I’ve enjoyed the absence of face-to-face communication for the past two years due to a global pandemic. I’m also realizing that I can’t apply Facetune and social media filters to activities that take place in the real world. It’s not that I especially want to; our looks reveal our ethnicity, character, wellbeing, and how long we’ve been a part of this human experience. However, I do enjoy making some modifications, especially when it comes to loose skin.Best Skin Tightening Treatment.
I battled as a child with my cherubic face, which evolved into an oval form as I entered puberty. But I lusted after the sharp jawline and prominent cheekbones I noticed on Hollywood celebrities and in my Instagram feed. I too noticed a reduction of volume on my face after the age of 35. My skin started to sag as a result of what my physicians described as rapid weight loss paired with aging and environmental exposure.
So I looked for methods to make things more firm. I was ready to give anything a try that would assist with my slack skin. When I first started using skin care products, alpha and beta hydroxy acids and other chemical exfoliants helped with texture but not the sagging I was worried about. And now for the bad news: According to Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and the author of The Pro-Aging Playbook, “Topicals will never work for laxity in any shape or form.” I would have to use injectables if I wanted to treat my sagging.
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The good news is that as part of my employment, I had access to a wide range of knowledgeable dermatologists who were able to teach me probably more than I needed to know about all the available non-surgical techniques for loose skin.
What brings on sagging skin?
By addressing the causes of skin volume loss, you can treat skin laxity and take preventative measures. Simple: Skin laxity with aging is attributed, in the words of New York City-based board-certified plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, to the increasing loss of collagen and elastin.
These two naturally occurring proteins are prevalent in our tissues up until we get older. According to Dr. Devgan, “Elastin gives the tissues bounciness, recoil, and the ability to stretch, whereas collagen gives the tissues support and structure.” Collagen and elastin play a crucial role in skin quality because they work together to give the skin its turgor and suppleness, which makes it seem and feel stronger and healthier. Our biological proteins start to break down with time and other factors including heredity and sun exposure to UVA and UVB light.
Dr. Devgan advises “a diet rich in biotin, folate, complex B vitamins, lean protein, and micro and macro nutrients” as two ways to try and lessen the consequences of these elements. He also recommended wearing an SPF daily.
Some factors, nevertheless, are beyond of your control. As an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital and a board-certified dermatologist from New York City, Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, says, “Ethnicity also dictates how early the signs of aging start to show up: skin with less melanin will show signs of aging much sooner.”
How is laxity treated without surgery?
First things first: according to many of the experts I spoke with, the effectiveness of minimally invasive procedures for treating drooping skin is still being investigated. “Non-surgical treatment of skin laxity remains the black box of plastic surgery,” says Dr. Devgan. Although there is a lot of study being done on the subject, she continues, “at this time, there is no perfect solution to the question of [effectiveness of] non-surgical skin tightening. Although numerous businesses and academic institutions are currently looking into this issue, there is no perfect treatment. Therefore, there is no magic cure.
Despite this, some methods have potential, according to Dr. Devgan. Dr. Frank claims that in order to address both deep and superficial tissue laxity, he typically employs a mix of therapies. The experts have identified a number of non-surgical approaches of addressing loose skin, which should be taken into account and discussed with a trained professional to see which could be best for your skin.
Ultrasound and Radio Frequency (RF) Skin Tightening
According to Dr. Devgan, radio frequency skin tightening (RF) emits radio waves beneath the skin in order to encourage the production of collagen and elastin. Roy Geronemus, MD, the director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center in New York City, suggests ultrasound as an alternative procedure to take into consideration because the ultrasound waves encourage comparable production.
Although the process for skin tightening is a little different from what I had previously imagined, ultrasonography is typically used as a diagnostic tool to monitor fetal growth during pregnancy or as a kind of wand by radiologists to locate kidney stones. In ultrasound skin treatments, a focused beam of ultrasound radiation is applied to the target area to heat the dermis and encourage the production of collagen.
According to Dr. Ingleton, there has been an increase in patient interest in fillers. “People have been on Zoom calls and staring at their images for two years, so this has led to them identifying all kinds of changes in their faces related to aging,” adds the expert. As a method to seem better on camera and in real life, they are now seeking fillers and Botox more frequently.
Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvéderm and Restylane help to replenish lost collagen, according to Dr. Ingleton. Some of these hyaluronic acid treatments, according to her, have the ability to not only bring volume back but also lift sagging areas on the face, depending on the product used and the practitioner’s injection technique.
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Dr. Devgan also touches on the potential benefits of fillers to “build the appearance of better bone structure in an aging face in order to support hanging tissues to allow a more pleasing conformation of the face.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the cheek filler Voluma. It contains hyaluronic acid.
That’s nothing new to me; I’ve been using it for years to highlight my cheekbones. Fillers, like many non-surgical procedures, need to be repeated on a regular basis to preserve the desired effects. Although most experts concur that each person’s periodicity is unique, every six months is widely considered to be a good benchmark.
According to Dr. Ingleton, the cost of fillers varies according on their quantity and quality, with a one-milliliter syringe starting at roughly $900.
Dr. Ingleton asserts that non-surgical procedures can reduce the appearance of drooping skin and names microneedling as one such technique. In the microneedling procedure, tiny punctures are made in the skin with extremely small needles to encourage the creation of collagen. According to Dr. Ingleton, skin tightening can be accomplished using RF and a microneedling technique.
“Microneedling RF devices, like EndyMed Intensif, poke tiny holes into the skin and then deliver RF heat to the deep layers of the skin to stimulate skin tightening over time,” she explains. However, Dr. Ingleton does warn us that “special precautions must be taken when performing Microneedling with RF on darker skin” because those with more melanin are more prone to hyperpigmentation. Regardless of skin tone, Dr. Frank explains that it is recommended to stay out of the sun for a few weeks following microneedling or any other surgery that could cause irritation.
The cost of microneedling sessions starts at about $300.
Micro-Coring Dr. Geronemus describes micro-coring as “a new method just introduced that can also result in skin tightening,” for those of you who prefer to stay on the cutting edge. Dermal micro-coring, according to Practical Dermatology, entails using a non-electric, fine-gauge needling tool to make microscopic punches in the skin that are directed by a grid.
A very tiny needle, known as a fine-gauge needle, is one that often causes the patient less discomfort. This process allows the skin to tighten and shrink while also promoting the development of collagen and elastin. It eliminates a little quantity of skin from the surface area without leaving scars.
After receiving FDA approval last year, a micro-coring tool by the name of Ellacor made its debut. According to Dr. Geronemus, the procedure costs $2,000 to $3,000 per session. He also points out that multiple sessions are frequently necessary.
Although there is disagreement among the specialists I spoke with regarding the effectiveness of laser treatment for skin tightening, they all agree that laser therapy is a helpful skin treatment. A tiny, laser-focused beam of light is used to promote the creation of collagen. Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Dr. Devgan, who supports the use of lasers to tighten the skin, asserts that Erbium lasers “can tighten the skin envelope.” Your skin’s water absorbs erbium laser beams, causing the tissue there to vaporize. The laser’s heat is claimed to encourage the production of collagen, which is thought to help tighten the skin.
Dr. Frank is skeptical about the use of lasers for skin tightening even if he acknowledges their benefits for other skin-improvement operations. “Lasers are best for removing sun damage, broken capillaries, and melasma, not necessarily firming the skin,” he claims. “However, treating UV damage can enhance the overall caliber and texture of the skin.