Today, dermatologists and plastic surgeons can tighten lax, sagging skin on the face and body—often without using a scalpel. These are the new treatments that actually work
Radiofrequency for neck and jowls
There are plenty of topical products that promise to firm and tighten the appearance of neck skin, but when you want to see real change in the mirror, most experts agree that radiofrequency (RF) energy is the best way to go. RF energy heats the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing it to contract as well as to create more collagen naturally. Collagen is one of the building blocks of healthy, youthful skin that dwindles with advancing age.
For sagging jowls and necks, Inmode’s new FaceTite RF device packs a solid one-two punch, says Hardik Doshi, MD, a facial plastic surgeon at Discreet Plastic Surgery in New York City. “We tighten skin from the inside out and the outside in, sandwiching it between two wands,” he explains. “One wand goes on top of the skin, causing collagen to contract and tighten, and the other goes underneath the skin where it liquefies the fat.” The process is known as radio-frequency assisted lipolysis.
A tiny puncture in the skin is needed to access the deeper level. Results appear gradually within six weeks to three months, he says. More than one treatment may be needed if skin is extremely lax. Dr. Doshi may combine FaceTite with other treatments for maximum results. “I can do chin liposuction because the fat is easier to remove since it has already been emulsified by the RF energy.”
FaceTite is not the only RF-based tightener in town. “Thermi RF is like a sparkler delivering RF energy under the skin,” he explains.” You have an external camera checking heat to make sure you don’t get too hot, so there is limited fat-melting. It is more for skin tightening.” With FaceTite, however, the two wands allow for different internal and external temperatures, which can lead to more substantial fat melting.
Radiofrequency for the body
Inmode’s BodyTite device earns high marks for tightening excess skin in the arms, tummy, and thighs from Christopher T. Chia, MD, the surgical director of Bodysculpt in New York City. “RF is the king of the energy modalities, and with this device, I get a lot more oomph,” he says. “We do it with local anesthesia, and there are no scars because it involves no more than a quarter-inch incision through which we pass the straw underneath the skin.” It’s not for everyone, he says. “If you lost 100 pounds, your skin won’t contract enough with this technology, but for those who may not be candidates for liposuction, this is an impressive alternative.” And one treatment is usually all it takes. Today’s liposuction techniques may also offer some skin-tightening benefits.
Ultrasound energy delivered via a treatment called Ultherapy employs sound waves to boost collagen stores under the skin’s surface, firming skin. It certainly has its fair share of advocates for tightening the neck, chin, and brow. “Ultherapy can penetrate at different depths based on how we focus the energy,” Dr. Doshi explains. “Proponents of Ulthera skin tightening say that because it can skip the superficial layer of the skin and go deeper, you can get more heat without burning the inside of the skin.” Here are some non-surgical tricks to mask the signs of aging on the face.