Everything You Need to Know About Laser Skin Tightening

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As we age our bodies slow down their production of elastin and collagen. When this happens our skin can start to loosen, losing its firm look. To keep skin tight many will seek surgical skin tightening options. But in many cases, clients could have amazing results without surgical procedures by using laser skin tightening treatments. In this article we’ll talk about laser skin tightening, the types of treatments, how they work, and how much laser skin tightening costs. 

What is laser skin tightening?

Laser skin tightening is a non-surgical procedure that uses lasers to increase collagen production for skin tightening.  This can help the skin appear firmer, tighter, and less crepey.

How does laser skin tightening work?

There are many different types of lasers but the general premise is that they cause controlled damage or heating of the skin in order to increase collagen production. Some of them are ablative, meaning they remove the outer layer of skin or parts of it. Others are non-ablative, meaning they do not break the skin. They all cause controlled damage that stimulates a wound healing response and collagen production. 

Who should get laser skin tightening?

Laser skin tightening works best for clients ages 30-65 who would like tighter, firmer, and less crepey skin. Those who haven’t had noticeable loosening of the skin yet may also find it to be beneficial as a preventative measure. If you are a patient with skin that has become extremely lax, a better alternative may be a surgical lift procedure.

What types of treatments are used for laser skin tightening?

There are many different types of lasers available for skin tightening so we’re just going to focus on a few of our favorites that we offer here at Elite.

IPL

IPL is technically not a laser but a light energy that targets skin discoloration. However, the light beams are able to heat up water in the skin creating a tightening effect when the treatment is done consistently. For more info visit our IPL page.

ResurFX 

ResurFX is non-ablative fractional laser technology that is able to resurface and tighten the skin. It’s great for fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin. For more info visit our ResurFX page.

RF Microneedling

RF microneedling combines the power of microneedling, well known for increasing collagen, with RF (radiofrequency) to heat up the skin. It’s like getting a 2-in-1 to tighten loose, crepey skin as well as reduce the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. RF (radiofrequency) technology is often used alone for skin tightening as well. For more info visit our RF Microneedling page.

How much does laser skin tightening cost?

Laser skin tightening treatments will vary in cost based on the type of procedure you’re having, what part of the body the procedure is being done on, and who is performing it. Remember, each of these procedures will require 3-6 treatments to see desired results. Below is a guide on how much it may cost based on the type of treatment.

IPL

$250-450/treatment

ResurFX

$700-900/treatment

RF Microneedling

$500-700/treatment

What areas can you have laser skin tightening done on?

Laser skin tightening can be done on any part of a patient’s body, but is most commonly used to tighten skin on the:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Stomach
  • Arms 
  • Legs

What should you do before laser skin tightening?

Always follow the instructions given by the provider doing your procedure for the best results. In general though you’ll want to :

  • Avoid sun exposure for 2-4weeks before treatment
  • Avoid Retinoids and other products that could lead to sensitivity for 2-4 days before treatment
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of caffeine-free fluids for 24 hours before your treatment (many lasers target water in the skin so you want to be hydrated)
  • Let your provider know about any medical conditions you have and any medications you are on

What is laser skin tightening treatment like?

Most treatments require numbing prior to the procedure to help with pain. So usually while the provider is talking to you about what to expect and going over any necessary medical history, they will have a numbing cream sitting on the treatment area for 15-45 minutes.

Then your face will be washed and the treatment will start. Usually the procedures are quite tolerable but some areas can still be sensitive. 

After treatment, as the numbing wears off, some discomfort is expected. Most people feel like they have a sunburn after laser treatments and their skin is quite sensitive. Your provider will go over aftercare or you may already have instructions that were given to you.

Is laser skin tightening painful?

Most laser procedures are quite tolerable but even with numbing cream there are always a few sensitive areas. Talk to your provider about the specific type of laser treatment you are having and what to expect. There are always things that can be done to minimize pain and discomfort.

What is laser skin tightening aftercare like?

Talk to your provider about aftercare for your specific treatment, in general:

  • You’ll want to avoid any harsh chemicals or scrubs for up to a week post-treatment for non-ablative treatments and longer for ablative
  • Avoid touching or picking your treatment area as this can lead to infection, scars, and permanent changes in pigment
  • You’ll want to avoid sun exposure for 4-8 weeks post-treatment depending on what you had done
  • You’ll want to keep your skin clean and dry and use only products approved by your provider
  • Avoid hot tubs or any soaking of the treated area until approved by your provider

What are the side effects of laser skin tightening?

Side effects for this procedure are generally mild but may include:

  • Warm or stinging skin in the area treated
  • Bruising
  • Changes in your skin color
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • In rare cases loss of pigment or darkening of pigment may occur
  • If the skin is broken, infection is another rare side effect that can occur

How much downtime is there for laser skin tightening?

