As we get older, our skin tells everyone our true age whether we like it or not. Laugh lines become pronounced and wrinkles take over, making us feel older than they should. There may not be a fountain of youth, but we can turn back the clock a little bit. Availing ourselves to anti-aging procedures gives us an extra boost to our self esteem and does so without breaking the bank. Laser treatments have vastly improved in the past few decades.

Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, April 1997

What is a laser?

The term LASER comes from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The first working laser was created in 1960 which used a ruby and high intensity light flashes. Originally, lasers were used by scientists and engineers in applications such as slicing through metals. Over the years, experimenting with different lasing mediums and light spectrum, brought lasers to medical applications. Now, with the variety of lasers that exist, they have cosmetic applications. Cosmetic lasers use light-based energy to target specific cells and treat a wide variety of skincare issues.

How do lasers tighten skin?

 Laser skin tightening is also called collagen remodelling due to how it works to reshape the collagen in your skin. A trained technician makes several passes over the skin with the laser-equipment laser machine, using it to heat the skin in the lower layers. As the cells heat up, the skin naturally constricts (tightens) from the treatment. The heating of the cells stimulates them to produce more collagen which in turn repairs damaged cells to rejuvenate the skin.

Laser skin tightening is a non-surgical procedure and is minimally invasive. This makes it require little to no downtime. You can return to your regular routine without issue. However, if you have moderate skin issues, it might require another treatment or two to reach the optimal results you are looking for. If you only have mild wrinkling or lines in the facial area, one treatment is ideal and produces immediate results.

What are the side effects?

When laser treatments first became available for use in cosmetic practices decades ago, there were several side effects and risks. Skin that looked sunburned with blisters and burns were fairly common. It was also a painful treatment. Fortunately, laser equipment has advanced, with fewer side effects and minimal risks. While anyone with a very low tolerance for pain will still find treatment uncomfortable, there is help for that. Topical numbing agents may be applied prior to the treatment, allowing time for it to take effect before starting the session.

Who is a candidate for laser skin tightening treatments?

The best candidates for laser skin tightening are between 25 - 50 years of age, in excellent health, and free of skin issues such as acne breakouts or rashes.

Laser skin tightening treatments work very well on mild or fine wrinkles and sags with one treatment. Moderate sagging and wrinkles may take as many as three sessions to reach the most noticeable results. It will not work well on heavy skin sags and wrinkles, especially due to drastic weight loss. In that situation, plastic surgery is usually the only resort.