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Laser Skin Tightening

A unique facial rejuvenation option that produces dramatic results, laser skin tightening effectively reduces the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin for a smoother and more youthful appearance. Learn more about facial skin tightening below.

What Is Laser Skin Tightening?

Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive, non-surgical process that uses an infrared light source (a laser) to tighten skin by heating the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing the skin to contract (tighten). Facial skin tightening is noticeable immediately after the treatment, and there is no downtime, making this an increasingly popular procedure. Additional skin tightening occurs over the next few months, but optimal results usually require two or three treatments about a month apart.Laser skin tightening is an FDA approved method for the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity. While laser skin tightening results may not be as dramatic as those of a face lift, patients enjoy moderate results with no downtime. An added benefit of laser skin tightening is that it is safe and effective for restoring a more firm, youthful appearance to skin all over the body. Read on to learn more about the benefits of laser skin tightening treatment.

Skin tightening treatment also encourages the growth of new collagen in the treated areas and promotes the absorption of more collagen from surrounding, untreated areas. With the regeneration of natural collagen, laser skin tightening patients immediately begin to notice smoother, softer skin and a more youthful appearance. The effects continue to improve over the next few months following laser skin tightening treatment, as the skin's natural stores of collagen are gradually replenished.

What to Expect During a Laser Skin Tightening Session

Before a skin tightening treatment session, it is important for a patient to remove all make-up, oils, sunscreens, and any other substances that may be on the skin. Then, the laser skin tightening practitioner will apply a topical anesthetic cream to the area to be treated and supply the patient with protective eyewear. Because of the non-ablative nature of laser skin tightening treatment, no further anesthetic should be needed, though patients who have a particularly low tolerance for discomfort may wish to take an over-the-counter pain medication prior to treatment.

Laser skin tightening takes place in the office of a cosmetic dermatologist or other highly trained skincare professional. During a laser skin tightening treatment session, the practitioner uses a handpiece to apply brief pulses of laser energy to the skin. A continuous burst of cool air from the laser will ensure the patients' comfort. Most laser skin tightening systems require the practitioner to go over the treatment area three times for optimal results. Sessions normally last from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the size and location of the area to be treated.

After a laser skin tightening treatment, patients are able to return immediately to work or other regular activities. Side effects are minimal, and may include a warm sensation to the skin, redness, or minor swelling. Side effects of a skin tightening treatment usually resolve themselves naturally within a few hours.

Is Skin Tightening Treatment Painful?

Laser skin tightening treatment should not be painful. Before treatment, the practitioner will smooth an anesthetic cream over the area to be affected in order to minimize the risk of any discomfort for the patient. Most patients who undergo skin tightening treatment experience only minor discomfort in the form of a heating sensation. This is usually eased by the regular cooling blasts of air produced by the laser skin tightening handpiece, which increases patient comfort and prevents the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, from burning. It is also fairly common for patients to experience a mild stinging sensation from the laser, which is most commonly compared to the sensation of a rubber band being snapped against the skin. Any discomfort encountered by patients during a laser skin tightening session should resolve itself within minutes of the treatment session, though patients may feel some warmth in the treated skin for up to 48 hours after treatment.

Laser Skin Tightening Candidates

Many people notice signs of aging when skin begins to sag around the face and neck. Laser skin tightening is appropriate for men and women of all skin types and skin tones who wish to achieve dramatic results without painful surgery and lengthy recovery times. The most successful laser skin tightening candidates experience permanent results as the collagen under their skin is regenerated, producing a more youthful complexion.Laser skin tightening is a safe, effective way to lessen the effects of time. Using advanced laser technology, the collagen beneath the surface of the skin is heated, causing it to constrict, thus tightening loose facial skin and giving the appearance of firm, youthful skin with less fine lines and wrinkles.

Ideal Laser Skin Tightening Candidates

Men and women between ages 30 and 60 are ideal candidates for laser skin tightening procedures. As long as you're in good health, laser skin tightening can repair loose facial skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines all over the body. Patients with extreme skin laxity might consider combining another surgery, such as a face lift, with skin tightening to remove excess skin while diminishing surface wrinkles and rejuvenating the firmness of their healthy complexions. Laser skin tightening is an effective, minimally invasive option for people of all skin types and skin tones.

Laser Skin Tightening vs. Thermage®

Laser skin tightening and Thermage® skin treatments both are popular minimally-invasive alternatives to surgical procedures. Neither laser skin tightening nor Thermage® require incisions, so patients do not suffer from bruising, bleeding, or lengthy recovery periods. Both methods heat the collagen under the surface of the skin, causing the collagen to contract, thus tightening facial skin and loose skin on the neck, arms, and body.

