Non-surgical skin tightening can be performed with ultrasound, radiofrequency or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment systems. Each method uses specific energies to target and heat the deep skin layers and to make the body turn on its natural wound healing process. This stimulates the natural production of collagen and in the absence of a real injury, will improve the health of the skin, including increasing the elasticity and thickness of the skin.
Radiofrequency skin tightening treatments (also known as Thermage, Accent, and Pelleve) take about 45 – 90 minutes and can be used on the face and body. Depending on the needs of the patient, 1 or several treatments may be needed to achieve their best results. Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments (also known as Titan, Sciton’s St., and Velashape) requires protective eyewear and usually shows the best results with 1 – 4 treatment sessions. Ultrasound skin tightening treatments use safe ultrasound energy to affect 3 different layers of the skin at once. Treatments are usually 30 – 90 minutes and most patients will need multiple sessions to get their best results.
The doctor or technician will begin the nonsurgical skin tightening treatments by cleaning the skin in the area to be treated to eliminate dirt, oils, makeup, and other products. While the doctor may administer local anesthesia or pain medication at their discretion, most patients find the mild pain and discomfort during treatment to be tolerable. Patients may spend 30 – 90 minutes being treated, depending on the technology being used and the size of the area being treated. After a very short recovery and observation period, the patient is able to leave and resume their day with no restrictions to their diet or activity level. The doctor will give the patient careful aftercare instructions and discuss scheduling any more treatments. Patients should not expect to see results immediately since the effects of the increased collagen production may take 2 – 6 months to become visible.