Ageing takes its toll in a number of ways, including through expression lines, wrinkles and age spots. However, while the ageing process cannot be halted, there are skin tightening treatments available at cosmetic salons that can help to tighten the skin, making it firm again.
Latest technological advancements in the field of dermatology have presented us with excellent skin tightening solutions for ageing skin. However, there are a few options to choose from based on what suits your skin’s needs the best. So, keep reading to find the best anti-ageing treatment for you.
What happens to your skin as you age?
The skin is made up of multiple layers and components that are responsible for keeping it hydrated, nourished, firm, and elastic. As we grow older, the primary functions carried out by the skin to maintain its structure start to deteriorate. This is due to lesser amounts of collagen and elastin producing. In addition to this, the oil and sweat glands also start to slow down in their function and the outer layer of the skin becomes thinner.
These internal changes cause the skin to develop fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.
- Our genes determine our intrinsic ageing and cannot be controlled.
Apart from the internal changes, external factors that the skin is exposed to on a daily basis causes more damage, leading to the signs of ageing becoming evident.
Sun exposure is a major culprit for ageing skin. This is due to the ultraviolet radiation impacting collagen and elastin production. Furthermore, it also causes free radicals to accumulate in the skin cells. This leads to wrinkles and sagging skin, such as crow’s feet, nasolabial folds, forehead wrinkles, double chin, and jowls. Other extrinsic factors that accelerate skin ageing are smoking, poor diet, and even, sleeping position.
Preventive measures can be taken using skincare products and sunscreen. However, where they postpone skin ageing, the process can definitely not be stopped completely. In such a case, skin tightening treatments come to the rescue.
So, let us look into these skin tightening treatments in detail.
What is skin tightening?
Skin tightening involves using methods that restore the firmness of the skin. They can make it appear tighter and give it a more youthful-looking appearance.
Since volume loss and formation of wrinkles on the skin are part of the growing old process, as elasticity levels of the skin decrease, its laxity increases causing droopiness and lines to form.
Earlier methods to treat sagging, ageing skin mostly included going under the knife to get corrective cosmetic surgery for affected areas. This is where the skin is lifted surgically to make it tauter in appearance. The uses of facelifts, eye lifts, and brow lifts are common terms you may have heard that refer to surgical skin tightening methods. However, the risks associated with surgery often deter people from choosing this skin tightening treatment.
Injectables were considered the next best treatment option to tighten the skin. Why? Well, they get rid of wrinkles, such as forehead wrinkles, smile lines, etc. Botox and dermal fillers composed of different materials (natural and artificial) are examples of injectables. When injected into the affected site, they make the skin appear plump, smooth, and firm. However, the life of the results from these injectables is very limited.
Non-surgical treatments for skin tightening have been on the rise for the last decade or so. A key reason for their popularity is that they do not involve cutting the skin in any way. The treatments cosmetically enhance the skin’s appearance and get rid of the wrinkles and loose skin. Interestingly, new technologies such as lasers, microneedles, and radiofrequency give the same results as cosmetic surgery. The use of sturdy equipment during the process delivers similar results but at a much lower cost and a higher safety profile.
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How does it Work?
To understand how non-invasive skin tightening treatments work, we need to first understand some specifics about the skin.
Collagen is a protein found in the skin layers that are responsible for providing support to the skin’s structure. It is present in the form of fibres and is usually found in conjunction with elastin. Elastin is another fibrous protein that gives our skin its elasticity. Additionally, it also gives it the ability to bounce back after being stretched.
As collagen and elastin break down with age, and from sun damage, the amount of support they provide to the skin diminishes. This is visible on the skin’s physical appearance in the form of wrinkles and sagging skin.
Skin tightening treatments of the non-surgical nature target the collagen in the skin primarily where there is a practice of different forms of energy, such as light energy (laser), radiofrequency, mechanical energy (microneedle), etc. Moreover, the contract and denature collagen is present in the skin’s deeper layers.
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Stimulation of fresh collagen production occurs by destroying the existing collagen present, using biochemical and/or mechanical methods. This is because the body responds to the effects of the treatment. This happens by means of the wound healing process that initiates collagen remodelling and collagen production both. As a result, the skin rejuvenates itself.
You can see the result of these effects in the form of tightened skin that looks firm, supple, youthful, and free from wrinkles and laxity.
What are the benefits of getting this type of treatment?
The benefits of getting a non-surgical treatment for skin tightening are plenty. Importantly, it is important to note that these can vary slightly depending on the type of technology you opt for.
Here is an extensive list of the advantages for non-surgical treatments:
- Powerful and effective energy is delivered to the connective tissue layer and leads to skin tightening.
- New collagen is produced and the existing fibres are remodelled.
- Sagging skin on different parts of the body is tightened.
- Commonly treated areas include the face, neck, thighs, stomach, buttocks, chin, and arms.
- The skin appears plump and refreshed, with lesser visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Large pores shrink in size with many types of skin tightening treatments.
- Targeted delivery of high energy waves to the lower layers of the skin occurs.
- This ensures the top layers remain undamaged during the treatment.
- Being a non-surgical procedure, the treatments are non-invasive and there are no incisions on your skin.
- There are no infection or scarring risks associated with this type of treatment like those that are seen with surgical cosmetic procedures.
- Minimum pain and discomfort during and after the treatment.
- Many of the treatments have no downtime.
- No downtime means you can often go back to your regular routine just a few hours after the treatment session.
- The treatments are often around 30 to 60 minutes long.
- A session can be squeezed in into your schedule conveniently.
- When you compare to cosmetic surgery, the results individuals receive are more natural.