Skin tightening is a favorite procedure for EMA clients because the types we offer have very minimal down-time. Most clients are able to get back to light activities immediately after the procedure and feel fairly normal within 24 hours

Before and after laser skin tightening

Laser Skin Tightening Before and After on Neck
Before and After Laser Skin Tightening on Neck

How long does it take to see results from laser skin tightening?

You may begin to see some changes immediately after your first treatment but these are not permanent and are usually from mild swelling. It is recommended that you have 3 treatments spaced out every 4 weeks to achieve the best results for most types of treatments. Some practitioners say the best results will appear 3 months after your last treatment because the skin continues to produce collagen and remodel itself for 3-6 months after.

How long does laser skin tightening last?

For patients that use sunscreen and work to take care of their skin, laser skin tightening should last for 2-3 years. After this point, patients can book the procedure again to maintain the results. Many people will do maintenance treatments yearly to keep up with their results. 

Does laser skin tightening really work?

Depending on the technology, and the provider administering the technology, laser skin tightening can really work. Here are just a few studies on the various technologies we talked about in this article:.

 IPL has been shown to be extremely effective in tightening the skin, as highlighted in this piece. As above, this is because it is able to not only reduce pigment but also create new collagen production by heating up the water in the skin.

RF microneedling also has great studies on skin tightening and is being used more and more for not only the face but also the body, as highlighted in this case study. 

This study talks about non-ablative fractional resurfacing technology (like ResurFX) and how it is safe and effective for all skin types, even darker tones.

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

These two terms go hand and hand. When the goal is skin resurfacing, to reduce unwanted pigment as well as fine lines and wrinkles, there is also a skin tightening effect. This is because the controlled damage to the skin increases collagen production therefore tightening the skin.

However, some products are better for skin tightening and others better at resurfacing. Talk to your provider about your goals and what technology is best for you.

What is the best non-surgical skin tightening procedure?

When we’re talking about a goal of skin-tightening usually the RadioFrequency (RF) technologies are the best (in our opinion) when weighing risks, benefits and outcomes. This is especially true when combined with microneedling to get a controlled depth of tissue damage with controlled energy. This helps to tighten the skin without going too deep and causing unnecessary damage or also dissolving fat in areas we don’t want to (like in the face). 

These treatments are also much more tolerable and come with less side effects than some of their competitors such as ultrasound skin tightening technologies like Ultherapy.

Should you get laser skin tightening?

Whether something is “worth it” or not is highly subjective but we have had immensely positive feedback about IPL, ResurFX, and RF Microneedling. These minimal downtime procedures work across many different areas and can last 2-3 years.

If you live near Denver, CO consider coming in for a consultation at Elite Medical & Aesthetics by booking an appointment below.

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Everything You Need to Know About ResurFX

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Intro

Many of our clients are continually seeking out a way to clear up scars, sunspots, and wrinkles without an invasive surgery. For many, ResurFX could be a great solution. In this guide we’ll break down what ResurFX is, how it works, and what it can treat.

What is fractional laser treatment?

A fractional laser treatment is a procedure where tiny laser beams are directed into targeted sections of the skin. The treatment leaves little dots all over the skin as it  creates controlled damage to these fractions while leaving the surrounding skin untouched. By doing so, the surrounding skin that has not been treated can help speed up recovery time by signaling healing cells including stem cells for new tissue growth. The cells that have been treated (those that are unwanted like hyperpigmented cells) are damaged and naturally expelled by the body.

 

The two major types of fractional treatments are ablative meaning the laser breaks the surface of the skin, and non-ablative where the goal is just to create controlled damage and usually coagulate the tissue without breaking the skin.

What is a non-ablative laser and why should I use it?

A non-ablative fractional laser such as ResurFX does not break or damage the top layer of skin making it safe for all skin types with minimal downtime. It shoots laser beams just below the top layer of skin coagulating sections of the deeper tissue. A healing cascade is signaled and the old skin is removed by the body leaving room for new healthy tissue. This creates a tightening effect and a more even complexion. 

Additionally, because the treatment is fractional, the treatment zones will heal more quickly. However, it will take multiple treatments to get the desired results. 

What does ResurFX treat?

ResurFX is an excellent treatment option with minimal downtime, it is able to treat:

  • Wrinkles and fine-lines
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scarring
  • Sunspots
  • Stretch marks
  • Loose skin

What are the benefits of ResurFX compared to other treatments?

ResurFX is one of the best non-ablative fractional lasers on the market. It has a proven safety record with excellent results. As above, this type of laser is wonderful for all skin types and has minimal down time.

How does the ResurFX fractional laser work?

ResurFX works by sending controlled laser beams (targeted by depth and energy) to varying levels of the skin. The targeted tissue is treated in fractions leaving the surrounding tissue intact. The intact skin is able to help heal the treated tissue faster meaning there is less down-time. Most people can go about their normal activities and even wear make-up within a few hours after treatment. 

How much does ResurFX cost?

ResurFX varies in price due to the size of the area being treated. For smaller areas like scars it may only cost $250, larger areas like the face and neck could cost upwards of $1200.

