By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
A swipe of contour here, a sweep of bronzer there, and finishing with a dab of highlighter—make-up can only do so much when it comes to enhancing your features and hiding your flaws. It can make your skin appear smoother, brighter, and it can cover dark circles, fine lines, scars, and birthmarks. There is no cover up, however, for sagging skin. Fortunately, there are new innovations that can not only hide the sag, it can diminish it too!
There are many approaches to tighten skin on the face and body. According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Neil Sadick, MD FAAD, FAACS, FACP, FACPh, there are external, non-invasive treatments such as using lasers, radiofrequency, ultrasound, and infrared. On the other hand, some lasers and radiofrequency treatments may also perform internal, minimally-invasive treatments with the use of anesthesia. Moreover, Dr. Sadick explains that ideally, every new procedure or treatment introduced for skin tightening must have minimal to no pain, no downtime nor side effects, reproducible results, and can be used in other areas of the body. Now, here are some of the latest and the best in skin tightening:
- Broadband Light Therapy – this treatment uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology, where pulses of light in specific temperatures are directed to the upper layer of the skin, targeting problem areas to stimulate collagen production. This improves skin texture and laxity, age spots, freckles, fine lines, acne, and sun damage.
- Multipolar Radiofrequency (RF) with Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) – is a treatment using a combination of radiofrequency, where waves of heat is directed into deeper layers of the skin to reshape, improve, and promote collagen production, and electromagnetic field, where electromagnetic energy is penetrated through the body to stimulate important cellular processes and improve cellular function. RF varies in its number of electrodes that is identified as monopolar, bipolar, multipolar, fractional, and targeted. RF can be combined with other treatments to achieve desired effects, such as lasers and PEMF. PEMF also varies in frequency and strength. RF and PEMF together produce an improvement in skin laxity, texture, wrinkles, facial contours, and photoaging without pain and downtime.
- Ultrasound Therapy – uses sound waves to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin and also encourage collagen production. Like the other procedures, this treatment is also pain-free and has zero downtime. Aside from improving the appearance of wrinkles and tightening the facial skin, it can also lift the neck and chest area.
- Acoustic Wave Therapy – also called sound waves or shock waves, where acoustic energy is targeted to specific areas to improve skin elasticity, form new collagen, increase blood circulation, and encourage metabolic processes and fat breakdown. This therapy is most essential for treating cellulite and for body contouring.
- Infrared – is when infrared energy is directed onto affected area. When it penetrates, it will stimulate and reshape collagen. This results in tighter skin and improvement in facial wrinkles.
While these new treatments have been studied to offer gradual skin improvements, not all individuals are qualified to undergo these procedures. The physician must assess potential patients with a thorough assessment of their medical history and mental state, from their weight, age, race, and lifestyle to his goals and expectations after the procedure. At the same time, patients must also make sure that the clinic is registered and the physician is Board-certified to perform the procedure. Patients must also do their own research, ask for recommended clinics or physicians, and manage their expectations. At the end of the day, these treatments only have one aim: to make you still look like you, but better!