Sagging Skin – A Comparative Analysis of Aesthetic Treatments

Sagging Skin

Do you have those days when you look a little closer in your mirror and find yourself face to face with an older version of yourself? It seems like suddenly, apparent signs of ageing have found their way into your once flawless skin. With fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and graying hair eventually affecting us all, we’d love to delay these signs and live our youthful days a little bit longer.

Here’s a comparative study of the popular treatments that help fix aging and sagging skin. It will give you a better understanding on your next visit to the dermatologist and help you make an informed decision.

  1. Ultherapy

It is a non-invasive technology that targets collagen, the foundation of the skin. The procedure employs ultrasound energy underneath the skin’s surface to stimulate the generation of new collagen. It’s a reparation treatment that helps create firmer skin from the inside out.

Targeted Area: Ultherapy is great for mild to moderate sagging skin and the loose skin under the chin and around the neck, aka “double chin” and “turkey neck”. On the face, Ultherapy tightens the Muscle Fascia, the same structure that is tightened during surgical facelifts.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): The procedure that includes the face and neck can last about 45-90 minutes depending on the area. A partial treatment, like the eyebrow lift, takes around 30 minutes. Generally, one session is enough. However, some could reap more benefits with multiple sessions, depending on the laxity of the skin.

Length of Effective Results: The desired result appears immediately after the procedure. However, noticeable difference can be seen after 2-3 months of treatment. The results last up to 12-18 months before it needs touch ups.

  1. Thermage

Thermage is a skin tightening treatment that utilizes radio-frequency energy to contour, smoothen, and tighten the skin. The procedure begins with a brief heating sensation followed by cooling sensation. The process intends to heat the dermis layer underneath the skin to stimulate the production and regeneration of collagen that results in firmer, smoother, and tighter skin.

Targeted Area: Thermage can treat most of the body parts including the eyes, lips, face, abdomen, hands, arms, buttocks, and thighs. It is also a temporary solution to cellulite.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): The average treatment time ranges from 45 to 60 minutes, depending upon the size of the targeted area, its location, and the condition of the skin. Often, one session is enough, depending upon the condition of the skin.

Length of Effective Results: The result of Thermage or Thermage CPT appears immediately after the procedure and continue to improve over next 3-4 months, and it lasts for 18-20 months. To maintain the results, regular touch up is required. With touch up treatment, an improvement in the texture and firmness of the skin can be noticed.  

  1. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (aka Vampire Facial)

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy involves taking blood from the body of the patient, which is then centrifuged to separate its components. The platelet-rich golden plasma serum collected from the centrifuged blood is reintroduced into the skin using micro-needling, which results in the regeneration of collagen. It eases sun damage and signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, puffiness, and dark circles under the eyes, giving you firmer, smoother, and more radiant skin.

Targeted Area: PRP Face Therapy, or Vampire facials as they are more commonly known, is one of the safest ways to rejuvenate, tone, and tighten the skin and soften fine lines. As the blood is drawn from the patient’s body, any chance of rejection is eliminated.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): 3-4 sessions administered 2-3 weeks apart are required for desired results. The recovery time after each session doesn’t last more than a couple of days.

Length of Effective Results: As the platelet is meant to repair tissue, it starts to stimulate generation of more collagen that lends a youthful appearance to the face. The patient can see improvement in three months after the treatment, including softening of fine lines and wrinkles. Results last for 12-15 months.

  1. Piano Skin Tightening Therapy

Piano Skin Tightening Therapy is a recently developed non-surgical skin tightening treatment. The piano mode enables deep penetration of bulk heating into the dermis layer of the skin. The non-ablative properties of Nd: YAG laser under Piano Mode permits safe heating of dermal tissues to stimulate collagen production. The Nd: YAG laser induces controlled homogeneous bulk heating of the targeted area, which causes increased cellular activity in the skin. That helps produce new and increased amount of collagen and elastin fibres. As a result, the patient gets improved skin laxity and skin quality.

Targeted Area: The Piano Skin Tightening treatment can effectively improve laxity of the skin on any part of the body. Common areas the treatment is used on includes face, neck, chest, abdomen, knee, thighs, and the buttocks.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): At least 6-8 sessions are required, and the protocol can vary from once a week to once a fortnight, depending on the condition of the skin. There is no downtime.

Length of Effective Results: The results lasts for 8-12 months.

  1. RF Treatment with Micro-needling (aka ScarLet Therapy)

ScarLet RF Therapy relies on radio frequency energy to deliver heat pockets by dozens of small needles to warm tissues deep in the dermis. This stimulates wound healing and, in turn, spurs new collagen production in the skin. The goal of ScarLet Therapy is to tighten the skin, improve the appearance, smoothen wrinkles and furrow lines, and reduce acne scars and large pores.

Targeted Area: ScarLet Therapy is a facial treatment, but other parts of the body can also be treated depending upon the condition of the skin.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): Each session takes 45-60 minutes. There is little downtime as the skin could appear slightly pink for a day or two. However, that doesn’t hinder normal routine after the treatment. The patient must understand that the regular use of sunscreen is essential after the procedure.

Length of Effective Results: It takes a month’s time after the treatment to see remarkable results. At the beginning of the treatment, at least 5-6 sessions are recommended, after which the patient can come in for 2-3 sessions a year to maintain the results. The ScarLet RF therapy will indeed turn back the clock on the skin, and make it thicker, more radiant, and noticeably tighter.

  1. Erbium YAG (Er: YAG) Laser

It is a safe and non-invasive high power laser treatment that gives you fresh-looking, youthful skin. The Er: YAG laser produces energy at a wavelength (2940nm) that can gently penetrate the dermis layer of the skin. This helps remove the layer of aged and sun-damaged skin tissues with precision while protecting healthy surrounding tissues. This treatment stimulates skin cell turnover and promotes the formation of collagen and elastin fibres that will strengthen the skin and smoothes skin tone and texture.

Targeted Area: The Er: YAG laser treatment is employed to treat fine lines, wrinkles, scars, age spots and superficial skin ablation anywhere on the body.

Length of Treatment (and Number of Session Required): Each session takes approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on the targeted area. Multiple sessions are required for optimal results, depending upon their skin condition. After the treatment, the treated skin heals within seven to ten days.

Length of Effective Results: The optimal results last for 9-12 months depending on the age and the skin condition. 

Author Bio:

Ms. Anupama Arora, a Senior Consultant at Skin Alive, has nearly two decades worth of experience under her belt. With her background in nutrition, she is able to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to aesthetic dermatology. In addition to providing counselling on skin related issues, antiaging, and weight management, she also recommends diet and lifestyle changes to her clients, so that they’re able to live a more fulfilling life.

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