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Top Skin Tightening Questions – You Asked, We Answer

March 14, 2017

woman pulling back her face to tighten skinLoose skin is one of the most frustrating components of aging – and one of the toughest to address. Injectables and superficial treatments like peels and microdermabrasion accomplish incredible changes for patients hoping to smooth lines or improve skin tone, but they can’t affect the deeper structures that cause sagging skin. Fortunately, nonsurgical skin tightening is a booming field with a growing number of effective technologies.

If you’ve been considering lifting or tightening your skin, you probably have dozens of questions – and we’d love to help answer them. We’ve put together a quick guide to skin tightening below, with responses to some of the most frequently asked questions. If we didn’t answer yours, simply get in touch online and our front desk will contact you shortly!


Nonsurgical Skin Tightening FAQ

How do nonsurgical skin tightening technologies work?

There are three main types of technology that are effective at tightening loose skin. The energy used is either ultrasound, radiofrequency, or IPL (intense pulsed light). Each technology works a bit differently:

  • Ultrasound – Brand name Ultherapy – Ultrasound energy is delivered to the dermis to stimulate the skin’s structural layers and invigorate collagen production.
  • Radiofrequency – Brand name Thermage – Radiofrequency energy passes through the skin to affect deep layers and trigger new collagen growth.
  • IPL – Brand name Titan – An infrared light heats the deep dermis to help encourage collagen production.

The procedure and downtime involved with each treatment is different, so be sure to ask your provider what to expect beforehand. You will also require a set number of treatments to see ideal results. Your treatment plan will be unique to your needs, depending on your skin laxity and your aesthetic goals.


Do I need a facelift or will nonsurgical treatments suffice?

A facelift works differently from nonsurgical treatments, mainly because the former involves a surgical procedure. Sagging skin, muscles and other structures are moved upwards to change the lines on the face and reduce wrinkles and skin laxity. Nonsurgical treatments leave the skin where it is, but deliver heating to deeper layers to stimulate tightening and lifting.

Non-invasive treatments offer different results from a facelift. If you’re looking for a dramatic change, a facelift may be the best choice. But if you’re not interested in surgery and hope to improve loose skin, nonsurgical treatments can make a significant difference to your skin and your self-esteem.


What are the differences between popular skin tightening treatments?

Radiofrequency and IPL treatments heat the deep layer of your skin. They bypass more superficial layers like the epidermis and target the source of sagging skin. After the heating process is complete, the body naturally heals the area. This causes existing collagen to change and fresh collagen to be produced. The end result is tighter skin. Thermage typically requires just one treatment to deliver ideal results.

Ultrasound treatments deliver energy directly to the dermal layer, bypassing other skin layers. Because of the unique nature of ultrasound technology, skin above and below the target point is completely protected. New collagen growth occurs over time, with the skin gradually lifting and tightening. Ultherapy patients may see ideal results with one treatment, but may elect to have additional treatments to intensify lifting and tightening.


Is non-invasive skin tightening safe?

FDA-cleared skin tightening technologies have been thoroughly researched and tested. Make sure that the treatment you’re receiving has FDA clearance, and that the provider has received adequate training directly from the technology’s team. When used appropriately, these nonsurgical options only affect the deep layer of the skin and heat it to predetermined, controllable temperatures. Ultrasound has the added benefit of allowing the provider to view the internal layers during treatment, heightening precision.


How long until I see results?

Each treatment has a slightly different window for results, but all are gradual. Nonsurgical treatments rely on the body’s production of collagen to create changes within the skin and lead to tightening and lifting. Depending on your body’s response, this time frame will be different. Most patients see results within 2-3 months, with results sometimes continuing to take hold for up to 6 months.


Is skin tightening painful?

Many patients experience a heating sensation during treatment, but there are new ways to make patient comfort more manageable. Both Ultherapy and Thermage have new treatment protocols that allow for the same results with lower energy levels. This helps keep treatment comfortable.


What will I feel like after treatment?

One of the biggest benefits of nonsurgical skin tightening is that you’re able to return to daily life right away. Compare this to the significant downtime involved with a facelift, and you’ll understand exactly why so many patients are choosing non-invasive skin tightening instead. Ultherapy and Thermage offer typically downtime-free treatments with only minor, temporary and occasional side effects.


Which areas of the body can I treat?

Different technologies have received clearance for treatment of different areas of the face and body. Ultherapy can be used to lift skin on the face, neck and chest. Thermage can be used on the same areas, and can also be used elsewhere on the body. Talk to your provider about your treatment goals before beginning to decide which option is best.


Will my skin type dictate which treatment I can receive?

No – unlike some laser treatments, nonsurgical skin tightening allows for all skin types to achieve ideal results.


How many treatments will be necessary?

The answer depends upon your skin laxity. If your have only a little sagging, one treatment should be adequate. If you have moderate sagging, more treatments may be useful to achieve ideal results. Ask your provider about your treatment plan before you get started. They will estimate the number of treatments that is appropriate, and you can revisit the potential for additional sessions once your results take hold.

Still have questions? Our talented team is here to help! Reach out today.


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