As we age, so does our skin. One of the major complaints is laxity. As we start to lose collagen, hyaluronic acid production slows down and fibroblasts and elasticity start to wane, we start to notice volume loss and crepey skin starts to appear. For women, as we begin the next stages of our lives, we start to lose estrogen, which in our youth helps to keep fat on the face. It is kind of like a balloon with a slow leak!
We know about fillers and we know about treatments that help to resurface the skin thereby creating new collagen cells. With this, over time, we can increase volume. But there is more we can do to tighten the skin and bring our skin back to where it once was.
Radiofrequency (RF) has always been the gold standard in skin tightening, no matter how many devices and lasers come up on the market. But, in the past, most of these devices were incredibly painful or with short-term results. The industry has been working to alleviate the discomfort associated with unipolar RF devices, but in doing so, their efficacy was compromised.
At Toronto Dermatology Centre (TDC), we knew that this was an area we wanted to research as it was a constant concern for so many of our patients. One company kept coming into play, Inmode. Inmode is an American company with a great reputation for being current and effective and highly scientific with their devices. They work with bipolar RF to reduce discomfort and increase results. At TDC, we are working with their Forma and Morpheus8 devices. Let me explain how they differ.
Forma is straight RF. The bipolar technology allows the patient to have a relaxed treatment for face &/or neck feeling similar to that of a hot-stone massage. While being treated, you can actually feel the skin tightening and it feels scrumptious! Results per treatment are immediate with no downtime. And because it is not a laser, it can be utilized by all skin types and at any time of the year. A one-off treatment is ideal for an event, such as a wedding or evening out on the town and results can be enjoyed immediately. For longer lasting results, it is suggested to do a series about 7-10 days apart, with maintenance single treatments done quarterly.
The Morpheus8 (M8) combines the same RF with microneedling. This combination has been proven over and over again to be more effective than either stand-alone device and is rated as one of the most effective services for anti-aging on the market. Instead of treating with RF superficially, this time the energy is emitted into the tissue via microneedles. While the microneedles create a damage to the cells in order to stimulate new collagen formation, the depth of the RF creates a better tightening of the mid to upper layers of the skin at the same time. Results this time are not immediate, due to the depth of the energy. However, with about 4 treatments, one every 4-6 weeks, the end results can be substantially superior to RF alone. Maintenance is about 1-2 times a year thereafter, because as we all know, skin continues to age!!
Although there can be discomfort with the M8, we have compiled multiple options for our patients including medical grade numbing and Penthrox, if needed. We have also experimented with different ways to get the best results with our settings that allow the patient not only great results, but a much more pleasant approach to achieving them. And the best part is that the Morpheus8 can treat not only the face and neck, but just about any area of the body that may be lax or crepey. I personally have had my loose skin on my stomach done and now I have a visible belly button again!!! I have treated above the knees and under the arms on patients as well as the buttocks and thighs.
One more thing that I feel needs to be acknowledged about the M8 is its ability to treat scars. The microneedling contributes to collagen formation to reduce scars and smooth the skin, but the addition of the tightening gives patients results much faster than simply relying solely on lasers. Although there are times when lasers such as our Profractional laser are a must, in many cases the M8 can do the job faster, and without the downtime.
There is no limit to when a patient should start with these treatments. A younger patient may need a pick-me-up for a special event or a patient of any age may feel they are not quite ready for the M8 yet, and that is where the Forma comes in. Or, for those of us who are starting to see some jowls, maybe some loose neck skin or someone like me, who had some loose skin on the body, the M8 is ideal.
One day, some of us will look into plastic surgery, but the longer we are able to put that off, the better. In the meantime, tightening the skin, treating scars or even age prevention now has a go- to device that has been medically proven to be beneficial and safe for most of your skin’s needs. Find out more by setting up your consultation with one of our medical estheticians today.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre