American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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How laser and radiofrequency treatments rejuvenate your skin


laser and radiofrequency skin rejuvenation

One of the biggest aesthetic concerns that many people have is how to stop the signs of aging. While it isn't uncommon for individuals to maintain a naturally youthful look into their thirties, most will start to notice a slight difference in appearance somewhere in their mid-twenties. This is because the body's production of collagen and elastin gradually starts to slow as early as age 20.

As a result, one of the best ways to combat signs of aging is to take steps to encourage collagen and elastin within the skin. While some supplements and dietary changes may be able to help with this, laser and radiofrequency skin treatments are known to be effective at boosting collagen and improving a number of age-related skin concerns.

A noninvasive solution to aging

Laser and radiofrequency skin treatments are non-surgical methods for improving the quality of the skin – specifically skin texture, tone and elasticity. Most people feel that these treatments are virtually painless, producing a sensation of heat, but not much else. The procedures are also relatively quick, usually taking less than an hour to perform.

While there are a variety of different treatments offered under the umbrella of laser and radiofrequency skin rejuvenation procedures, they tend to fall into one of four categories: laser, ultrasound, radiofrequency and radiofrequency microneedling. Each works in slightly different ways.

Laser skin resurfacing treatments

Designed to improve the texture of the skin, laser resurfacing treatments mostly target the surface of the skin and the top layer of the dermis. Using controlled heat, these laser treatments gently remove the outermost layer of skin, revealing the fresh layer of skin underneath. Skin tone and tightness can also be improved, though this will depend on the specific laser treatment.

Ultrasound skin treatments

Ultrasound treatments are considered to be among the most effective options for achieving a significant skin lift without requiring surgery. While this technology is most widely associated with imaging during pregnancy, ultrasound energy can also be used to direct controlled heat at specific tissues. Because ultrasound energy is able to reach skin tissue at a greater depth than some other forms of skin treatment, it can often deliver more dramatic results.

This process stimulates the natural production of collagen and elastin within the skin, which can help your skin that look more youthful, but in a very natural way. Unlike a surgical lift, which removes and tightens loose skin, laser treatments rebuild the support structures underneath it, helping you regain a more youthful appearance without surgery.

Radiofrequency skin treatments

Radiofrequency skin treatments work in a similar manner to ultrasound therapy. A handheld device is used to heat the skin, using radiofrequency waves, but it does not reach the same depth. This means the results are not as profound and clients may require multiple sessions in order to achieve the desired effects.

Because it is unable to reach a significant depth, radiofrequency skin treatment is generally recommended for younger individuals who are looking to combat early signs of aging. This treatment also works well for those who are older but want to make small changes in their appearance. A variation on RF skin treatments includes fractional CO2 technology, which can help make the results of treatment more significant.

Radiofrequency microneedling

Radiofrequency microneedling is a combination procedure, bringing together the radiofrequency waves used in RF skin treatments and microneedling to maximize the final outcome. Microneedling creates microscopic channels, or holes, within your skin, which stimulates collagen production. In this specific combination procedure, radiofrequency waves are also emitted into the channels, boosting the results even further.

What makes these treatments so popular?

Newer forms of skin rejuvenation are steadily pushing out older methods. There are a lot of benefits to fractional CO2, ultrasound and RF skin treatments that continue to bolster the popularity of these skin treatments:

  • Their ability to not just change the surface of the skin, but its underlying support structures
  • Quick and simple appointments that are usually finished in under an hour
  • Minimal recovery time
  • Natural-looking and gradual changes in the skin, since collagen and elastin renewal occurs over time
  • Treatments can be used almost anywhere on the body to treat sagging skin, acne scars, sun damage and other common skin concerns

Individuals interested in achieving a more youthful appearance should speak with a plastic surgeon about whether or not laser and radiofrequency treatments could be the right solution for their specific needs and goals.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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