Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD 3209 M Street N.W. Washington, DC
As the cosmetic industry introduces new, revolutionary ways to look younger, patients want to learn about the latest procedures to help them improve physical appearances, elasticity, texture and tone, such as skin tightening.
To best understand it, one must first at the skin itself - our largest organ. Skin is composed of three layers that contribute to its elasticity, shape and tone. The top-most layer is the epidermis, which is thinnest at the eyelid and thickest at the palm. The dermis rests below this and is rich with collagen. This collagen extends to the subcutaneous layer below, creating a web-like structure into the fat cells. Collagen decays or becomes depleted with age, and the skin begins to lose its shape and elasticity. However, those procedures can encourage the body to produce new collagen and improve its structure.
Much of the damage done to the skin's collagen comes from the sun and aging, but heredity also plays a part. It rests at a layer that topical lotions and potions can't easily reach, but the procedures employ contemporary technology to heat below the skin and stimulate the production of new collagen. This sidesteps the pulled back look of a facelift and instead gives the skin the fuller look of a youthful face. The procedure technique can be applied to other areas of the body as well, to pull and tighten skin in other areas.
A patient will notice some improvements immediately. However, the full effect will reveal itself over the next six months as the skin produces new collagen in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. The length of time the results last can be dependent on the method used. Some methods require several return trips in a short time and then last for several years. Others are a "fire and forget" approach, needing just one treatment for two years of results.
Aging More Beautifully
These treatments favor starting younger as more collagen in the skin offers better results. When we're young, our skin is flush with collagen, but the quality and quantity decrease as we age. The ideal age range is 35 - 60 for both women and men. For women of all ages and regardless of ethnicity or skin type: young, middle aged and older, and women who experience sagging skin following pregnancy find it to be a solution with desirable results. Even men enjoy the benefits of procedures. Since this is also a non-surgical procedure that is safe and effective, more people are purchasing those procedures and packages from dermatologists, cosmetic and plastic surgeons and trained professionals.
If you are considering it to help tighten and lift problem areas, here are some other qualifications of a good candidate:
- Skin that has lost its smoothness. It may be dimpled or crepey in appearance.
- An abdomen that has lost its taught appearance after a pregnancy
- Irregular or sagging skin around the mouth
- Drooping skin around the eyes
- Dimpling around the upper thighs
- Excessive wrinkling in the hands
- Uneven contours under the chin and around the neck
- Any other uneven skin problem areas
Types of Skin Tightening Methods
Technology has improved rapidly since the development of the procedure science. The current primary forms of tightening involve heating the skins lower layers, via: radio frequency (RF) and laser (or Intense Pulsed Light). Radiofrequency methods reach below the epidermis to target the collagen clusters in the dermis and subcutaneous layers of the skin. As radio waves don't rely on light, their strength is that they are agnostic to skin color, able to treat people of all skin colors, types and tones. IPL, on the other hand, is ideal for skin discoloration problems in the skin, which can be targeted in the epidermis of the skin. Lasers can still heat the lowest levels of the skin like radio frequency methods, but they may be limited by skin color to avoid discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
A large number of systems are on the market. Each physician will have his or her own preferences regarding available technologies, manufacturers and machines. The research in this area can be overwhelming for the newcomer investigating treatment options, which is why you may benefit most from researching and scheduling a consultation with a specialist to learn more and find the solution that is right for you. During your consultation is the best time to investigate differences in equipment and technologies your physician chooses and why. On this site, you'll find a breakdown of the most popular methods as well as information about the different systems.
What is SkinTighteningGuide.com?
This is designed as an online handbook to surgery where you can find out if you might be a candidate for skin rejuvenating procedure, read more about the methods and even browse for a plastic surgeon in your local area. Please feel free to use this site as a starting point as you learn more.
You will find the site is broken into sections covering the techniques, the process and the costs. As well, the site features a directory of practitioners skilled in surgery. This is provided to help connect you to a good surgeon in your area for a one-on-one consultation to find out if it is right for you.
