First, it’s important to understand what happens in the deeper skin layers as a person ages. There are several substances in the dermis, or deep skin layer, that promote smooth, resilient skin during youth. Collagen and elastin are two critical components of the dermis. Collagen supports the outer layer of skin, creating fullness and smoothness. As time passes, the collagen layer may deteriorate, losing hyaluronic acid, which stores moisture in the skin. Expressions and gravity start to crease and break up the continuity of the collagen layer. Fine lines and fissures occur. As elastin loses function, skin loses its ability to tighten naturally. The epidermis starts to collapse into the voids in the dermis. We see this as some types of wrinkles and lines.
When a person receives an injury, such as a severe cut, many body systems jump into action, preventing infection, closing the wound, and repairing the damage. Though non-invasive technologies use several approaches to achieve the effect, the most common way to create skin tightening results is through controlled heating of the tissue in the dermis layer. Raising the temperature of the collagen layer about five or ten degrees above normal brings it to something called the coagulation point. Once at that temperature, the body perceives this tissue as damaged. Old collagen is broken down and flushed from the body, and new collagen replaces it. Elastin and hyaluronic stores are also replenished. Many fine lines now fill in and larger wrinkles soften in appearance, supported by new collagen. The result is smoother, tighter skin. Depending on the device, other skin issues may show improvement too, such as dark spots or visible blood vessels.
Yes. First, there’s no surgical incision, as with traditional face lifts. Whether laser, ultrasound, or radiofrequency, each technique penetrates the epidermis and targets the dermis, warming it without affecting tissue above or below that layer. It’s this selective warming that makes non-invasive skin tightening a zero-downtime procedure. In many cases, a patient can schedule an appointment over a lunch break and return to work or other daily activities immediately after treatment. If there are side effects at all, these are similar to a mild sunburn, caused by slight absorption of energy in tissue adjacent to the dermis. The effects typically pass in a day or two.
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