows where frown lines appear due to contraction of the corrugator procerus muscles.

Granuloma: chronic inflammatory histological formation that may be related to the injection of fillers.

Hands-on: common name for a practical session on a model in aesthetic medicine.

HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound): a high-intensity ultrasound beam is focused on a point in the dermis (like a magnifying glass focusing the sun’s rays), creating a sudden, intense heating of the tissues. This technique is used to tighten the skin or destroy localized fat.

Hyaluronidase: enzyme used to dissolve cross-linked hyaluronic acid. For aesthetic correction, but especially in cases of intravascular embolization.

Calcium hydroxyapatite HACa: a fillers product used in aesthetic medicine for fibroblast stimulation in subcutaneous application.

Paradoxical hyperplasia: the phenomenon of post-cryolipolysis adipose tissue hyperplasia inducing the opposite of the desired effect.

Infrared: magnetic radiation with a longer wavelength than visible light, used to heat the dermis and stimulate collagen production and skin tissue tightening.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light): see Flash lamp

Ischemia: acute tissue damage due to disruption of arterial flow caused by filler embolization of the vessel.

Flash lamp: device emitting polychromatic light radiation (i.e. a multitude of wavelengths) that heats and destroys skin constituents (hemoglobin, melanin, water). It can be used for pigmentary, vascular, hair removal and photo-rejuvenation treatments.

Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation): device emitting coherent, monochromatic (visible or infrared) light radiation, heating and destroying skin constituents (hemoglobin, melanin, water). Depending on their wavelength, lasers are classified as ablative lasers, non-ablative skin reshaping lasers, pigment and tattoo removal lasers, vascular lasers and hair removal lasers.

Ablative laser: laser that vaporizes (ablates) the epidermis and possibly the superficial dermis. The results of the treatment are very long-lasting, but the treatment requires a 7-15 day social ban. A distinction is made between CO2 and Erbium lasers.

Non-ablative laser: laser heating the dermis via microwells to stimulate collagen production and promote skin remodeling without significant side effects.

LED (Light Emitting Diode): a light-emitting diode device that heats the dermis and stimulates collagen production, used above all to treat stretch marks and acne.

Lipocavitation: technology using low-frequency ultrasound to destroy cellulite and localized fat deposits. Sessions should be followed by lymphatic drainage. Results are generally visible at the end of the first treatment.

Lipofilling: surgical technique involving the restoration of volume by injection of one’s own fat taken from areas of the body overloaded with fat (autografting). This is also known as lipostructure or lipomodelling.

Automated lipomassage: skin massage using a device equipped with independent motorized rollers to release fat, reactivate blood and lymph circulation, and promote lipolysis.

Lipostructure: see Lipofilling

Liposuction (lipoaspiration): surgical procedure designed to remove localized excess fat by suction using cannulas inserted under the skin.

Pulsed light: see Flash lamp.

MD codes: technique designed to restore the facial support. If the lower face slackens, it’s because there’s a progressive loss of bone and fat over the whole face, especially in the upper part at the temples. This technique restores support rather than filling in the hollowed areas.

Mesolift: a mesotherapy technique designed to moisturize and revitalize skin that has been dehydrated or exposed to the sun for long periods, using micro-injections of a mixture of hyaluronic acid (not cross-linked for better diffusion), antioxidant vitamins and minerals. The mesolift is sometimes complemented by an application of LED light. 3 to 5 sessions are usually required for an effect that can last up to a year.

Aesthetic mesotherapy: injection of multiple small quantities of active ingredients into the dermis to improve skin tone and radiance.

Micro-needling: perforation of the skin with micro-needles. Often causes bleeding. Allows the penetration of revitalizing products applied to the skin afterwards.

Necrosis: tissue death due to ischemia

Anti-ageing nutrition: a diet based on balanced nutrition and a sufficient intake of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids) to slow the effects of ageing.

Shock waves: high-energy, unfocused acoustic waves that diffuse through the skin. Used in aesthetics to combat excess fat and cellulite.

Crow’s feet: area of the outer eye contour where wrinkles appear due to contraction of the orbicularis oris.

Chemical peel: aesthetic treatment that reduces skin defects by abrading the damaged skin with a chemical product. A distinction is made between superficial (gentle) peels with glycolic acid, which accelerate epidermal cell renewal, medium peels with trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which completely renew the epidermis and superficial dermis, and deep peels with phenol, which act down to the middle dermis.