- Results appear due to the internal changes in the skin’s connective tissue.
- There is no unnecessary stretching of the skin – of which, could damage the skin in the long run.
Is it safe?
A statement you have since you were a kid was ‘Safety first!’ well, this also applies to skin tightening treatments! This is, especially, because the procedures are on the skin itself. The results or side effects are going to be visible to you and the entire world.
In the majority of cases, a skin tightening treatment is safe and they do not produce any unwarranted side effects. This is because the treatment uses settings, which are under control, to deliver the energy to your skin. However, both redness and swelling are common after the session.
It is, however, important to note that in some situations, your skin can react to the treatment negatively. Unprofessional and unhygienic methods of carrying out the treatment by the aesthetician may also cause side effects.
Some effects within rare cases include:
- The skin can develop pigmentation in the area that has had treatment.
- This change in colour can be both ways – the skin can either become darker or lighter. Melanin production is affected in this case resulting in the change in skin colour leading to hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.
- The internal damage caused by the treatment of the skin tissue can lead to bruising.
- The symptoms diminish in a few days usually but can last longer in some people.
- The intensity of the bruise depends on the type of treatment, your skin and age, and also the area having treatment.
What are the different types of skin tightening treatments?
There are many types of skin tightening treatments available at salons and spas. The high selling point is that they help to improve your skin’s firmness and get rid of the loose, hanging skin and wrinkles. However, the anti-ageing effects of these treatments vary from one to another.
Laser Skin Tightening
This is the most popular type of skin tightening treatment.
Laser or light energy of a specific wavelength targets the ageing skin tissue, specifically the dermal layer. The light energy becomes heat energy when it comes into contact with the skin. It creates micro-perforations in the skin, which initiates the natural wound healing process.
The skin heals itself and produces fresh collagen and elastin. As a result, this plumps up the skin whilst reducing the appearance of wrinkles and tightening loose skin. Additionally, forehead wrinkles, smile lines, bunny lines, sagging skin on the neck and chest, etc. can be easily treated with the laser.
The abbreviation commonly used for radiofrequency skin tightening treatment is RF treatment. During this procedure, the use of radiofrequency energy is for tightening the skin whilst reducing wrinkles and sagging.
The RF energy converts to heat energy in the skin, which results in collagen remodelling and synthesis. Interestingly, cell turnover rates also improve with this treatment.
Excitingly, the use of radiofrequency makes your skin appear smoother and firm in just a few sessions. Even better, is that it suits all skin types and the treatment can be performed on almost all parts of the body.
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Microdermabrasion is an anti-ageing treatment that is also easy on the pocket.
It is, in fact, an intense exfoliation treatment. Where the wrinkled and loose superficial layers of the skin are ‘sanded’ away using the abrasive surface of a special applicator. However, this skin tightening treatment is better to remove wrinkles than to get rid of sagging skin. Furthermore, skin rejuvenation is a key result that you can contain from this treatment, along with the anti-ageing effects.
Often, a professional may apply a numbing agent to the skin before the session. This is to minimise any discomfort during the procedure.
Ultrasound Skin Tightening
Also known as Ultherapy, ultrasound skin tightening treatment uses ultrasonic energy to stimulate collagen production in the dermis.
A professional will apply the energy using a compact handheld device that releases it in the form of small bursts. During the session, the heat radiating from the device may cause mild discomfort, however, the benefits of Ultherapy means it can deal with and get rid of the early signs of ageing. Which may be worth it to some. Furthermore, this form of skin tightening procedure can treat facial areas such as the neck, chin, and brows.
Do not confuse microdermabrasion with micro-needling as the latter uses a rolling device that creates pin-pricks in the skin.
When the skin heals these pricks, there is the production of new skin cells along with fresh collagen. So, existing skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, spots, and scars diminish. Additionally, your large pores also shrink in size and your skin also regains its youthful glow.
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Skin Tightening Facial
A facial that aims to achieve skin tightening results involves using a chemical peel on the skin.
Chemical peels are skin-safe solutions of alpha and beta hydroxy acids that professionals can apply to the skin. In fact, the face, neck, back, chest, and arms are common areas where many request treatment.
During the process, the aesthetician cleanses the skin and applies a thin layer of the chemical peel liquid. Depending on the strength of the facial acid and of your skin, the peel remains on the skin for any time between 10-20 minutes. Then, the professional applying the product will spray water to neutralise the peel. Following this, the application of moisturiser and sunscreen is common.
The ingredients of the chemical peel cause –
- skin rejuvenation
- the lighting of scars and age spots
- tightening of the skin
- reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
- make the skin look plump and fresh
What to consider before getting any procedures
You must understand your skin’s needs first. Then, you can opt for any of the above-mentioned skin tightening treatments.
Observe the areas of the skin you are planning to treat and identify the primary ageing skin concerns. By this we mean, if you have just fine lines, wrinkles or if there are also certain areas where the skin has started to lose its firmness and is sagging you may feel that you would benefit from having a procedure.
Mild to moderate levels of sagging can be treated with non-surgical skin tightening treatments. However, extensive sagging may need cosmetic surgery to restore the tautness of your skin.
Once you have identified the concerns you wish to get rid of, speak to a professional. Furthermore, a certified aesthetician or a dermatologist can examine and evaluate your skin concerns. They will then expertly suggest the best options for you.
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Another thing to consider before getting skin tightening treatment is how quickly you want to see the results. Some treatments show visible results right after the first session. And, some can take two to three months to show noticeable results.
Additionally, also consider the price point of the treatments. The range varies greatly because of the use of different technologies.
Look at all these pointers carefully before making your decision and getting your preferred skin tightening treatment done.