Estimated cost breakdown by area:

  • Small scars: $125 each
  • Medium scars: $200 each
  • Large scars: $275 each
  • Under eye and crows feet: $350
  • Forehead and glabella: $350
  • Full face: $800
  • Full face and neck: $1200
  • Decolletage: $800
  • Stretch marks: $400+

What is the ResurFX treatment like?

ResurFX is generally a 20-30 minute procedure depending on the size of the area being treated. At the office, the clinician will walk you through the procedure and ask if you have any questions. After this, they’ll prep the area with a topical anesthetic that will help ensure the procedure is less painful. Once the skin is prepped and clean the clinician will use the laser tool to begin treating the skin. 

The first treatment is usually done conservatively to see how your skin responds and ensure there is no post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in those with darker skin tones. Sometimes a 1-2 month prep before treatment is needed for darker skin types or those prone to hyperpigmentation. After great results from the 1st treatment, each consecutive treatment can get more aggressive depending on the goals of treatment.

How should I take care of my skin after my fractional laser treatment?

Immediately after your appointment, the clinician will use a cooling gel or fan on the skin to reduce some of the discomfort. They’ll then apply a protective sunscreen on your sensitive skin. After this you should make sure to:

  • First 24 hours: Avoid skin-irritating products like retinol creams, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. Also, avoid using a rough washcloth on your face. To reduce the sunburnt feeling you can apply a cool compress to your face in short intervals. 
  • 24-48 hours after: Wash skin with a mild cleanser and avoid makeup. Apply an SPF 30+ sunscreen and a moisturizer. 
  • 72 hours after: continue washing with a gentle cleanser. Make sure to continue applying an SPF 30+ sunscreen and a moisturizer. 
  • 5 days after: You can resume using products like retinol creams, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. The skin may be sensitive.
  • Between days 4-7 you can also start exfoliating the skin as it may feel rough and gritty. Only exfoliate if the skin is completely intact and there is zero sensitivity. 

Make-up can technically be applied immediately post treatment but we usually recommend waiting until the skin is no longer sensitive and is starting to exfoliate, usually around day 3. 

How long until I see results from my ResurFX fractional laser treatments?

It is recommended that patients receive at least 3 ResurFX treatments with 4 weeks in between treatments. That means it can take upwards of 3 months to see the full results of your ResurFX treatment. You will also continue seeing skin improvements for up to 6 months following the completion of treatment.

What are the side effects of ResurFX treatments?

Immediately after your treatment, you will feel like your skin has been sunburned. This hot feeling should dissipate after the first 1-2 hours. After this, most patients experience dry,  pink, or bronzed skin for 2-4 days with peeling or flaking (most common) as the treatment works to remove damaged skin. In some patients, it may take up to a few weeks for redness and irritation to fully subside. 

Potential rare, but serious side effects include:

  • Severe swelling or blistering
  • Infection
  • Skin hyperpigmentation
  • Scarring

Most all of these side effects can be avoided by going to a trained medical professional that knows how to keep you safe for this treatment. Closely following pre and post treatment instructions are also crucial to great results. For instance, since the skin is not broken during the treatment, picking is the most common reason people might get an infection.

If any of these happen after your treatment, immediately contact the provider that did your treatment.

Are there any treatments I can have with ResurFX?

  • IPL for a photofractional treatment to really target dark spots and discoloration
  • Dermaplaning, light peels and enzymes can be done prior for a more intense treatment
  • Injectables such as Botox or Xeomin can be done immediately after the treatment but we usually recommend against this because the skin is so sensitive to touch.

How many ResurFX fractional laser treatments will I need?

As mentioned above, the best results from ResurFX will take 3 sessions spaced a month apart. This ensures collagen stimulation and long-lasting improvement in the skin. Many providers will offer packaged deals if you book 3 or more appointments. 

How long before I will need more ResurFX?

The results of your ResurFX treatment should last forever on the areas treated. That being said, as we age new spots, lines and scars  will often appear naturally that will need to be treated as they develop.

Is ResurFX the same as Fraxel laser treatment?

Fraxel is simply another brand of non-ablative fractional laser. It has gotten a bad rap for severe side effects such as scarring, hyperpigmenation and severe pain. However, the company that makes this product has updated their machine (so we’re told). It should also be said that bad side effects are often created by technicians that don’t have proper training or experience so you can’t just blame the brand or company.

From our research ResurFX has a higher track record of safety, great results and patient satisfaction which is why we chose this brand over the many other competitors.

ResurFX Before and After

Womans face before and after resurfx on nose
Before and Afer of ResurFX on nose scars
side profile before and after resurfx on cheeks
Before and After of ResurFX on a dark spot on the cheek

Are you ready for ResurFX?

If you’re looking for a way to wrinkles, scars, and other skin considerations ResurFX is an excellent option with minimal downtime. If you’re in the Centennial, Colorado area just outside of Denver, book an appointment now to talk to our amazing staff.

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