Many patients notice that their skin has lost firmness and elasticity over time and ask about procedures that can help restore a more youthful firmness and get rid of fine lines.
Intrinsic factors, meaning the ones that you have no control over like aging and genetics, are partially to blame.
In addition, cumulative exposure to the sun over one’s lifetime causes further damage by speeding up degradation of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for skin’s fullness and elasticity.
Other factors including stress, diet, lifestyle, smoking and weight fluctuation can also contribute to skin laxity.
TREATMENTS FOR SKIN LAXITY
Fortunately, over the past 2 decades, multiple technologies have been developed, and approved by the FDA, to lift and tighten skin without having to go under the knife.
At The West Institute, we have been utilizing Ulthera® microfocused ultrasound, the first device approved by the FDA to LIFT and tighten skin, with great success since its launch in 2012.
Ulthera delivers potent ultrasound energy to the deep layers of the skin, the same layers that are targeted with a traditional facelift. With numbing cream and continuous cold air applied during the treatment, there is very little discomfort associated with Ulthera treatment. Skin lifting and tightening is visible within 8-12 weeks, and continues to improve for an entire year.
Effects of Ultherapy don’t “wear off,” but your skin does continue to become more lax with age, resulting in many patients repeating the non-invasive, no-downtime treatment every 2-3 years.
In my practice, Ulthera is used day in and day out to target skin laxity involving the lower face and upper neck, resulting in a sharp, chiseled jawline as well as lifting of jowls and loose skin under the chin.
The treatment is very popular with men due to lack of downtime and the ability to get right back to work and social commitments. Ulthera can be used to lift skin almost anywhere on the body, including the brows (for which it first received FDA clearance), the abdomen (commonly done after non-invasive fat removal procedure such as CoolSculpting®), and the front of the thighs and knees.
For skin laxity that occurs on the front of the neck, sometimes known as “crepey” skin with fine wrinkles, there was really no effective tightening treatment available until just a few years ago.
In 2013 The West Institute acquired Infini™ radiofrequency microneedling specifically for is application to the front of the neck (although this technology also works well for acne scarring and skin tightening of other areas).
Inifini™ is a “stamping” device in which 49 tiny needles pierce the skin at once, delivering tightening radiofrequency energy to 3 different layers beneath the skin. Treatments are typically done as a series to achieve maximum results, all skin types are good candidates, and the skin can be covered by makeup within a few hours following treatment.
For fine wrinkling and crepey skin around the eye, our treatment of choice is carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. The newer generation of CO2 lasers are fractional, so the downtime is reduced compared to the earliest technology, but this type of laser resurfacing does require 5-7 days for healing and cannot be covered with makeup during that time.
CO2 laser resurfacing is the gold standard for tightening up the skin around the eyes and, in our practice, is often accompanied by dermal filler treatment to gently and naturally replace fat loss that occurs under the eye (“dark circles”).