While laser skin tightening uses an infrared light source (a laser) to heat and tighten the skin, the Thermage® system achieves skin tightening using radiofrequency energy instead. Both methods reportedly cause little patient discomfort, and results can be seen immediately following treatment. Some patients may only require one Thermage® skin treatment to achieve their desired amount of skin tightening, while laser skin tightening patients typically require more than one treatment. However, laser treatment sessions may be shorter. Patients report dramatic results with both methods.

Medical Considerations

There are very few risks associated with laser skin tightening, as it does not require surgery, but it is important to find an experienced doctor who can advise you based on your individual needs. Laser skin tightening is safe for men and women of all skin tones who are in good health and desire firmer, more youthful-looking skin. Side effects are temporary, and may include skin sensitivity (warming or stinging on treated areas), bruising, and changes in skin color, but these symptoms quickly subside.

Patients prone to herpes breakouts or people who have skin cancers should consult their doctors about additional medical considerations. Pregnant women should not receive laser skin tightening treatments. Patients who scar easily and develop keloids, and people using acne medications should discuss the chance of adverse reactions to skin tightening with their doctor prior to the procedure.

Cost of Laser Skin Tightening

Laser skin tightening helps patients achieve younger-looking, smoother skin without undergoing expensive surgeries such as a face lift or a tummy tuck – and the results won’t fade after a few months. Laser skin tightening treatment cost varies depending on the individual patient’s needs such as the size and location of the area to be tightened, and the type of laser used. However, facial skin tightening is considerably less expensive than invasive surgeries, and financing options are available.

Laser Skin Tightening Systems

Using the latest technologies, laser skin tightening effectively rejuvenates all skin types for firmer, more youthful-looking skin. Popular skin tightening treatments utilize the Titan® or Polaris™ systems, which use laser technology to gently heat deeper layers of collagen while cooling the skin’s outer layers. Skin tightening patients enjoy immediate results with minimal discomfort. A cosmetic dermatologist can determine the most effective laser skin tightening treatment for you.

Laser Skin Tightening FAQs

Laser skin tightening is rapidly becoming a very popular cosmetic dermatology procedure for reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other effects of skin laxity. Skin tightening is increasing in popularity because it is less invasive than other rejuvenating procedures, such as face lift and body lift procedures, it produces dramatically firmer skin, and it can be used on any area of the body. Added benefits of laser skin tightening are the reduced risk of side effects and the lack of downtime following treatment.

Which laser skin tightening system is right for me?

The most appropriate laser skin tightening system for a specific patient's needs is best determined by a qualified cosmetic dermatologist. The choice of a treatment system is based upon such factors as the area(s) of the body to be treated and the patient's desired results. To discuss which method of laser skin tightening may be best suited to your needs, use DocShop to contact an expert in your area.

What areas of the face and body can laser skin tightening treat?

Laser skin tightening has been proven effective for tightening the skin on all areas of the body. Patients can enjoy a rejuvenated look when this treatment is applied to the face, neck, abdomen, arms, legs, and buttocks. In fact, patients with minor to moderate skin laxity may opt for laser skin tightening treatment instead of more invasive procedures such as liposuction and even mini tummy tuck surgery, and experience noticeably firmer skin with no downtime and little discomfort.

What is the difference between laser skin tightening and laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin tightening often produces less immediate and dramatic changes than laser skin resurfacing, but it also poses far fewer risks, discomfort, and downtime for patients. During laser skin tightening, a laser is used to heat the collagen under the surface of the skin, causing the collagen to expand and the skin to appear tighter. Laser skin resurfacing uses lasers to remove the outer layers of skin to promote the growth of new, healthier skin. Because laser skin resurfacing actually removes the top layers of skin, it can be used to treat a broader range of cosmetic issues than laser skin tightening, such as wrinkles, age or sun spots, acne marks, and other facial scarring. The risk for unfavorable changes in pigmentation and scarring is stronger with laser skin resurfacing than with skin tightening. If you are considering facial or skin rejuvenation and would like to learn more about these different treatment plans, use the DocShop directory to help you find a dermatologist in your area who can fully educate you on the benefits and potential drawbacks of each approach.

What does laser skin tightening treatment feel like?

During treatment, your laser practitioner will use a small handpiece to apply quick pulses of laser light to your skin. Patients may feel a gradual warming sensation at the treatment area, and could feel brief discomfort which is often described as similar to the sensation caused by a snapping rubber band on the skin. 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.

When will I see results?

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, the patient's optimal results may take up to a few months to be visible. Typically, new collagen growth takes from 90 to 180 days after the initial treatment, at which time patients enjoy a dramatically rejuvenated appearance.

Are multiple treatments necessary?

While patients see noticeable decreases in skin laxity after their first laser skin tightening session, most skin tightening experts recommend up to six treatments, depending on the patient's desired results and the area to be treated. Treatments are generally spaced roughly three weeks apart. After the initial series of skin tightening treatments, some patients opt for yearly "touch up" sessions to target areas most prone to wrinkles and lines.

