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About Nonsurgical Skin Tightening

Non-surgical skin tightening, also known as laser skin tightening or ultrasound skin tightening.

Skin tightening has become an increasingly popular procedure in the last few recent years, as technology advances it’s become a viable alternative to full surgery. These non-surgical skin tightening procedures are considerably less invasive than traditional skin tightening procedures and in many cases much more effective at improving skin laxity and quality.

When opting to have a non-surgical skin tightening treatment, there are three options to choose. Your cosmetic surgeon will evaluate your suitability for each of these types of treatments based on a few different factors. Generally the three options your surgeon has to choose from are radio frequency (RF) treatments, intense pulsed light (IPL) and ultrasound treatments. The three general options for non-surgical skin tightening are radiofrequency treatments, intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments and ultrasound treatments.

How is it performed?

  • Radiofrequency

Your aesthetic surgeon will mark the treatment area with a special pen, before cooling it down to ensure you are comfortable and safe. Then, your surgeon will point the tip of the skin tightening device at the treatment area. This will direct the specially measured radio frequency waves through the surface layers of your skin; kick starting the production of new collagen with its gentle heat. Most patients report feeling a gentle vibrating sensation, accompanied by feelings of hot and cold with each pulse.

  • Intense pulsed light (IPL)

If you are having the treatment on your face, you should be given special protective eye goggles to wear. Before your practitioner uses the special hand piece, they will gently cool the upper layers of your skin. Once this has reached a sufficiently low temperature, they will begin to pass the hand piece over the area. The infrared light heats the lower layers of the skin, while keeping the upper layers cool.

  • Ultrasound

Ultrasound devices are slightly different, using ultrasonic energy to reach the deeper layer of the skin instead of light or radio waves. Both the layers of tissue below the ‘focus point’ and the skin in the layers above it remain undamaged by the treatment.

What are my options? 
Once your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist has examined your skin structure fully, they will be able to choose which one of the devices will produce the best results from your skin. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and radio frequency (RF) devices are less invasive, because they only heat the underlying layers of the dermis, without damaging the upper skin cells. It is actually your body’s natural healing that causes the changes within the skin, as the devices merely kick start the production of new collagen, which causes the skin to tighten and appear more toned. Most patients find that a series of treatments is required for optimum results.

What result can I expect?

The average time that a non-surgical skin tightening procedure can be expected to last will vary, but should last for between a year and three years on average. Most people will need to have follow up procedures periodically to ensure their results are maintained.



  • A non-surgical technique that tightens facial or body skin
  • Performed with no incisions, minimal discomfort and little to no downtime
  • May be used for all skin types


  • Results are less extensive and dramatic than those obtained with a face lift or body contouring procedures
  • Multiple treatments are usually needed for optimal results
  • Skin redness, temporary swelling, numbness or volume loss around the treated area may occur


The results from non-surgical skin tightening devices are not always immediately obvious, and will normally take several months to develop fully. There will likely also be a small amount of swelling and bruising. If you are uncertain as to whether you are healing properly, you should immediately contact your cosmetic surgeon to check if these are a sign of a problem.

Recovery Time 
Non-surgical skin tightening procedures have minimal recovery time and you are usually able to resume full activity immediately after treatment unless otherwise directed by your surgeon. It is essential you follow all patient care instructions given to you by your physician.

Your cosmetic surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for yourself while recovering and how to spot any signs that your wounds are not healing correctly.

The first two to six months 
Remember that because the skin tightening devices do not produce instant results, but only initiate the body’s natural tightening process, it may be up to 6 months before you can see the full improvements. Contact your surgeon if you are unsure whether you may require additional treatments.

Limits & Risks

Due to its minimally invasive nature, significant complications from such procedures are rare. Everyone’s risk is slightly different, but this is something that will be discussed between you and your surgeon during your primary consultation.