There are a few options for tightening loose skin. Your dermatologist can help you choose the right method for skin tightening based on the degree of skin laxity and the location of the loose skin. Some skin tightening methods are more effective than others, and laser skin resurfacing is the method that might get the best results, but it is also the most invasive and has a longer recovery time.
Still, it's an alternative to surgery you might find appealing if you want to avoid surgical scars and a long recovery period. Here's how laser resurfacing skin tightening works.
The Type Of Laser Is Chosen
Many types of lasers are used in dermatology. For skin tightening, the doctor might use a nonablative or ablative laser depending on the amount of skin laxity. Nonablative lasers don't remove the surface layer of skin, so there is no downtime required. Ablative lasers remove the top part of your skin and target deeper layers so new tissue grows and collagen production is stimulated. It could take a few weeks to recover from an ablative laser treatment.
In addition, there are fractionated and nonfractionated nonablative and ablative lasers. Nonfractionated lasers treat the entire surface of the skin while fractionated lasers treat the skin in spots while leaving some areas untreated. Some lasers are better for surface wrinkles and minimal skin sagging, while other lasers are better for deeper work that helps with more severe skin looseness.
Anesthetic Is Applied
At the very least, you'll probably have a topical anesthetic applied before the skin tightening procedure begins. The pain from a nonablative laser may feel like someone is snapping a rubber band on your skin, and this discomfort can be avoided by using an anesthetic cream or injection. An ablative laser procedure can be quite painful. Your doctor might give you general anesthesia before you undergo this more invasive type of skin tightening procedure.
The Laser Treatment Is Given
Depending on the area treated and the laser used, the skin tightening procedure could last a few hours. If only a small part of your skin is being treated, the treatment might just last several minutes. When the treatment is over, your skin may be red and swollen. You may feel like your skin is sunburned. The effects are more pronounced when you have work done with an ablative laser. Your skin may ooze, scab, and peel.
You may need to take off from work for several days while this process is happening. You'll also want to follow your doctor's instructions for your recovery period so you can avoid scars and infections.
Results May Take A While
Since laser treatments encourage collagen production, the results from the treatment could take weeks or months to be noticeable. However, the deeper treatments from ablative lasers may have much quicker results since the surface of your skin is removed and renews itself. You might see results in just a few weeks and then have ongoing results for many months.
You could notice an improvement in your skin for a period of years, but since the process of aging continues, sagging and wrinkles may eventually return. When that happens, you can repeat the skin tightening treatments for a refresh.
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