- Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive procedure with little to no downtime.
- It heats the skin, causing collagen to constrict, making skin look tighter, more firm, and less crepey.
- It stimulates production of collagen and elastin in the skin.
- Laser skin tightening is considered quite safe, and typically, no anesthesia is required.
- Some swelling and redness is normal, and in rare cases there could be scarring or infection.
- Laser skin tightening requires minimal to no downtime so you can get back to your normal activities.
- The procedure itself takes 30 to 90 minutes and should only ever be performed by a cosmetic dermatologist or a highly trained skincare professional.
- The cost of laser skin tightening will depend on who is doing the procedure and where on your body you’re having it done.
- Generally, one session will cost $600 to $1,000, and most people need three to six sessions for best results.
- You will see some results after one session but best results will come gradually after three to six sessions.
- With proper skincare, including regular SPF, the results may last up to three years.
Laser skin tightening is a non-surgical and minimally invasive way to firm skin on the body. The procedure is not particularly painful. Although it can be done anywhere on the body, frequent areas include the:
The laser gets very hot, though it’s still tolerable on the skin, and it stimulates the skin to make more collagen and elastin, resulting in firmer, less crepey skin that looks tighter.
It works best for people between the ages of 30 and 65, and even people who do not yet have noticeable sagging may find it preventive. If your skin is very lax, surgery may be a better option.
Laser skin tightening will not be covered by insurance because it’s an elective cosmetic procedure. There’s little to no downtime, so you shouldn’t need to take much time off from work aside from the actual appointment, which is typically under an hour and a half.
One session of laser skin tightening typically costs $600 to $1,000, and you will likely need three to six sessions spaced about a month apart.
As the name suggests,
Although not technically lasers, radiofrequency and ultrasound technology are often used for skin tightening as well.
There are different types of skin tightening, and while they’re all similar, there are some differences to know about:
Ultrasound skin tightening
- work wells for the face, chin, neck, and chest areas
- treats early signs of aging
- takes between 30 and 90 minutes
- may be slightly uncomfortable for some and quite painful for others
- typically requires premedication with NSAIDs, narcotics, or topical numbing agents
- little to no downtime
Radiofrequency skin tightening
- not a true laser
treats the skin subdermally
- uses radiofrequency (RF) to release heat energy into the skin
- typically safe for all skin types
- in-office procedure that has little associated discomfort and no down time
- can also be combined with microneedling, but this will often require more downtime depending on how aggressive the treatment
Intense pulsed light and radiofrequency combination
- a hybrid option that treats deep layers of skin
- gradual results
- no discomfort or downtime
- can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation in people with darker skin tones
For all three, the procedure is similar. You will sit in the office and may be asked to wear goggles. The laser beam will feel hot on your skin, and you may feel discomfort, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Depending on how big of an area you are having treated, the procedure should take between 30 and 90 minutes.
Laser skin tightening can be done anywhere there is loose skin, but commonly it’s used on the stomach, neck, and face where skin often becomes loose or saggy.
Laser skin tightening is generally considered safe, and it comes with fewer risks than a surgical face lift or other cosmetic surgeries. It’s also significantly less effective than a surgical face lift. The procedure should only be done by a cosmetic dermatologist or a highly trained and experienced skin care professional.
If you have skin cancer or are taking prescription acne medication, talk with your doctor. Pregnant women should not have laser skin tightening. Side effects are rare and may include:
You should see some skin tightening immediately after the first laser skin tightening procedure. The results will get more pronounced with each subsequent treatment.
Because no incisions are made — the entire procedure is done with a laser — you will not need much recovery time. You may see some minor swelling or redness for a few days after the procedure, which is normal and should resolve on its own.
The results are not permanent but can last for several years. You’ll likely need to have occasional maintenance appointments.
It’s helpful to see before and after photos from real people who’ve had laser skin tightening to decide if the procedure is right for you and your skin. Below you’ll find some before and after pictures.
Wear sunscreen daily in the weeks leading up to the skin tightening procedure, especially if you’re getting it done on your face or neck. Avoid facial peels and chemical treatments in the month prior, and come to the appointment with bare skin, which means no makeup or skincare products.
You may want to meet with the dermatologist before your procedure to talk about your desired results, what to expect, and to see before and after photos of real clients.
You can use the American Academy of Dermatology’s Find a Dermatologist Tool tool to find a list of board-certified dermatologists near you.