Skin laxity is a problem that every woman will face as she ages. Tight, firm skin is something every woman desires.
There is currently no universally accepted standard for measuring the severity of laxity or the effectiveness of tightening treatments. In most cases, we rely on before and after photos for comparison. The most obvious areas where laxity appears are the corners of the mouth, the jawline, and the neck, which are also the areas doctors commonly use to evaluate clinically.
Tightening treatments can be invasive or non-invasive. Invasive treatments include facelifts and thread lifts. Non-invasive treatments are varied and their effectiveness can vary greatly. The most common treatments fall into three categories: radiofrequency, halogen lamps, and focused ultrasound.
The longest-standing radiofrequency treatment is Thermage, which uses a square probe to evenly distribute radiofrequency energy in the deeper layers of the skin, heating the skin and stimulating collagen regeneration. After years of improvement, the latest models can significantly reduce pain and side effects. Other radiofrequency devices primarily use a rolling motion to deliver radiofrequency energy to the skin, heating the surface skin to a specific temperature (such as 41 degrees) to tighten and promote collagen production. Most radiofrequency devices use this method, but the size of the energy and treatment depth can vary. Radiofrequency energy enters the epidermis without creating any wounds and heats the deep skin. There is a type of radiofrequency that is injected into the skin with a needle, directly heating the subcutaneous tissue. This is a segmented radiofrequency, which has a stronger disruptive effect and achieves the same tightening effect.
Another popular method in recent years is focused ultrasound. It uses focusing technology to concentrate ultrasound energy at a point to create micro-damage in the deeper layers of the skin. Each “line” will have several cohesive wounds that stimulate collagen regeneration during the recovery process, resulting in a tightening effect.
In addition, there is a less well-known tightening treatment that uses red light to tighten the skin. This is a halogen lamp that emits infrared wavelengths (850nm-1750nm) to heat the moisture in the skin. Infrared can heat tissue in the skin up to 2mm deep, and at the same time, the head will freeze the surface skin to protect it from thermal damage. This achieves a similar effect to radiofrequency tightening by heating a large area of tissue.
The cause of laxity can be due to collagen loss, fat redistribution, elastin loss, changes in facial bones with age, and SMAS laxity. Therefore, doctors need to determine the cause of a patient’s laxity before recommending treatment methods, and if necessary, combine other treatments to effectively address the root of the problem.