Everything You Need to Know About Laser Skin Tightening

Posted by Azadeh Shirazi MD on

Laser skin tightening offers a promising way to achieve firmer, more youthful-looking skin without needing surgery. By understanding the procedure, benefits, preparation, and aftercare, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the long-lasting results of this innovative treatment. Check out my Youtube video below for tips and even more information. 

What is Laser Skin Tightening?

Laser skin tightening is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure designed to firm the skin on both the face and body. Unlike other technologies that use radio frequencies or ultrasound, lasers utilize the power of light to elevate skin temperatures. This heating process stimulates the natural production of collagen and elastin—vital proteins responsible for firmness and elasticity—resulting in a rejuvenated and firmer skin tone. The immediate effect of the heat is the contraction of collagen fibers, and over time, the formation and maturation of new collagen continue to improve the skin's texture and tone. 

Benefits and Results of Laser Skin Tightening

Laser skin tightening treatments offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved skin tone and texture by stimulating new, healthy skin.
  • Enhanced skin quality and treatment of precancerous lesions
  • Potential reduction in the development of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancers in the United States.

Comparing Laser Skin Tightening with Other Skin Care Procedures

Laser skin tightening employs focused laser energy to heat deeper skin layers, stimulating collagen production and tightening the skin. In contrast, other procedures might use specific chemicals (like chemical peels), ultrasound, or radiofrequency technologies to achieve similar effects. Ultimately, the choice between these methods depends on individual skin type, concerns, preferences, and the desired level of downtime.

Preparing for Laser Skin Tightening

To prepare for laser skin tightening, follow these steps:

  1. Avoid tanning or heavy sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily for four weeks before treatment.
  2. Avoid deep facial peel procedures (e.g., strong chemical peels, laser resurfacing, dermabrasion) for four weeks prior.
  3. If you have a history of herpes (oral or genital sores) or shingles in the treatment area, inform your provider and start antiviral medication (valacyclovir, acyclovir) as directed (usually two days before treatment and continue for three days after treatment).
  4. Apply a topical retinoid on your skin for about four weeks before your procedure to prepare for laser resurfacing.

Laser Skin Tightening Procedure: Step-by-Step

The process begins with an initial consultation with a qualified practitioner to discuss your medical history, overall health, and treatment expectations. This helps determine if you are an ideal candidate and which type of laser tightening procedure will work best for you. Your doctor will also explain how laser skin tightening works, discuss potential risks, and outline preventive measures to mitigate these risks.

During the Procedure

Preparation:

  • Your face will be thoroughly cleansed and prepped.
  • You'll wear special eye shields or goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beams.
  • You may opt for a topical cream to numb the face an hour before the treatment, or your doctor may use an injection anesthetic, pain medication, or nitrous oxide gas for comfort.

Treatment:

The provider will use a wand-like laser handpiece to target specific treatment areas. This laser light energy creates controlled damage to the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and heats the dermis (the inner layer), promoting collagen production.

Post-Treatment:

For ablative laser skin tightening procedures, a thick ointment will be applied to the treatment site and will need to be used during recovery.

After the treatment, you will be transferred to a recovery area for evaluation. Wet soaks may be placed on the treatment site, and you will be given post-treatment instructions.

Aftercare

First 24 Hours:

  1. Clean your skin thoroughly using gentle soap and water.
  2. Use over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses as recommended to manage discomfort.
  3. Follow all post-treatment instructions provided by your provider.

Recovery Period:

  • Avoid makeup or skincare products that may irritate the skin.
  • Protect the treatment site from sun exposure with a broad-spectrum sunscreen and avoid tanning salons.
  • Postpone swimming, gym workouts, and sauna visits to prevent infection.
  • It's normal to experience some itching or stinging in the treatment area as the skin recovers. Once fully healed, you can resume your normal beauty routine, ideally using green-based makeup or tinted sunscreen to neutralize redness.

Results and Longevity

As the skin heals, you'll notice significant improvements in its overall quality—smoother, more refreshed skin, finer pores, and diminished fine lines and wrinkles due to the natural collagen boost from the laser treatment. The final results of laser skin tightening can take up to three months to fully develop and can last for years with proper skincare.

 

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MEET THE DOCTOR BEHIND IT ALL

Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD is a Board-Certified Dermatologist.

Specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Shirazi received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University Of Kentucky College of Medicine. After doing a Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, she completed her residency training in Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in addition to completing her training in dermatology and cosmetic surgery at the University of California San Diego.

She has received multiple research scholarships from iconic institutions including Harvard University and the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has several peer-reviewed publications to her name.