Preparing for Treatments
Aside from deciding whether or not this is the treatment you need or want, there are other things to consider, when preparing for sessions. Your consultation with a trained physician or medical professional will help you determine what you need to do logistically and financially.
For many people, their financial disposition determines when they will schedule a cosmetic procedure. These sessions can vary in cost, based on a number of factors: doctor's level of training and certification, location, methods and treatment equipment can all play into the exact sum. Recent surveys indicate that the price Americans pay for skin tightening procedures can range from the hundreds of dollars to the thousands. Looking at a number of factors will help you understand the range in which your treatment may fall.
Consider the Costs
Whether economic times are good or bad, most surgeons, med spas, clinics and aesthetic professionals run specials for various procedures. The greatest benefits come from repeated sessions over a period of months or even years, which is why specials or promotions often feature great deals on packages. However, do not base your decision on costs, alone. You should select your specialists based upon experience and consistent outcomes delivering the results that look best.
The treatments can cover a lot of physical territory, based on patient requests. There will invariably be changes in cost based on the areas being done. Smaller, simpler areas of the body are cheaper, while larger and more complex sections feature higher price tags. For example, the neck, back, arms and sides are less costly than the abdomen, thighs and face. This technology can be used nearly anywhere on the body and physicians can easily calculate unique requests by the size in square inches.
Non-surgical techniques are much more affordable when compared to traditional cosmetic surgery. Depending on the areas being covered and their size, the prices range from the hundreds of dollars to the low thousands. As it's a quick procedure without severe symptoms, you don't have to miss any work and subsequent income after your treatment. This procedure is considered non-invasive, so aside from the actual treatment, little to no downtime or pain is experienced afterward.
A physician's equipment, training and certification are all important factors in the overall costs. The procedures require a certain amount of technique and attention to detail for optimal results. Therefore, selecting a physician with lower rates may not be a good thing. When investigating practitioners, it is important to note current certifications and whether or not their equipment is up to date. Techniques improve rapidly and the best results will come from practitioners who stay on the cutting edge.
Popular Treatment Areas
The scope of the area being treated is the single biggest factor in determining the appointment duration and costs of any procedure. This is due to both the time it takes to treat larger areas and the amount of wear longer procedures put on a doctor's equipment. A small area, like the neck may take a very short time and only a few passes from the doctor. However, a large area like the thighs can take more time and increase costs. Some doctors will even divide their price charts into zones and square inches. This can be helpful as the difference in price among regions is more transparent. Each doctor can vary in pricing, but here are lower and higher cost breakdowns:
Lower Cost Regions:
- Upper Face
- Lower Face
- Saddle Bags
Higher Cost Regions:
- Entire Face
- Abdomen and Love Handles
- Lower Face and Neck Combined
- Front and Back of Thighs
The above examples are just a snapshot of potential treatment areas. Methods using radio frequency, like Thermage, are able to treat anywhere on the body. But there are many different ways to tighten the skin, which are listed on various pages of this site, describing the various systems. So, if you have an atypical problem spot, don't be shy about sharing it with your doctor during consultation. Chances are, it's not new to her and she'll be able to calculate a cost during your screening.
Choosing a Doctor
Who you choose to perform your procedure should depend on their experience, training and understanding of the different systems and treatments. Your budget and the fees for the sessions will also play a role in your decision. Here are some other things to consider:
- First, the number of patients successfully treated in the past determines a doctor's level of experience. Body shaping is more than a profession, it's also a craft.
- Care and technique can make a significant difference in the final results a patient receives.
- This procedure is also a relatively young, though exciting realm of cosmetic surgery. Some doctors will lead the way in learning and technique, while other may just be starting their practice in it.
- Certification and formal training are also important.
- The equipment used to rejuvenate the skin is highly complex and the technology changes rapidly. A cosmetic surgeon who stays up to date and invests in their own training is likely to charge more to cover those costs.
The best benefits come from doctors who use their equipment to its fullest potential, giving optimal results. If you are ready to look for a surgeon now, then use our website to find a physician or trained practitioner in your area to schedule a consultation.