As we age our skin noticeably becomes thinner as the underlying fat which was abundantly present at birth disintegrates. The collagen production slows down, skin loses its elasticity and the contours of the face and body appear less defined. New fine lines and wrinkles appear daily on the face and body, becoming more visible with age. While this process begins in our twenties, it can also be accelerated by years of sun damage, UV radiation and chemicals, stress, low nutrition, smoking, alcohol and drug consumption.
Around the late 30s or early 40s, aging is more noticeable as the skin’s creases are more pronounced. For pregnant women, loss of elasticity is particularly visible on the abdomen and breast area. Rapid weight loss can also significantly impact on skin’s tightness as it loses its firmness and suppleness.
Skin Tightening is a minimally invasive, non-surgical process that uses a laser to tighten skin by heating the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing the skin to contract (tighten).
At Elite Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Group we use the Nd:Yag laser technology to offer our patients a firmer and tighter skin on the spot without visible post treatment scarring or marks. Historically there were not many non-surgical options to treat loose, sagging skin. With the advances in laser technology over the last few years, we finally have alternatives.
The Nd:Yag technology employs light energy to effectively remodel the body’s collagen and regenerate damaged skin cells. This can not only dramatically enhance skin texture and reduce fine lines but reverse signs of facial and body aging for an overall firmer, youthful appearance.
How Skin Tightening works & its benefits
Laser skin tightening is ideally suited to people aged between 28 to 60 suffering from wrinkles, fine lines, open pores, minor to moderate sagging of the skin or aging appearance. The technology can be used safely on all parts of the body and face, showing significant improvements to sagging brows, fines lines and wrinkles around the mouth, stretched skin on the abdomen and a multitude of other areas.
The Nd:Yag laser at 1064-nm deposits heat into the dermis and activates the fibroblast cells to produce collagen and contract the skin, causing a skin tightening effect and improvement in the tone and texture of the skin. Also by heating the dermis this causes the production of new collagen fibres which will continue for the next four to six months after your treatment.
The benefits of the skin tightening treatment include:
- Immediate signs of firming and tightening
- No downtime
- No injections, surgery or risks
- Collagen stimulation lasts six months after treatment
- Long lasting improved skin quality
- Little discomfort
- Improved skin elasticity and tautness
The Skin Tightening Treatment
Protective eyewear is worn to guard the eyes from the laser light. During the treatment, your laser practitioner will use a small hand-piece to apply the laser light to your skin, a brief discomfort can be felt (which is often described as similar to the sensation caused by a snapping rubber band on the skin) when optimum temperature is reached. This indicates the collagen is being tightened and stimulated in the epidermis. Your laser practitioner will control the amount of energy delivered and will pause momentarily before proceeding to the next section or continuing. Once the area has reached effective collagen remodelling temperature, the treatment will conclude. Most patients comment that the discomfort they feel during laser skin tightening is minimal, and it is usually resolved within minutes of the procedure’s completion. The skin tightening treatment can take between 5- 40 minutes, depending on the surface area being targeted.
How soon will I see the results and how long do the effect lasts?
Most patients notice changes in the tone and condition of their skin immediately following a skin tightening treatment. However, because the procedure is designed to stimulate the natural growth of collagen, your optimal results may take up to 90 days to be visible. Typically, new collagen growth takes from 90 to 180 days after the initial treatment, at which time you will enjoy a dramatically rejuvenated appearance.
Depending on your skin’s condition, we recommend a course of 4-6 treatments every 4 weeks for maximum results and a yearly maintenance session thereafter.
Risks & Complications
There are few risks associated with skin tightening. Immediately after treatment, most patients notice redness and/or swelling and warm or sensitive skin that will subside within a few hours. As with any laser treatment, sun exposure should be avoided before and after the treatment. Side effects are rare, but include dark spots and light spots, which usually resolve.
However, patients who are prone to outbreaks of herpes (on the proposed treatment area), scarring or keloids should inform their laser practitioner. If you are using acne medications such as Accutane® or Retin-A®, your laser practitioner will discuss with you the chance of a negative reaction.
Skin Tightening and other treatments
Dermal fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane are very useful adjunctive treatments when the cause of the sagging skin is loss of volume underneath the skin’s surface. Procedures which fill the below-surface void nicely complement the skin tightening treatment achieving a result that is quite dramatic.
Skin tightening may be used after a facelift to help maintain the results for longer.