LASER for Skin Tightening

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What Is Laser Skin Tightening?

Wrinkly, saggy skin can be caused by too much exposure to the sun, to weight gain and loss over a lifetime or most likely to heredity and simple aging. An endless list of expensive creams claim to be able to combat loose and wrinkly skin, but a new frontier of technologies is uncovering methods to tighten and smoothen those wrinkles and sags. The latest insight on lasers which can penetrate the skin surface painlessly heating up and stimulate the natural collagen below and plump it to achieve smoother fuller skin. Tremendous advances in the capture and use of light energy have revolutionized the treatment of loose and wrinkled skin making laser treatment safer and more effective than ever before. The most popular areas being the face, neck, abdomen, and arms.

How it works?

Collagen is the substance beneath the skin surface that provides its elasticity. Over time, our collagen breaks down under a series of pressures causing our skin to sag and wrinkle. Under stimulation by the laser’s very specific wavelengths of light, collagen is coagulated making it firmer and forcing it to better support the outer layers of skin. At the same time, the laser causes this collagen to begin a process of natural self-renewal. What’s amazing about the laser is that it can do this while simultaneously cooling the outer layers of your skin minimizing pain and avoiding any damage to those sensitive layers. Most patients will require between 2 to 5 sessions each lasting about 45 minutes. Depending on the area treated, you will likely be able to return to your regular day immediately after skin tightening though there may be some redness and mild discomfort during the 24 hours following the procedure. While many patients see at least partial results right away, it can take as much as 3 to 6 months for the full impact of the treatment to be seen as collagen firms and regenerates, smoothing and plumping the skin. Laser skin tightening is sometimes combined with a popular ultra-shape procedure which reduces collections of fat that accumulate around the body. Since skin sometimes sags or wrinkles where the fat used to plump it up, the laser can be used to make the skin more taut and smooth.

  • Laser skin tightening can decrease skin laxity (looseness) and smooth wrinkles from any part of the body.
  • Nonablative laser skin tightening heats the tissue beneath the skin to stimulate the production of collagen, the protein that gives your skin its elasticity.
  • Ablative laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin to encourage new, tighter skin to grow as a result of the wound healing process.
  • Laser skin tightening is safe and effective for every skin type and color.
  • Aging, genetics and exposure to the sun slow down the production of collagen and elastin, two components that give your skin its elasticity. Over time, sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines become more pronounced. Laser skin tightening is a treatment whereby lasers are used to decrease skin laxity, or loose skin, by increasing skin’s collagen production through heat and the wound healing process.

How Does Laser Skin Tightening Work?

During laser skin tightening, a laser heats the water molecules present within the tissue. As the water is heated, it turns into gas and vaporizes the surrounding skin cells, triggering fibroplasia, or the wound healing process, stimulating the production of new collagen and contracting existing collagen fibers. Dermatologists use lasers that generate different wavelengths to control how much laser energy is absorbed by the water in your skin, which, in turn, controls how invasive a given treatment is.

Nonablative laser treatments are noninvasive and cause no damage to the outer layer of skin (the epidermis).
Ablative (a type of treatment in which tissue is removed) laser resurfacing treatments are minimally invasive. During ablative skin treatment, your epidermis is removed by the laser while the tissues beneath are heated to trigger fibroplasia. After your skin heals, it will become tighter and more firm.

One of two types of lasers can be used for either treatment:

  • Nonfractionated lasers treat the entire targeted surface area.
  • Fractionated lasers treat an equally distributed portion of the surface area.

Treatment options

Ablative nonfractionated lasers

  • Ablative nonfractionated carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers are theorized to cause immediate skin tightening and continued collagen production. CO2 lasers work best when removing fine lines, wrinkles and scars, though they are less effective at removing deep wrinkles.
  • Erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Er:YAG) lasers are better absorbed by the water in your skin. Er:YAG lasers don’t penetrate as deeply into your epidermis, making them more precise than CO2 lasers while causing less damage to your tissue.

Nonablative nonfractionated lasers

  • Pulsed energy lasers target the dermis (the layer of skin beneath the epidermis) to stimulate collagen production. Pulsed energy lasers are effective at increasing skin tone and texture and reducing wrinkles, acne and scars.
  • Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (or Nd:YAG) lasers generate energy that is absorbed by the water in the dermis, stimulating collagen and elastin production without causing damage to the epidermis. Nd:YAG lasers produce effective anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effects in all skin types.

Ablative fractionated lasers

  • CO2 fractionated lasers can penetrate deeper into the skin to tighten sagging skin, treat fine lines and reduce both superficial and deep wrinkles.
  • Er: YAG fractionated lasers function in much the same way as CO2 ablative fractionated lasers, with similar efficacy, side effects and downtime.

Nonablative fractionated lasers

  • Fraxel repair lasers are effective for treating superficial wrinkles in all skin types by penetrating deep into the tissues beneath the epidermis without causing any damage to the epidermis.
  • Nonablative fractionated Nd:YAG lasers apply heat to microscopic zones to treat wrinkles and tighten skin.
  • Erbium fiber lasers and thulium fiber lasers possess both ablative and nonablative functionality to tighten skin and treat wrinkles, photoaging and other skin conditions, such as acne and scarring.

Treatment Areas

Laser skin tightening procedures can be done on nearly any part of your body. However, the efficacy of a given laser skin treatment depends on the part of the body it’s used on.

Face and neck

Patients without excessive skin are candidates for face and neck laser treatment. Dermatologists and doctors will adjust the energy of a laser to account for the thickness or thinness of the skin in these (and other) areas.

Other body areas

Skin laxity in the arms, stomach, hips, thighs, knees, calves and ankles can also be improved following laser skin tightening.
Some dermatologists may recommend additional areas of the body be treated for optimal body contouring prior to treatment.

Post-treatment care plays a large role in patient satisfaction after an ablative fractional laser treatment session. While patients are still satisfied 3 months after such treatments, their satisfaction gradually drops as improvement to their skin laxity wanes.


Common side effects

While prolonged side effects are rare following laser skin tightening, patients may experience some short-term side effects after treatment.

Nonablative skin tightening side effects

  • Mild pain, discomfort and stinging during the procedure
  • Some swelling, redness or superficial blistering after the procedure

Ablative skin tightening side effects

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