If you are thinking about booking your next dermatology appointment for a skin-tightening radiofrequency wrinkle treatment or laser skin rejuvenation treatment as top priorities to improve your appearance, you are not alone. A survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) released in July reveals that the most popular procedures that consumers are considering reduce wrinkles and provide better skin tone, inclusive of radiofrequency and laser skin treatments. Three of the top four treatments also involve lasers, light, ultrasound and radiofrequency devices. Results from the 2014 ASDS Consumer Survey on Cosmetic Dermatologic Procedures survey include opinions from more than 8,300 consumers regarding cosmetic treatments in general, as well as their ratings for 10 specific procedures. For the two most popular cosmetic procedures, 45 percent of respondents are considering ultrasound, laser, light and radiofrequency treatments for wrinkles and skin tightening; and 41 percent are considering laser and light treatments for redness, tone and scars. Chemical peels and body sculpting ranked next on the list of procedures being considered.


If you want to fight off minimal to moderate signs of aging with skin tightening and minimize fine lines with a wrinkle treatment, Dr. Umar of FineTouch Dermatology says Thermage is an excellent option to accomplish both. Thermage is a non-ablative, non-invasive cosmetic treatment that uses monopolar radiofrequency, a form of electrical energy that is modulated in a way to heat the deeper layers of skin. This process denatures (alters) collagen within the skin, similar to creating a wound that shrinks during the healing process and tightens skin. There will be some immediate contraction of the skin tissues and further subsequent contraction as new collagen is manufactured during the repair process. Thermage skin-tightening procedures reduce the signs of aging and are also effective anti-aging wrinkle treatments. The monopolar radiofrequency provides a way to tighten the underlying tissue of the skin without surgery and the downtime associated with cosmetic surgery and other more invasive methods, such as lasers or chemical peels. Dr. U says it is not a substitute for a surgical facelift or more intense ablative laser treatment to improve more severe skin issues, but Thermage is ideal if you require a more moderate wrinkle treatment and skin tightening. Thermage tightens facial and neck skin, tightens and lifts eyelids, and reduces hooding eyelids that characteristically droop. It is also used for nonsurgical brow lifts and as a nonsurgical wrinkle treatment to tighten facial wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes, the mid and lower face, and neck. An additional benefit of Thermage is continued skin tightening over time due to collagen production. This anti-aging regimen and wrinkles treatment lasts two years or longer, depending upon physiology and natural aging process.


Thermage is a non-ablative, non-invasive skin-tightening and wrinkle treatment that uses mono polar radio frequency. Image courtesy of Thermage.*

Typically only one treatment is required, though a second treatment may be more beneficial if you have very thick skin. Results are near immediate with smoother, tighter skin and very minimal downtime. Dr. U says you can typically resume normal activity the next day following the procedure, although some redness and swelling may occur. Oral sedation and analgesia are employed on almost everyone to minimize pain due to the heat of the Thermage treatment, though additional intravenous medication is sometimes used. Thermage is FDA approved for electrocoagulation and hemostasis (skin tightening); wrinkle treatment of periorbital wrinkles (wrinkling around the eyes) and rhytids (skin wrinkles), including upper and lower eyelids; and treatment of wrinkles and rhytids. It’s also FDA approved for the temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite; temporary improvement in local circulation (blood circulation); relief of minor muscle aches and pains; and relief of muscle spasms. Since Thermage wrinkle treatment and skin tightening results are usually subtle than more invasive cosmetic treatments and manifest themselves over time, Dr. U’s portfolio of before and after patient photos give you better idea results. Studies show one in 10 patients see significant improvements at the end of the treatment; however, some people will not see much improvement immediately and need to wait three weeks to several months for maximum results.


Two of the most popular laser skin treatment options are with Lutronic’s Spectra laser and Fraxel lasers to address uneven skin tone, age spots, wrinkles and more. Each particular laser skin treatment— including three options from Fraxel — address specific skin issues depending on severity. All of them, however, stimulate new collagen production for laser skin rejuvenation. Additionally, they can also act as an anti-aging treatment. In “Wrinkle Treatment and Laser Skin Rejuvenation Part 2: Spectra,” we’ll discuss laser skin treatment options more in-depth. It’s always important to consult with a board certified dermatologist such as Dr. U to determine the best course of treatment. Differences in skin pigment, skin type and skin issue are all guiding factors for deciding on a Thermage treatment and laser skin treatment.