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Anti-aging electric current treatments

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta September 19, 2011 7 Comments

Urged by Hannah, I’ve put together a comparison of various anti-aging treatments that one way or another use electric pulses or light waves. Please consider this a work in progress that I will keep adding to. Requests for inclusion will be gratefully received.

Fractional laser resurfacing: Also known as fractional photothermolysis, targets areas of the skin that are precisely spaced out at a microscopic level and heats some skin zones while others are left undisturbed. Instead of emitting a solid beam, the laser puts out clusters of minuscule beams that punch invisible holes in the skin. In creating a grid-like pattern of micro-wounds, it stimulates fresh collagen production beneath the skin’s surface and allows the untreated areas of tissue to remain stable for quicker recovery.

Fraxel is a kind of laser treatment that, instead of putting out a solid beam, it puts out lots of very tiny beams that punch microscopic holes in the skin. This approach means that damaged tissue can be targeted, leaving healthy tissue unscathed. Three to five sessions are required about two weeks apart. Sufferers from acne generally give it very good reviews. Even Fraxel’s proponents say it cannot treat lines around the eyes or lips, anything beyond the mildest age lines, rosacea or red capillaries, nor will it tighten the skin.

PaloVia is the first-ever FDA-cleared laser for reducing fine lines around the eyes that can be used at home. PaloVia uses fractional technology to employ the intense energy of ablative skin-resurfacing lasers without requiring the same amount of recovery time. According to a 2010 study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. Out of 124 subjects who were treated with the laser (presumably a first-generation PaloVia) every day during the first month’s “active phase” and twice weekly during the “maintenance phase” of the ensuing five months, 90% revealed improvement in wrinkle reduction post-active phase and 79% post-maintenance phase. Read more on PaloVia

LED Light Therapy (LLT). For skin plumping and help against sagging. How about this description from Nasa: “Low-energy photon irradiation by light in the far-red to near-IR spectral range with low-energy (LLT) lasers or LED arrays”. Roughly translated, LED uses red light and infra-red (which you can’t see). It doesn’t get very hot and is basically a gentle treatment that lasts about 20 minutes. For a time no one really knew how it worked including NASA. But it now seems that it works “by targeting water layers on elastin, facial wrinkle levels could be significantly reduced by irradiation of the skin with visible light”. Salon treatments can cost around $130 per session. At home devices are useful if used regularly. Read more on LED

Microcurrent: Microcurrent uses a subsensory electric current that delivers a pulse to the facial muscles and stimulates them and the surrounding tissue. The esthetician’s skill is in manipulating two probes to massage the muscles whilst the current is being delivered to them. This stimulates the muscle fibers and they can be gently (this is not something you can really feel happening) toned or shortened. The theory is that microcurrent improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical in muscles that provides energy. However, there only seems to be one study backing this up and it goes back to the late 1980s – however, the results were an impressive 500% increase in ATP. Anyway, ATP is stored and so the effects of microcurrent treatments over time are cumulative. Read more on microcurrent.

Radio frequency: High frequency radiowave technology used to be best known as systems such as Thermage. These used high temperatures, were very painful and not terribly effective. New versions of this technology include the Pellevé Wrinkle Reduction System. causing heat to build up where the skin and fat layer come together. The increasing heat modifies the collagen bundles deep inside the skin. This part of the process is called denaturation, which means the loss of structure of a protein (collagen is a chain of proteins) due to, amongst other things, the application of heat. The denaturation of collagen fibers causes them to contract and, because they believe they are undergoing a trauma, they start stimulating the growth of new collagen. This results in firmer, tighter skin that can last up t 18 months. Treatments range from about $700 to $1,000. Read more on Pelleve

Ultrasound: An FDA approved system called Ulthera uses ultrasound, a technology that most of us are familiar with as medical imaging when pregnant or having a breast exam. This means that a dermatologist using Ulthera can see an image deep into the dermis of the fibro muscular layer or connective tissue. At the same time, the ultrasound delivers a focused beam of heat (about 60 degrees celsius) for 20 mili-seconds. This micro-targeted and very fast heating of the tissue causes it to be “injured” and the tissue’s response is to contract. The result is tighter skin and may last for at least two years or indefinitely (the system is fairly new so there’s no longterm data). Cost is around $2,000. Read more on Ulthera

  • July 28, 2012

    by Vicki

    Has anyone had mesotherapy for the face

  • November 9, 2011

    by Elizabeth Myers

    Hi TIA Members,
    I am considering a Skin-Tyte procedure. Especially for my neck. Has anyone heard of Skin Tyte, or had it done? I was considering Ulthera, but after reading up on it through TIA I've talked myself out of it.
    Beth

  • October 3, 2011

    by Justd

    Thanks Marta, I know I tend to be a bit verbose, sorry, just pouring out.

  • October 2, 2011

    by Marta

    JustD, I understand your frustration. I'll ask the people at Sirius to see if they have any information or data.

  • October 2, 2011

    by Justd

    Marta, once again my confusion reigns in the area of what is acceptable anti-aging skincare for African Americans. I have read and investigated articles on these various products on the web, but there is nothing that significantly stands out, that I have found, that makes me feel comfortable enough to invest in any of them with great confidence that I will experience results similar to those of women who are not of my ethnicity. Some articles report that black women have experienced more hyper pigmentation with the use of LED light therapies, others have stated that the Baby Quasar may be unsafe for 'us', so now I'm more frustrated and confused than before because these products seem to offer the results in the areas that I'm seeking to improve.

    Additionally, I also don't know how old these reports truly are and if the advancements in this area have now compensated for the lighter complexions in my ethnicity and just not for those in the middle, such as myself, sufficiently enough to go forth and try them. Since being told that fotofacials could not be done on me last month, it seems like not enough advancements are being made for people with any type of moderate to dark pigmentation.

    I don't know who to go to or where to look to find the answers or get the help I need, dermatologists I have visited have not been very empathetic to me. I don't know if I'm the only one who has this issue in the TIA community, or if I just spew it out more, but finding the answers to help women, like myself, in this regard is becoming important to me. I get asked what do I do to keep myself looking younger than my age, and the truth is before last year I used Oil of Olay Regenerist and Clear Choice Sensitive Skin Face wash, that's it. Now I'm investing more, but I'm at a lost in how to best pursue this new area of skincare I'm longing to embrace. We all want to stave off the effects of aging longer, is there anyone you know who can help answer these questions for me? I would really like to know what is vs what isn't good for women of a darker persuasion. I'm at my wits end LOL.

    As always, thanks to the TIA community for whatever info they can share! ;)

  • September 20, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Violeta. If you click on read more at the end of each item, you'll get to more details and reviews

  • September 20, 2011

    by Violeta

    Has anyone tried these treatments and can share their experiences?

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