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Can these non-surgical procedures really tighten my skin?

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We’re all about the power of botanical skincare ingredients, proven topicals, and good, old-fashioned diet and hydration to improve skin health. So, you might be wondering how procedures fit into our skin philosophy.

Unlike spa facials, a handful of science-backed non-surgical procedures yield serious, long-term benefits like improved tone, texture, and tightness. They also increase collagen production, meaning they benefit #skinfromwithin.

In this post, we’ll outline the procedures that go deep to actually improve the health of your skin.

Our favorite non-surgical skin procedures

woman floating at a spa

Laser treatments are the gold standard in non-surgical procedures for two reasons.

First, they’re based on solid scientific evidence. Research shows laser treatments significantly improve the visible signs of environmental stress like uneven skin tone and texture, redness, and wrinkles.

Second, laser treatments can prompt our skin to create more collagen, the foundational structure of our skin, which in turn makes skin look healthier at a cellular level. Collagen decreases as our skin ages, and environmental stressors like smog, sun, and stress can deplete our stores as well (see How does collagen work, anyway? for more).

During a fractional laser treatment, for example, a laser pokes tiny holes in the skin to stimulate a wound healing response and collagen production. The skin has to remodel what’s called our extracellular matrix, and the result is skin that looks younger, healthier and, well, newer (because it is!).

Laser treatments stand out, but we count two other non-surgical procedures as worthy of note.

Ultrasound and radio frequency-based procedures for tightening skin are also good bets for a non-surgical approach to anti-aging. Both work by heating the skin, triggering the contraction of collagen for a tighter look. Cool science, huh? These procedures also stimulate collagen production in the same way as laser treatments, though not as intensely and without the same impressive level of results.

Botox and fillers

Finally, let’s talk about injections.

Botox injections paralyze the muscle under the skin to reduce our ability to make facial expressions that cause the wrinkling of the overlying skin, meaning they’re really effective at reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles...for a while.

"Unlike the procedures mentioned above, Botox does not actually prompt our skin to generate any new collagen or have any effects on skin health. This means as soon as the drug wears off, the effect wears off. That typically takes 3-6 months.

The story on fillers is much the same. They quite literally “fill in” fine lines and wrinkles, but the results typically only last 6-12 months. After that, if you want to keep up the look of plump skin, you’ll need additional injections.

botox injection needle

One note on injections: when you see that Groupon for fillers, just say no. The safest way to undergo these procedures is with a trained dermatologist. Both can lead to serious consequences like blindness or skin necrosis when performed incorrectly. Plus, we’ve all seen those botched filler photos, right?

What’s the bottom line?

As far as procedures go, these yield some of the best bangs for your buck.

Non-surgical procedures like laser treatments, ultrasonic and radiofrequency-based procedures for tightening skin are backed by research and yield serious improvements in skin health. Since they’re medical devices cleared by the FDA, they’re generally shown to be safe and effective.

They improve the appearance of skin after a short period of healing. Plus, by promoting collagen promotion, they actually make skin younger at a cellular level. That means the effects last for much longer than any spa treatment.

Injections, like fillers and botox, have some short-term benefit. However, they don’t create the same improvements in collagen production. So while they might smooth out wrinkles for 3, 6, or 12 months, the improvement you see will be mostly cosmetic.  

We also have to point out that you should discuss all these procedures with your dermatologist to determine what's best for you. Though the efficacy of these treatments is well-established, there are serious risks when done by inexperienced hands, so your doc should be the one to perform the procedure, too (while you’re at it, check out the Three key questions for your dermatologist to get totally proactive about your skincare!).

Finally, just like a facial, these procedures can’t take the place of a healthy skincare routine. That starts with antioxidant protection in the form of Sundaily gummies! Check out our other skincare routine posts on the best ingredients for skincare, how diet impacts our skin, and avoiding environmental stress for more helpful tips!

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