Cosmetic Procedures
Skin Tightening

Several non-invasive devices can tighten the skin. While these devices do not deliver the results of a surgical lifting procedure such as a facelift, they can produce mild to modest tightening by sending heat deep into the skin. The heat causes some immediate tissue tightening and signals the body to start making new collagen. As the new collagen forms, skin may appear firmer and tighter. There is virtually no downtime.

Technologies used for this non-invasive skin tightening include:

  • Infrared laser

  • Pulsed infrared light

  • Radiofrequency

Signs of Aging Treated
Different devices are used to tighten skin on virtually every area of the body. Most people choose non-invasive skin tightening to:

  • Firm forehead and cheeks

  • Lift the eyebrows

  • Tighten jowls and neck

  • Reduce wrinkles around the eyes

  • Diminish the appearance of cellulite

  • Tighten skin on the abdomen, buttocks, arms, and thighs

What Happens During Skin Tightening?
If you are considering non-invasive skin tightening and want to know what would happen if you underwent this procedure, visit Skin Tightening: What to Expect Before, During, and After.

When See Results from Non-Invasive Skin Tightening
Patients may see some improvement after the first treatment session. One study reported that some patients saw a 40% to 60% improvement after the initial treatment, with continued improvement noticeable for up to 1 year after a series of treatments.

Most patients, however, will notice gradual improvement over 4 to 6 months. It also is possible that minimal or no improvement results from non-invasive skin tightening.

With recent improvements in the technologies used for non-invasive skin tightening though, more patients are seeing positive results. These improvements also allow more areas of the body to be successfully treated.

Results tend to be modest, but noticeable. Skin-tightening devices cannot produce the results possible with a surgical lifting procedure such as a brow lift or facelift. However, both younger and older patients can be treated successfully without downtime. These skin-tightening devices cause the body to produce more collagen, which makes the skin thicker and firmer.

Possible Side Effects
While side effects vary with the device used, most people experience only noticeable redness that lasts for a few hours after the procedure. Soreness after the procedure has been reported. Rarely, a mild burn can result.

How Long Results Last
This varies with the device used, number of treatments, and the skin treated. In general, results last about 1 year or longer.

Related Links
10 Questions to Ask Before a Cosmetic Procedure
Facial Skin Rejuvenation (AAD pamphlet)

Alexiades-Armenakas MR, Dover JS, Arndt KA. “Laser Therapy.” In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP et al, editors. Dermatology. 2nd edition. Spain, Mosby Elsevier; 2008. p. 2113.

Alexiades-Armenakas MR, Dover JS, Arndt KA. “The spectrum of laser skin resurfacing: nonablative, fractional, and ablative laser resurfacing.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2008; 58: 719-37; quiz 38-40.

American Academy of Dermatology. “Saving Face Without Surgery? New Minimally Invasive Technologies Can Rejuvenate Skin with Minimal Downtime, Less Risks.” News release issued July 30, 2008. Last accessed September 24, 2008.

American Academy of Dermatology. “New Technologies Tighten Skin From Head to Toe Without Surgery.” News release issued August 2, 2007. Last accessed September 24, 2008.

American Academy of Dermatology. “New Approach for Treating Aging Skin Combines Minimally Invasive Procedures.” News release issued February 4, 2007. Last accessed September 24, 2008.

Rabe JH, Mamelak AJ, McElgunn PJS, et al. “Photoaging: Mechanisms and repair.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 55: 11.

Sadick N. “Lasers.” In: Sadick, Moy, Lawrence, et al. Concise Manual of Dermatologic Surgery. China, McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. p. 98.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

Advances in technology have made it possible to perform non-invasive skin tightening on most areas of the body.





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Page last updated 11/13/08

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