What Is Laser Skin Tightening?
Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive, non-surgical process that uses an infrared light source (a laser) to tighten skin by heating the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing the skin to contract (tighten). Facial skin tightening is noticeable immediately after the treatment, and there is no downtime, making this an increasingly popular procedure. Additional skin tightening occurs over the next few months, but optimal results usually require two or three treatments about a month apart.
Laser skin tightening is an FDA approved method for the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity. While laser skin tightening results may not be as dramatic as those of a face lift, patients enjoy moderate results with no downtime. An added benefit of laser skin tightening is that it is safe and effective for restoring a more firm, youthful appearance to skin all over the body. Read on to learn more about the benefits of laser skin tightening treatment.
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What to Expect During a Session
Before a skin tightening treatment session, it is important for a patient to remove all make-up, oils, sunscreens, and any other substances that may be on the skin. Then, the laser skin tightening practitioner will apply a topical anesthetic cream to the area to be treated and supply the patient with protective eyewear. Because of the non-ablative nature of laser skin tightening treatment, no further anesthetic should be needed, though patients who have a particularly low tolerance for discomfort may wish to take an over-the-counter pain medication prior to treatment.
Laser skin tightening takes place in the office of a cosmetic dermatologist or other highly trained skincare professional. During a laser skin tightening treatment session, the practitioner uses a handpiece to apply brief pulses of laser energy to the skin. A continuous burst of cool air from the laser will ensure the patients’ comfort. Most laser skin tightening systems require the practitioner to go over the treatment area three times for optimal results. Sessions normally last from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the size and location of the area to be treated.
After a laser skin tightening treatment, patients are able to return immediately to work or other regular activities. Side effects are minimal, and may include a warm sensation to the skin, redness, or minor swelling. Side effects of a skin tightening treatment usually resolve themselves naturally within a few hours.
Is it Treatment Painful?
Laser skin tightening treatment should not be painful. Before treatment, the practitioner will smooth an anesthetic cream over the area to be affected in order to minimize the risk of any discomfort for the patient. Most patients who undergo skin tightening treatment experience only minor discomfort in the form of a heating sensation. This is usually eased by the regular cooling blasts of air produced by the laser skin tightening handpiece, which increases patient comfort and prevents the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, from burning. It is also fairly common for patients to experience a mild stinging sensation from the laser, which is most commonly compared to the sensation of a rubber band being snapped against the skin. Any discomfort encountered by patients during a laser skin tightening session should resolve itself within minutes of the treatment session, though patients may feel some warmth in the treated skin for up to 48 hours after treatment.
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