Periosteum: surface layer covering the bone, particularly in the facial region, on which cross-linked hyaluronic acids are deposited to give the tissues a tensile effect.

Photoepilation: term for laser and pulsed light hair removal.

Photo-rejuvenation: method of improving skin texture and tone (removal of brown and red spots) using laser or pulsed light.

Photorejuvenation: treatment generally using pulsed light or laser to even out skin tone, reveal radiance, tighten skin texture and stimulate the dermis.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): technique involving injections under the skin of concentrated blood platelets from the patient to be treated. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) contains growth factors that revitalize the skin or scalp, reduce wrinkles and dark circles, and stimulate hair growth. Two to three sessions, spaced one month apart, are required.

Bitterness fold: line of depression stretching between the labial commissure and the chin, also called “marionette lines”.

Prophiloâ: filler, bioremodeler designed to restore the subcutaneous extracellular matrix 2 sessions one month apart, then a protocol every 8 months are recommended

Prophilometry: an approach to restoring profile harmony in aesthetic medicine

Radiofrequency: emission of short radio waves that heat the dermis and are used to firm sagging skin, treat wrinkles, and sometimes in

Resurfacing: see Tensor threads

Body contouring (silhouette): a method of restoring the body’s harmonious shape using surgical techniques (liposuction, laser lipolysis) or non-surgical techniques (cryolipolysis, ultrasound, etc.).

Skin reshaping: a gentle method of heating the dermis to produce collagen, with the aim of reducing wrinkles or scars. We can use non-ablative lasers, radiofrequency, ultrasound…

Volume restoration: remodeling of parts of the face (cheekbones, cheeks, oval…) or hands using high-viscosity hyaluronic acid injections.

Resurfacing: ablative laser treatment of damaged skin. This is also known as resurfacing.

Medical rhinoplasty: correction of minor nasal anomalies using injectable products such as hyaluronic acid

Wrinkles: furrows in the skin that become more pronounced with age. A distinction is made between expression lines and age-related wrinkles. Wrinkles at the top of the face include frown lines, forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet. The main wrinkles of the lower face are the perioral wrinkles, nasolabial folds, marionette folds and jugal wrinkles. Wrinkles treated in aesthetic medicine can also be found on the neck, décolleté or back of hands.

Frown lines: wrinkles between the eyebrows, giving a worried or stressed appearance.

Wrinkle: superficial wrinkle that can fade if treated in time.

Roller: see Micro-needling

russian lips: lip filling technique to increase the height of the lips

Sclerotherapy: injection of a sclerosing agent into a vein to destroy it.

Nasolabial fold: line of depression stretching between the wings of the nose and the labial commissures, formed by the collapse of the deep fat compartments.

Skin Booster: products in the fillers category, hyaluronic acid with a vitamin complex to stimulate the dermis, to deeply rehydrate and tone the skin, restoring its radiance. Used on face, neck, décolleté and hands. 2-3 sessions spaced one month apart initially, then 1 session every 6-12 months.

SMAS: superficial musculoaponeurotic system made up of skin muscles and intermuscular fascias.

Paradoxical stimulation: stimulation of downy hair or hairy areas after laser hair removal treatment, with the opposite effect to that initially sought. The importance of the correct indication for laser hair removal

Pigmentation spots: brown skin spots appearing with age or following repeated exposure to the sun. They are generally located on the face, neck, décolleté or back of the hands. They are removed with pulsed light, laser or peels.

Pulse time: time during which laser energy is delivered.

Texas look: an approach designed to redefine the contours of the face, particularly the oval of the face.

Botulinum toxin (Botox): type A bacterial neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, used in neurology and to treat wrinkles on the upper face.

Anti-cellulite treatments: there are many treatments available to eliminate cellulite. The effectiveness and speed with which the first results appear vary according to the method used.

TRT: thermal relaxation time. Refers to the time required for a target to dissipate half its accumulated heat.

Ultrasound: ultrasound is a mechanical vibration similar in nature to audible sound, but with a much higher frequency. They penetrate deep into the skin and are used to eliminate fatty deposits, cellulite and wrinkles.

Stretch marks: areas of skin where the deep dermis has spontaneously torn as a result of pregnancy or heavy weight gain. A distinction is made between red stretch marks (recent) and white, pearly stretch marks (old), which are more difficult to remove.

Workshop: common name for a practical session on one of the themes of aesthetic medicine.

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