Saggy skin is a very frustrating problem! Several internal and external factors influence our skin elasticity and therefore its ability to stretch and retract.
Internal factors can include:
- Our genetic make up
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions.
External factors may be:
- Environmental exposures
- Sun damage
- Water consumption
- Alcohol intake.
Weight changes during our lives as well as the rise and fall of hormones related to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause all lead to changes in the amount of elastin and collagen in our skin, which affect our ability to remodel and recover from injury. These changes directly and indirectly alter the composition of our skin and therefore its ability to retract. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to alter our inherited genetic make up. We can effect change on the external factors by drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and sun exposure and not smoking.
Several different products and treatments on the market claim to be useful for skin tightening purposes. Most of these are minimally invasive or non-invasive treatments.
Creams can help improve the appearance of the skin and some can actually improve the health of the skin. Creams containing retinol (a form of vitamin A) can remodel the elastin in the skin and possibly increase the amount of elastin present, which gives support to the skin. Glycolic acid can increase the amount of collagen present, helping to fill and firm the skin. It also exfoliates the surface of the skin, leading to a smoother appearance.
Lasers and light treatments generally work on the premise of heating the skin and tissues below, which leads to collagen remodeling and stimulation of collagen production. The skin needs to be heated to about 67 degrees Celsius (almost 153 degrees Fahrenheit) before you see any skin tightening at all. This is impossible to do with externally applied treatments like Ultherapy and Thermage. The first device approved in the US for Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening treatment was Thermage, but this treatment can be rather painful and many patients need sedation. There are newer devices, including some newer versions of RF that are reportedly less painful.
Ultherapy uses ultrasound to stimulate collagen production, leading to skin tightening. The focused ultrasound energy produces heat that causes injury to the skin, stimulating the healing process and thus collagen production. The energy is released in very short bursts and produces very high temperatures (65-70 degrees Celsius, 149-158 degrees Fahrenheit) for a very short time. It does treat to a deeper depth than the RF devices, but also treats the more superficial skin.
Profound uses radio frequency that is delivered through an insulated micro needle system to place the heat directly into the dermis without excessively heating the epidermis. This allows the temperature (67 degrees Celsius) to be maintained for up to 4 seconds to provide increased stimulation to the collagen producing cells.
SmartLipo Triplex is one of the few treatments that really do a good job of combining fat reduction with skin tightening. Most of the external treatments don’t penetrate deep enough to produce a significant reduction in the fat layer. The SmartLipo Triplex laser causes tissue coagulation through denaturing of the structural proteins and this leads to remodeling of the collagen and skin structures. The SmartLipo Triplex laser gradually warms the skin and supporting tissues to around 47 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and maintains that temperature for a few minutes, leading to an impressive level of skin tightening. A study done by Dr. DiBernardo (Evaluation of Skin Tightening after Laser Assisted Liposuction) showed up to 30% skin shrinkage after SmartLipo treatment. Remodeling of the tissues continues for six to 12 months after the treatment. This is a great option for areas that need both fat reduction and skin tightening, like the arms, neck or belly fat.
At Imagen we offer the most technologically advanced, safe and effective treatments. Using SmartLipo Triplex and Profound RF technology we are able tighten saggy skin on your belly, decrease your wattle or improve your bingo wings.
As you explore various skin tightening options, obtaining an expert evaluation and a customized treatment plan is recommended.
We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with Drs. Frank and Jennifer Soto at Imagen Body Sculpting and Cosmetic Center.
Call us at 402-509-8473 or contact us to get more information on the amazing results we can obtain for you with SmartLipo.
- Sadick, N. “Tissue Tightening Technologies: Fact or Fiction.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2008; 28(2):180-188.
- DiBernardo BE, Reyes J, “Evaluation of skin tightening after laser-assisted liposuction.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal October 2009; 29(5): 400-407.