What to know about skin tightening

Wrinkles and sagging or crepey skin naturally appear as your body ages. Skin loses its ability to produce elastin and collagen, which contribute to your skin’s elasticity and firmness. 

In recent years, a number of nonsurgical procedures have been developed to help tighten the skin on the face or elsewhere on your body using radiofrequency, ultrasound, and lasers. While these treatments are nonsurgical, they should only be performed by a licensed professional and under the supervision of a doctor.

Types of Skin Tightening Procedures

The following treatments use devices to deliver targeted energy to heat deeper layers of your skin and stimulate collagen and elastin production. 

Ultrasound skin tightening. A micro-focused ultrasound is used to send heat deep into your skin, up to 5 millimeters below the surface. This can tighten and lift skin on your face, neck, and upper chest, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Results from your ultrasound therapy can take up to 3-4 months to appear, but they may be visible after only one treatment.

Radiofrequency (RF) therapy. As with ultrasound skin tightening, a handheld device is used to send heat into your skin to trigger collagen production. Unlike ultrasound, radiofrequency targets the outer layer of your skin called the epidermis. It is FDA-approved to treat the face, neck, body, and hands. RF treatments can be combined with microneedling to treat deeper layers of skin. In either case, results appear gradually.

While many people see results from only one RF treatment, it may take from two to six treatments to achieve the desired results. Results can last up to three years with the right skincare regimen.

Other Treatments for Wrinkles

There are several alternatives to the non-surgical treatments above. You may prefer to use creams or receive dermal injections.

Cosmetic injections. When injected into certain muscles, cosmetic neuromodulators keeps them from contracting. This makes your skin appear smoother. Results take up to 3 days to appear and last several months.

Dermal Fillers. These injections include collagen, and hyaluronic acid. Dermal Fillers plump your skin and smooth wrinkles. Their result is instant and lasts for 6-12 months. 

The biggest difference between cosmetic injections and fillers is that cosmetic injections are used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by paralyzing the underlying muscles, fillers on the other hand will fill in wrinkles.

Over-the-counter and prescription topicals. Topical creams and ointments generally produce mild improvements at best. Look for products that contain retinoids such as adapalene, tazarotene, or tretinoin for the best results. While it can take several months, many people notice an improvement in fine lines and wrinkles after continued use.‌

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