4 Tips on Choosing a Skin Tightening Device

Hi Dr. Irwin, If it wasn’t for the fact that I live in Winston Salem, North Carolina, I would be coming to see you rather than writing! I really appreciate your articles/blog. I am 66 and the doctor that I see here in Winston uses the Morpheus 8 (laser?) for skin tightening. I don’t have many fine lines, but as my face has drooped, I feel like I look like Deputy Dog (if you are old enough to remember that cartoon character). How does the Morpheus 8 work? And based on some of your answers, would I be a better candidate for Thermage? Thanks so much, Camille

Some of these are lasers and some of these use types of sound waves. Loosely referred to as “radiofrequency”, these devices are being marketed in a big way at the moment; for example mattresses. It’s difficult to figure out because companies put different names on similar devices. You can’t easily compare apples to apples. A good cosmetic dermatologist is key to getting customized and great results.

4 Tips on Choosing a Skin Tightening Device

  1. Consider your age. As we age, we gradually lose collagen and elastic fibers in the deeper layer of our skin (dermis). If you are under 40ish, then you may do well with more superficial collagen building which means less downtime. You also have that better base for the technology to build upon. If you are over 40ish, then you have less base, and may need deeper treatments to see results.
  2. Consider your level of sun damage. Sun, UV, and your environment can really alter this barrier layer. This damage shows up as wrinkles, brown spots and lack of “glow.”  If you have a good thick dermis, but a lot of outer layer damage (epidermis), consider lasers (like the CO2) that help reverse the sun damage, improve your circulation, and help to get rid of the blotchy (red/brown) pigment problems.
  3. Define your goals. For example, if you are over 45-50 and your main concern is sagging, remember that a combination of skin tightening and replacing lost volume with fillers will be best. If your main concern is wrinkles, for example, it’s important to analyze what is causing the wrinkles! Is it sun damage, volume loss, over active facial muscles (like the “11s”)?  For certain types of wrinkles, skin tightening may not help that much.
  4.  Consider how much downtime you haveIf you really need to be back at work in 3 days, even if you got great benefit, you’ll be unhappy if you’re still bruised at a week. Really pin your dermatologist down as to what to expect in terms of bruising, swelling, red/pinkness, crusting and peeling. We are losing the masks so it is a good thing to think about. 🙂

Bottom Line:

Since you’re over 45, Thermage will give you a little maintenance and a mild collagen boost, but it won’t be enough for you to see a change in your jawline most likely. The Morpheus8 has a superficial (no downtown) series that won’t tighten, but it also has a deep radiofrequency “pin” based head similar to the Profound which we use here. That would have downtime, and be better for the tightening you want. I’m assuming you’ve discussed all this with your dermatologist. Usually several treatments are needed if you really don’t want to go under the knife.  Thank you for writing Camille.

Hope this helps,

Brandith Irwin, MD



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