Our skin, when we’re young, regenerates itself, shedding old skin cells from the surface (epidermis) while creating new cells in the middle skin layer, the dermis. These new cells grow and mature, moving upwards until they too reach the surface and are sloughed off.
As we age, this process slows down and becomes less efficient. Why? Because collagen is slowing down. Collagen is a workhorse in the body. It’s a strong, stringy protein and the main part of our bones, teeth, ligaments (fibers connecting bones), sinews (fibers connecting muscles to bones), and cartilage (a connective tissue in our joints, nose, throat, and other places). It plays a starring role in making our skin strong and elastic.
When collagen starts making fewer skin cells, our skin starts to wrinkle. Many people get collagen injections to make their skin smoother and younger-looking. Others get laser treatments that remove some of both the dermis and the epidermis (known as ablative treatments), which stimulates the collagen into more activity, and requires a couple of weeks of recovery. Still others get laser treatments which stimulate collagen by targeting only the dermis, leaving the epidermis cooled and unaffected (non-ablative treatments) and this requires a much shorter recovery period.
ThermaFrax has an extremely short recovery time. It’s a combination of two recently developed skin treatments: Fraxel laser treatments and Thermage.
Fraxel® laser treatments
The Fraxel® laser treatment requires only a day or two of recovery time. It’s much like recovering from mild sunburn, and the slight swelling and redness will subside in that day or two. Your skin may look tanned for a couple of weeks, and you may peel a little, which is all part of the healing and repair, but it doesn’t block you from normal daily activities.
How it Works
What cuts the recovery period down to almost zero, while giving you dazzling results, is the piece-by-piece approach of the Fraxel® laser. Instead of targeting the entire treatment area, the laser targets thousands of microscopically tiny dots, like the pixels in a digital photo. But it doesn’t target every pixel, just some. All the skin area around these pixels is left alone. In this way, the collagen in the dermis is stimulated into activity, while the untouched skin needs no recovery time.
A Thermage treatment (developed by the Thermage Corporation) is a way of lifting and tightening sagging skin – a type of non-surgical facelift. It uses radio waves (monopolar capacitive radiofrequency, known as CRF) technology with the trade name of ThermaCool™. The CRF energy is applied through a sophisticated tool called a ThermaTip™, which simultaneously keeps the skin surface cool and heats the dermis, with its collagen. The heating action penetrates to a depth of 2.5 mm and makes the collagen (along with the other skin structures) tighten. This new, tighter collagen is able to produce new, tighter skin cells, which give you a younger and smoother look.
The amount of heat delivered to your skin is precisely controlled by your cosmetic physician. There’ll be no pain, as a numbing cream will be applied to your skin before treatment, and if you want it, you can have a pain medication or a relaxant.
A person’s skin color has no relevance. Everybody could be a good candidate for Thermage treatments, except those with pacemakers, as the radiofrequency could interfere with it. Thermage is very safe and there’s no special preparation before your treatment.
By having two treatment series, one of Fraxel and the other of Thermage, you can achieve dramatic skin improvement. You can have both series simultaneously, and can even have one of each treatment on the same day. The Thermage series lifts your skin and the Fraxel series generates tighter skin cells. Treatment times vary between about a half-hour and one hour.
This combination of treatments can greatly smooth out the wrinkles around the eyes, on the forehead, and near the mouth. Not many medical spas or cosmetic surgeons are offering ThermaFrax yet, but an online search should turn up some.
For more information on Thermage from an experienced cosmetic surgeon, click here.