How much does laser skin tightening cost?

As with any cosmetic procedure, the cost of laser skin tightening varies according to a number of factors. The geographic location of the dermatologist's or laser practitioner's office and his or her level of expertise may influence the price of treatment. The most common variables that affect the cost of skin tightening are the condition of the patient's skin and the number of treatments that will be needed to reach his or her desired results. On an average, laser skin tightening costs between $450 and $2000 for the entire course of treatment, and some doctors offer package deals for patients who wish to pay for more than one session at a time. For more specific information on the potential costs of skin tightening for you, visit the DocShop page dedicated to laser skin tightening cost and financing.

Is laser skin tightening safe?

Laser skin tightening is a safe and painless way to rejuvenate the appearance of skin in any area of the body. Unlike other treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing, which promote the growth of new skin by removing superficial layers of the patient's skin the patient's existing skin, laser skin tightening does not burn or break the skin. Patients who undergo skin tightening experience very few side effects and these are most often minor inconveniences in the form of redness or minimal and temporary swelling.

What are the side effects associated with laser skin tightening?

The normal side effects of a laser skin tightening procedure may include redness and swelling, and should recede within a couple of days. In rare cases, patients experience bruising and blistering, and some patients experience changes in pigmentation of treated areas. Again, these side effects are very rare. The average skin tightening patient can expect only moderate redness and possible swelling during laser skin tightening recovery, and will be able to resume his or her lifestyle immediately.

Risks and Benefits of Laser Skin Tightening

Laser skin tightening helps patients to look and feel younger by stimulating collagen regeneration under the surface of the skin. Wrinkles and fine lines on the forehead, around and eyes and mouth, and on the neck and body, fade away as new collagen fills in the skin's surface blemishes. There are no incisions or injections and, since the laser system cools the upper layers of skin while heating collagen down below, patients experience minimal discomfort.

Patients generally notice immediate results following a laser skin tightening session, and further tightening is achieved over the next several months as new collagen grows. Depending on the areas being treated, most patients require more than one skin tightening treatment to achieve maximum results, but the effects are permanent. Unlike having a face lift, laser skin tightening requires no recovery and does not stretch the skin - it causes skin to tighten on its own. And, there is no downtime and little chance of side effects involved with skin tightening.

Laser Skin Tightening Risks

There are few risks associated with laser skin tightening. Because it does not involve any surgical incisions, skin tightening is a considerably safer method for achieving younger-looking skin than face lift procedures, and it is less costly as well. Some patients experience temporary side effects including warm or sensitive skin, a change in skin color, and localized bruising. Most laser skin tightening systems are equipped with efficient cooling mechanisms to reduce the chance of patient discomfort.

Laser Skin Tightening Recovery and Results

Laser skin tightening offers many of the same results as plastic surgery without the lengthy recovery time. While the procedure cannot remove excess skin, patients experience tightening of loose skin immediately, with less wrinkles in the treated area and a firmer, healthier-looking complexion. Laser skin tightening requires no recovery after treatment because it is a non-surgical procedure that involves no incisions.

What to Expect after Laser Skin Tightening Treatment

After laser skin tightening, results will be immediately visible, and the rejuvenating effects of increased collagen production will become markedly more noticeable in the months following treatment. Immediately after treatment, patients may notice that the affected skin is red and slightly warm, but this usually resolves itself within a few hours. Since treated skin is especially delicate, most l aser skin tightening practitioners recommend that patients protect the treated area with sunscreen for at least two weeks following their treatment. Permanent negative side effects of laser skin tightening are very rare, and patients who experience prolonged redness, swelling, or any other disturbance to the treated skin are advised to contact their doctor.

Returning to Work after Skin Tightening Treatment

There is no downtime necessary for laser skin tightening recovery; in fact, patients can return to work or play immediately following a laser skin tightening treatment session. The most common visible side effect of laser skin tightening is mild redness, and this can be safely hidden with a little make-up and should resolve itself within hours of treatment. Patients should not experience any pain during or following laser skin tightening; however, any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.

Laser Skin Tightening Results

Typical laser skin tightening results are visible for up to two years, and many patients find that they can extend their optimal results with a few touch-up treatments. After roughly two years, another series of treatments may be necessary to promote the growth of new collagen, which will be reabsorbed into the body over time.

Find a Skin Care Specialist near You

Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive treatment to consider if you’d like to tighten loose or sagging skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your face, neck, and body. If you’d prefer a procedure with no surgery, no downtime, and no difficult recovery period, facial skin tightening could be right for you. Find a qualified, experienced dermatologist in your area to discuss your skin tightening options.

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