One of the main factors that leads to skin aging is loss of collagen from the dermal layer of our skin. This loss of collagen leads to the formation of texture charges, skin laxity,
wrinkles + other signs of aging. The loss of supportive collagen with age is also thought to contribute to the dilation of the small superficial blood vessels of the skin (capillaries) leading to their more prominent appearance in aged skin.
This loss of collagen starts in our mid-20's. Up until that point, our collagen production and breakdown rates are fairly equivalent. By our mid 20's the breakdown starts to exceed the buildup leading to a net loss in collagen. The rate this process happens is controlled both by your genetics but also by your habits: tanning, smoking, drug use etc. all accelerate the breakdown process of collagen in your skin + the onset of signs of aging.
I picture a bucket of collagen- up until our mid 20's the bucket remains full, but then we start to spring a leak in our bucket. The rate of the leak is accelerated by your habits and with age. At this point, there is nothing we can do to completely stop the leak so the goal is to keep filling up your collagen bucket at a faster rate, or at least equivalent rate than the bucket is leaking. The earlier you get on top of the leak the better! And the more full your bucket remains if you keep topping it up.
Any of our collagen stimulating treatments are working to refill our collagen buckets, keeping our skin look youthful + healthy. The goal is to trick your body to healing + producing collagen through controlled, micro-injury to the skin. The keys being controlled + micro.
Fractionated lasers, radiofrequency + micro needling all aim to create this controlled injury + stimulate collagen production. Fractionated lasers create
extremely small holes down into the dermal layer to turn on the natural healing process + stimulate collagen. Microneedling works in a similar way, by puncturing needle holes into the skin, however, the holes created by microneedling are much larger than with
laser, and do not generate the same skin tightening effect as the heat of laser. Heat from laser helps to stimulate tightening of the collagen fibrils that are already present in the skin. This is one of the reasons the downtime is more but the results are greater with lasers compared to microneedling.
Depending on your age, your skin + your goals, either laser or microneedling may
be right for you. That is why a professional consultation from someone who is knowledgeable, + provides both options is key to obtaining optimal results. Of course if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, so practitioners with limited tools at their disposal are usually going to recommend one of the few treatments they offer regardless of whether it is actually the ideal treatment for you.
Radiofrequency is another treatment modality that stimulates collagen productions. The energy passes through the outer layer of the skin + produces its effect at the dermal layer leading to tightening and deep collagen production. It cannot address sunspots or pores like laser can. So again, the ideal treatment will depend on your skin goals.
Often I recommend a series of treatments. Perhaps a more aggressive laser treatment initially to reset our base and address several skin concerns followed by maintenance treatments of either lighter laser peels or microneedling or radiofrequency. Of course its important to remember even a series of light peels will never give the same results as a single deep peel.
And finally, there is a limit to how much lifting and smoothing can be achieved with even the most aggressive laser. Sometimes facelift either surgically or with threads is indicated in combination with the laser peel.
I firmly believe that as our technology advances + clients present younger for preventative treatments, that plastic surgeons will be doing less + less surgical face and neck lifts. Preventative treatments work to keep your collagen bucket filled up!