As you age, your skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Instead of just snapping briskly back into place after each facial expression, older skin just kind of stays where it is. It tends to sag and droop, which is especially noticeable around the eyes, jowls, and chin.
The old-fashioned way to tighten your skin was to perform a surgical facelift. A facelift will temporarily tighten and lift your skin back into place, but it will not correct the underlying lack of elasticity, so your skin will rapidly sag back into its former position. Nowadays, aestheticians have a wide range of non-surgical tools to directly address and correct the skin’s lack of elasticity.
Aestheticians today have access to small, portable machines that can apply radiofrequency energy deep within the skin to restore the skin’s youthful elasticity. The machine delivers the radiofrequency energy to the skin via a hand-held wand. The radiofrequency energy penetrates deeply into the skin, where it is converted into heat. The heat energy causes the collagen structure to contract and tighten, inducing an immediate increase in the firmness of the skin. In the days and weeks following the treatment, the skin responds to the energy by making more collagen and elastin, producing a visibly firmer, more elastic, and more aesthetic appearance.
Why does your skin become less elastic as you age?
Your skin has three layers, the outer layer of dead cells called the epidermis, the inner layer full of blood vessels and nerves called the dermis, and the underlying layer full of sweat glands and fat called the subcutaneous layer. All three layers contain extensive amounts of extracellular proteins that form the structure of the skin, the extracellular matrix. The most predominant proteins in the matrix are collagen and elastin.
Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and general aging processes cause your skin to change in many ways. The changes most relevant to your skin becoming less elastic and less firm involve the extracellular matrix. Your body slowly stops making as much collagen and elastin. The lack of elastin is the major reason why your skin stops being springy and firm and starts sagging instead.
What is a radiofrequency treatment like?
After a thorough cleaning of the skin, a conductive gel is spread over the area to be treated. The aesthetician slowly moves the wand over the skin, delivering the appropriate amount of radiofrequency energy. The treatment takes 30 to 90 minutes. There may be some minor discomfort and the treated area may experience mild swelling and reddening for a few hours afterward, but you can return to your normal activities immediately.
Is the effect instantaneous?
There will be some immediate, obvious tightening of the skin after the treatment. The full effects won’t become apparent for two to six months. The radiofrequency treatment induces your skin to start producing more collagen and elastin, and over time, as the more youthful extracellular matrix starts to build up, your skin will slowly become thicker, firmer, plumper, and more elastic. The full effect of the treatment should be apparent by six months.
Is the effect permanent?
Unfortunately, the improvement in your skin will not be permanent. After about two years, the effect will wear off and your skin will slowly stop producing as much collagen and elastin. The good news is that you can just go get another treatment as soon as you notice that your skin is starting to sag a little bit. People who have repeated rounds of treatment report that the interval between treatments increases over time; for example, after your first treatment, you may need a second treatment 18 months later, but you only need a third treatment 28 months after the second treatment.
What areas can be treated?
Radiofrequency treatment works best on the jowls, chin, and under the eyes. It can, however, be applied anywhere you are experiencing sagging skin, such as your neck, cheeks, and upper arms.
Who is a good candidate for this procedure?
The best candidate for a radiofrequency treatment is someone who is relatively healthy and has taken steps to keep their skin healthy by following a healthy diet, exercising, and protecting their skin from the sun. Despite their efforts to remain healthy, their skin is starting to become thinner and less elastic, and as a consequence is starting to sag a bit. Radiofrequency treatment is an ideal approach to this aesthetic problem since it completely reverses the underlying cause of the sagging skin.
Individuals who have a lot of loose, floppy skin in their problem area may need surgery to remove the excess skin before applying radiofrequency energy to tighten the remaining skin. For example, if you have been following a healthy lifestyle and have lost a few pounds, along with your third chin, for the best aesthetic result a combination of surgery and radiofrequency treatment should be considered.
Are there any safety risks or side effects to be concerned about?
Radiofrequency treatments, when applied by a trained aesthetician, are remarkably safe. There are no reported safety risks or side effects.
If you are interested in discussing your skin and how to improve its health and aesthetics, why not give us a call? We have all of the most modern techniques and aesthetic machines available at our spa, and we can advise you about the best approach to meet your goals.