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How to tighten loose skin

Overview

Loose skin can be frustrating and can impact self-esteem. While there are many ways you can develop loose skin, once you have it, it can be difficult to reverse. Causes of loose skin can include weight loss, pregnancy, and the effects of aging.

Tightening the skin on your face no longer requires drastic measures in many cases. Instead, DrNazirin, a board-certified dermatologist and the Founder of Nazirin Skin Clinic says, a series of little tweaks—they may involve skin care, lasers, and more—can be more effective, not to mention much more natural-looking, than going big.

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What makes a person’s face look younger or older involves a number of variables, from skin texture, tone, and color to wrinkles, loss of volume, and sagging. The last of those  - sagging -happens because collagen, the structural support of your skin, diminishes over time.

Collagen loss also contributes mightily toward volume loss and wrinkle formation; the very best way to stay youthful-looking is not to lose collagen in the first place, says Dr Nazirin. “The ultimate is prevention,” she says. “There’s no substitute for regular sunscreen use and a good lifestyle—no smoking, low alcohol and sugar consumption, exercise, keeping down inflammation in general. Do it and you won’t have as much visible aging to begin with, and any results you get with anti-aging dermatology will be better and hold longer.”

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“But what’s revolutionary now in lifting, tightening, and firming is the ability to stimulate multiple layers of skin remodeling, not just the surface layer,” Dr Nazirin explains. “The surface layer reveals many signs of ageing, like fine lines, discoloration, blood vessels, sun spots, acne scars, etc. But it’s the remodeling of deep to surface collagen layers that lifts and tightens.”

So what is the absolute best treatment, understandably, especially when there are now so many options. “We have different patients and different techniques that we’ve seen work,” says Dr Nazirin. Doctors also tend to like the devices that they have in their clinics. Technology in tightening devices is always evolving, so the ‘best’ treatment is sort of a moving target.

“However at Nazirin Skin Clinic, we prefer to tailor-make and curate each treatment plan to the individual patient. This is because, whilst the skin concern may fall under a general description, for example Acne, each patient is an individual with different DNA make-up which may result in different skin requirements. And we also believe in giving each of our patients, special treatment.”

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Until recently, the ways to tighten skin were either mild (stimulating collagen in the very top layers of skin with treatments like peels, retinoids, and certain kinds of lasers) or severe (CO2 peels or pulling the skin tight with a surgical face-lift, both of which involve downtime and a greater risk).

People who might have gotten a face-lift in the past are now opting for dermatological treatments instead—or at least first, forestalling the need for one. “Now we have  treatments such as thread lift, fillers, Botox, lasers, HIFU and getting amazing results,” Dr Nazirin. “Fewer patients are needing full face-lifts.”

“A detailed consultation is important, says Dr Nazirin: “You have to weigh so many considerations.” She mentions downtime, risk, cost, durability (how long the effects are going to last), severity (in terms of the resulting look), and potential scars as factors.

“I feel confident we are delaying the need for surgical tightening procedures,” says Dr Nazirin. “This is not to say some people don’t need plastic surgery, but this is a way of looking and feeling younger with much less downtime.” Injectable fillers temporarily replace lost collagen a little deeper in the skin: Dermatologists inject a filler along, say, the cheekbone, and the volume it creates pulls up the skin below. This sort of lifting has its limits and is easy to overdo, but it can also really help.

The biggest noninvasive technological breakthroughs are in radiofrequency and ultrasound devices, which build collagen by sending energy to different layers of the skin: radiofrequency in a broad, diffuse way and ultrasound in a deeper, targeted way. “Think of the collagen fibers as a loose-knit sweater, and these treatments tighten that sweater,” explains Dr Nazirin. Both usually require skin numbing but have no downtime because they work beneath the top layer of skin; significant results develop over a period of months as the body grows the new collagen.

High Intensity Frequency Ultrasound (HIFU) is the backbone of most of the tightening I do,” say DrNazirin, who supplements it with radiofrequency treatments like RFM (Radiofrequency Microneedle) or Laser Skin Reju treatment. “I find these treatments make the effects last longer.”

Dr Nazirin says she gets incredible upper face & brow tightening results with HIFU treatments and prefers RFM, which requires multiple sessions, for fullness in the lower face - especially jawline, jowls and neck areas. She also loves HIFU for the neck. She likes to combine HIFU with Botox—done a week before or after HIFU. “If I’m trying to lift the brow or the neck but see muscle pull that is countering an upward direction, then combining the process with Botox can be very helpful,” she says. “It helps create an optimal environment for unencumbered lifting.” HIFU is also great for tightening the stomach and hips.

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Microneedling technology is now combined with radiofrequency. “The radiofrequency device I use uses microneedles to help remodel and build collagen. What’s great with the device is I can dial up or down the depth of the needles depending on the patient,” says Dr Nazirin. “It’s not a bloody procedure—there’s very little downtime. It’s reliable, it works on skin of color and for smoker’s lines around the lips, and it really lifts around the eyes. I like it for acne scars, too.”

She continues “Our device also combines radiofrequency that’s able to target specific points in the skin with the collagen-enhancing action of microneedles. The idea with microneedling is you’re triggering an immune response to stimulate collagen production. It has beautiful results in the neck, and recent studies have shown it may also improve cellulite on the back of the legs.”

If the many options sound like too much, Dr Nazirin thinks about it differently: “I think you get the best results doing a little of a lot of things—skin care, diet, exercise, fillers, devices. It isn’t about going big in one particular area. We age in many different ways, and so it’s better to do a little of one thing and a little bit of another. It’s no longer about chasing wrinkles: Now we investigate the wrinkle.”

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