The signs of aging can be classified into four main categories: wrinkles/texture, the lack of firmness of cutaneous tissues or sagging, vascular disorders, and pigmentation problems. In a person’s lifetime, the skin will change in structure and appearance not only because of chronological and intrinsic processes, but also due to a host of external factors such as sun, gravity, pollution, and lifestyle. All these can create obvious negative effects on our skin, which ultimately result in premature signs of aging.
These problems are all too common, so much so that even you may relate to them. It is for this reason that skin tightening procedures have become widely popular today. However, before you jump right into any of these treatments, here’s what you need to know.
Within the skin are fibers called collagen and elastin, which are also referred to as the skin’s “youth proteins”. Collagen gives your skin strength, while elastin allows the skin to stretch and bounce back. They are found within the deepest part of the skin, just above the layers of fat.
As we age, we gradually lose these proteins, and the reasons behind this are plenty. Smoking, over-exposure to the sun, and other pollutants, trigger the release of high levels of free radicals which can damage the collagen and elastin layers. Furthermore, the less antioxidants we have, the more damage can be done because we lack the necessary defenses to counter the damage.
Our bodies also stop producing collagen and elastin as we age. Fortunately, we can adopt certain skin care strategies that can help us protect this very important anchor for our skin. One of the methods to help regenerate elastin and collagen in aging skin is through device-assisted skin tightening.
Non-surgical skin tightening
This treatment has become a growing trend for those who are looking to eliminate loose skin and smooth out wrinkles. Laser skin tightening offers individuals a comfortable way to tone and tighten the skin, and there are several devices available today that can provide these results.
Laser skin tightening is popular among patients because it causes the skin to contract by pulling cells together, promoting the growth of collagen and elastin. It also rejuvenates loose or stretched skin giving it a firm feel and appearance.
Surgery has long been able to restore a youthful appearance, however, many are now choosing non-invasive skin tightening treatment because it provides immediate results with minimal or no downtime.
When to consider non-Surgical skin tightening?
This skin tightening option is not for everybody. You can be considered a good candidate for such treatments if:
- you have mild to moderate sagging skin on your face, neck, arms, or abdomen
- you have residual skin laxity after an operation
- you wish to improve the quality of your skin
- you are unable or not open to undergoing surgery to correct skin laxity
What are the different non-surgical skin tightening options?
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Ultrasound treatments focus ultrasonic energy into the dermal layer, or the deeper layer of the skin. It uses sound waves to find the proper plane of treatment in the skin and then delivers a focused beam of sound to the target area of the skin, creating invisible wounds. This triggers the skin around it to metabolize faster and develop more collagen and elastin around them.
IPL is a photorejuvenation treatment that can address a variety of skin problems. It is more known for lightening or removing sun spots, age spots, or blotchiness of the face, neck, and other areas of the body. It is also known to improve skin texture through collagen stimulation. As the light bypasses the outer layer of the skin and it gently heats the cells in the deeper layers, it triggers the cells to produce more collagen. This treatment is considered a jack-of-all-trades which makes a single treatment less effective than its counterparts.
Radiofrequency (RF), on the other hand, is based on electricity, which heat the deep layers of the skin while leaving the surface unscathed. One of the machines that have created quite a stir in the past is Thermage, which left the wrong impression on people because of the painful procedure involved. Today, a more effective device on the market in terms of RF energy is the BTL Exilis Elite™. Compared to Thermage, it offers a higher satisfaction rate and is very comfortable, making it possible for patients to get repeated treatments at weekly intervals. This treatment is unlike other radio frequency machines as it is a monoplar RF machine. Hence, the depth of the heat is in one direction and can go to a deeper level of the skin at a higher temperature. Therefore the collagen stimulation is most effective.
These skin tightening treatments all require multiple sessions to achieve maximum benefit. Depending on the quality of your skin and the area being treated, the aesthetician will decide on the number of treatments necessary for your case.
What are the skin tightening treatments using cosmetic injectables?
There are two main types of cosmetic injections: Botox and dermal fillers. Botox is a natural and purified protein that can temporarily relax the facial muscles that are responsible for your fine lines and wrinkles. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, lift and smooth out the target areas by adding a subtle amount of volume. This leaves the individual with a visible improvement and an overall fresher look.
Can these non-surgical skin tightening treatments be used concurrently?
These treatments are not mutually exclusive since some of these can be recommended to the same patient for better results. For example, it is possible for a patient to receive Botox and dermal filler injections depending on the their unique facial structure. Some laser devices can also be used together with dermal fillers, if necessary.
Are the results of these non-invasive skin tightening treatments permanent?
Due to the progressive effects of the treatment, the results are long-lasting. You can get touch-up treatments if you wish to maintain or improve the results. However, it is also necessary that you are proactive in making other efforts to prevent skin aging to achieve optimal results.
How can one prepare for a non-surgical tightening procedure?
Your doctor will provide you with pre-treatment instructions, take a detailed medical history, or perform a physical examination to determine your fitness for the procedure.
You may be advised to do the following in advance:
- Stop smoking for at least four weeks before undergoing treatment to promote better healing
- Discontinue any topical skin products that might increase your risk of complications from treatment
- Avoid taking aspirin or any anti-inflammatory medications and some herbal medications because they increase your risk for bleeding. These treatments may not be invasive, but they may hamper the proper healing or restorative process that occurs within.
How do you select a doctor or aesthetician who will perform these treatments on you?
It is important to choose a practitioner based on:
- Experience with non-surgical skin tightening treatments
- Your comfort level with him or her
An office appointment is necessary so you can have an in-depth assessment and discussion with your general physician. It is important to choose professionals who are aware of the implications, indications and precautions of the treatments they specialize in so that you can ensure the best experience.
What can I expect during my initial consultation?
During this time, you will have an opportunity to discuss your aesthetic goals. Your doctor will evaluate you as a candidate for non-surgical skin tightening treatments, and will discuss in detail what these types of treatments can do for you. It is important that you are open to discussing your complete medical history so that certain precautions and alternative or additional treatments can be considered.
Book your appointment with Dr. Anita Soosay today. Her training, certification and experience allow her to deliver quality treatment and outcomes through a customized approach to suit your specific needs.