Plain and simple, laser skin tightening is the tightening of the skin on the face, neck, or body using good old fashioned heat. According to Panache, it's one of the most effective methods for tightening loose, creepy skin.
"After the age of 30, we slow down our production of collagen and elastin—the two proteins that help our skin stay firm, plump, and toned," she explains. "What non-surgical skin tightening with lasers does is target energy in the layers of the skin to stimulate that collagen and elastin production, which will gradually improve the texture and tone.”
According to Dr. Parminder, lasers can treat loose skin on the face, neck (and chin), décolletage, stomach, thighs, and basically anywhere else on the body you want to improve. Not all lasers are made equal though—what might work magic on the butt isn't going to be the best option for tightening your undereye area.
Phew! Other than slight discomfort from the heat produced by lasers during the procedure, tightening your skin is practically painless. You might even enjoy the feeling of the heat, which Dr. Parminder compares to that of "a hot stone massage."
There are three major methods.
Even though there are literally hundreds of Panache laser treatments, they all fall under the umbrella of three major categories, per Dr. Parminder: ultrasound, radiofrequency, and radiofrequency microneedling.
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.
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.
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 cosmetologist 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.