Preserve Your Pretty: Non-Surgical Skin Rejuvenation Treatment #5, Skin Tightening

Preserve Your Pretty: Non-Surgical Skin Rejuvenation Treatment #5, Skin Tightening

As we age, the collagen that keeps our skin firm breaks down resulting in aging skin that contains fine lines and wrinkles. Couple that with fair Irish skin and my neck looks years older than my face. Although I always followed my mother’s advice by moisturizing my neck after my face, her recommendation could not reduce the effects of Mother Nature.

For the fifth and final part of our series, Preserve Your Pretty with prominent Nashville plastic surgeon, Dr. Brian Biesman, I’m sharing my experience with Thermage. Thermage is non-surgical skin treatment that uses radiofrequency technology to heat the deeper, collagen-rich layers of the skin. The applied heat causes collagen to contract and encourages new collagen to start growing. There are no amount of neck exercises, squats or sit ups that can tighten loose skin however thermal skin tightening can drastically reduce the laxity without surgery. 

I scheduled my appointment and anticipated a moderately uncomfortable treatment due to the heat, I was a little unprepared for the “zing” that accompanied the heat to remove my turkey neck. A wand with a sonogram type gel was placed on my face and I immediately felt different temperatures of heat followed by a coolness. Dr. Biesman’s nurse, Molly, explained that I would feel a “variety of sensations” which was the nicest, most accurate way to describe the 30-minute procedure. The heat wasn’t all that bad, it was more the sting that accompanied the heat that would occur about 30-40% of the time. I would feel a warmth, followed by a cool sensation and then a quick little bee sting type feeling in the center of the area he was working on. Again, I have very fair and sensitive skin so my experience may be more intense than someone else’s although it is reasonable to assume there is some discomfort involved.

Bob Dylan once said, “Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain.” While I know he wasn’t referring to women’s beauty treatments, I would say this quote is relevant to my experience. Following the treatment, there were immediate results in my neck with the most noticeable results to follow, gradually, in two to six months. I had very little redness surprisingly which was gone by the time I got home. Dr. Biesman told me prior to my appointment that many of his patients have had the procedure and then have gone to lunch. Fortunately, the only uncomfortable part of Thermage was during the actual treatment which makes me more likely to get this again next year.

The photo below on the left shows loose skin, many fine lines and loose skin under my chin (that is more pronounced in person.) On the right, one hour post Thermage from an Instastory. I will update this post in a few months as the more pronounced results appear over time. In the meantime, you can read Christie Brinkley’s experience with skin tightening and why she wants to look as good as feels. 

For people who have loose skin in their neck, face, above their knees or even eyelids, non- surgical heat tightening may be a procedure to consider. For those thinking of Thermage, Dr. Biesman offers the following information.

  • Noninvasive skin tightening is an important procedure to stimulate collagen production in the skin and help maintain a youthful appearance over many years. These treatments should be performed at least annually in an ideal situation.
  • There are numerous devices available to perform noninvasive skin tightening. The two which have been studied most extensively are Thermage and Ultherapy. I did play a role in the development of both of these technologies and have performed clinical trials with each of them. They are different from one another. I find some patients are better candidates for Thermage and others for Ultherapy. It takes a great deal of experience understand these distinctions and help patients make the right choice for them.
  • Noninvasive skin tightening is not the equivalent of surgery and expectations need to be set appropriately.
  • Noninvasive skin tightening was performed in the office without anesthesia or sedation and typically has no downtime associated.

If the immediate results of my skin tightening are a testament of what’s to come over the next few months, then I’m happy with Thermage. While I can’t rewind the clock and have the skin I once had in my youth, I can help to prevent future sagging and improve its overall appearance…all before lunch!

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