Do you ever look in the mirror and wish for tighter, firmer, and more youthful skin? You’re not alone. Once we reach a certain age, we can start to notice a sagging of the skin on the face and neck. Lines can get deeper, wrinkles can get more pronounced, and our skin begins to lose its youthful radiance. We’re all chasing the holy grail of tighter, firmer looking skin. But in so doing, we can waste a small fortune on products and treatments that fail to live up to our expectations. For instance, it’s fairly common to see ‘collagen enriched’ skincare creams on the shelf. But what the labels don’t tell you is that collagen cannot be absorbed into the skin. The molecules are simply too big. The skin needs to be stimulated to produce more collagen of its own, in order to restore its youthful elasticity.
This does not, however, mean that invasive surgeries like facelifts are the only option to tighten skin that has lost its elasticity. There is a range of treatments designed to restore a youthful appearance without the need for surgery. Most of them work by encouraging the body to produce more of its own collagen, or by removing damaged skin layers to reveal the healthier and more youthful skin beneath.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the best skin tightening treatments, and everything readers need to know about them to make an informed decision as to which is best for them.
Facial, Skin & Chemical Peels
Skin can often age its wearer when it is dry, malnourished, or damaged by the effects of the sun and the wind. This applies not only to the skin of the face but other areas that are often exposed throughout the day such as the neck and hands.
Skin, facial and chemical peels can help to improve the appearance or feel of the skin, when applied to the face and neck, while also helping to remove damaged skin for softer hands. These peels work similarly to the exfoliants that many use in their day-to-day skincare regimen. They use chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acids, phenols, retinoids, beta-hydroxy acids, and trichloroacetic acid. These help to remove the damaged or dry outer layers of skin, revealing the new skin underneath. This is often tighter, smoother and less wrinkled as it has not yet been exposed to damaging environmental effects like cold, wind and sunlight.
Chemical peels can have a number of benefits including:
- Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Removing sun damaged skin
- Reducing the appearance of scars (including acne scars)
- Reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and melasma
- Reducing redness and evening out skin tone
One may opt for a light, medium or deep chemical peel, depending on how many layers of skin are to be removed. Deep peels are rarely necessary for anything other than the removal of precancerous growths. Light peels are often sufficient to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone, while a medium peel can be used to treat deeper wrinkles and scars. As well as leaving skin looking younger and healthier, some peels can also tighten sagging skin by stimulating the production of new collagen.
While it’s possible to apply or even make your own chemical peel at home, it’s recommended that you see a reputable clinician for best results. A chemical peel can take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes, and there is no downtime required. However, it’s common to experience some redness and tenderness. It may take more than one treatment to achieve or maintain the desired results. A new chemical peel can be carried out every 4-6 weeks.
A chemical peel can cost anywhere between £60-£100 for light peels or upwards of £500 for a deeper peel.
Vampire facial / vampire facelift
Despite the scary name, this is one of the safest, and least invasive skin tightening treatments. A vampire facelift doesn’t require the injection of any harsh chemicals into the skin. In fact, it uses the body’s natural healing compounds to rejuvenate the skin.
A vampire facelift (also known as a vampire facial) involves the injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the tissue of the affected area. Platelet Rich Plasma is a concentrated mixture of proteins and growth factors that release a variety of substances in the blood for various functions.
PRP has many potential uses in and outside of cosmetic treatment. It can be injected into the scalp to nourish the hair and help to reduce hair loss, as well as being injected into breast tissue to give it a plumper appearance (known as a vampire breast lift). It is also used by professional athletes to accelerate the healing of damaged muscle tissue.
The procedure for a vampire facelift is as follows:
- The clinician draws a blood sample
- The blood is spun in a centrifuge so that the PRP is separated and bonded to other healing compounds
- The PRP is then injected into the affected area
- The PRP then gets to work stimulating the production of new collagen and skin cells in the face
This can help with a range of skin improvements. With tightening of the skin can come a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, improvement in skin elasticity and tone, and a reduction in pore size. PRP has also been shown to be effective in reducing scarring.
A vampire facial is a very fast treatment, usually taking between 30 and 60 minutes. Furthermore, no downtime is required and patients can get right back to their normal routine.
Treatments start at around £450-£500, and results typically last around 6-12 months.
Collagen cannot be introduced through the skin. Instead, the skin needs to generate its own to produce tighter, firmer and younger looking skin. Thermage FLX is a popular treatment that uses radiofrequency to stimulate the production of new collagen. The procedure is completely non-invasive and there are no injections into the skin. Here’s how it works:
- An applicator is applied to the skin. This has a cooling tip to soothe the skin
- Beneath the skin, radiation penetrates the deeper, collagen-rich layers
- The heat separates collagen from surrounding water molecules, resulting in immediate contraction and tightening of the skin
- Over the next few months, the skin generates new strands of healthier collagen
Treatment typically takes between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the affected area. While it is commonly applied to the face, it can also be used elsewhere on the body to target sagging skin.
Results are usually visible after a single treatment, although the full effect is usually visible after around 6 months. Results can last for up to 2 years.
Prices typically start at around £2,000-£3,000 per treatment.
Pioneered by the French doctor Michel Pistor in the ‘50s, Mesotherapy uses naturally-occurring ingredients to nourish, tighten and rejuvenate the skin of the face and body. Mesotherapy requires a series of injections into the middle layer of the skin. This is known as the mesoderm, and is where mesotherapy gets its name. The number of injections can vary from 50 to 150, depending on the affected area.
Injections are applied using a ‘meso-gun’ which uses an extremely fine needle to inject a cocktail of naturally occurring compounds into the skin. This includes:
- Hormones such as calcitonin and thyroxin
- Herbal extracts
- Vitamins and minerals
- Enzymes such as collagenase and hyaluronidase
- Antioxidants to help reduce damage to the skin from environmental free radicals
These work together to nourish the skin and encourage new collagen production, helping it to become tighter and firmer. They also help to break down unwanted localised deposits of fat. Mesotherapy can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and help to lift sagging skin. It also helps to even out skin tone and lighten hyperpigmentation. Some also report that it restores the youthful glow to their skin that they miss.
As well as being used on the skin of the face, mesotherapy is also used for body contouring, and can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Results may be visible after a single treatment but it may take several treatments to achieve the desired result. The final results of mesotherapy tend to last for around 3-5 months.
A single mesotherapy session can cost anywhere between £200 and £700.
Like many of the other treatments explored here, microneedling involves stimulating the skin and encouraging it to produce more collagen. In fact, microneedling is also known as ‘collagen induction therapy’. Like a vampire facial, it uses the body’s own mechanics to stimulate new collagen production, tightening and rejuvenating the skin.
As the name suggests, microneedling uses tiny needles to cause minuscule punctures within the skin. These trigger the body’s natural healing process, generating collagen and elastin to heal the damaged tissue. For those with a darker skin tone, microneedling is a more favourable alternative to chemical peels as these can cause pigmentation issues.
As well as tightening and revitalising the skin, microneedling can also be used to treat scars, including acne scars, and to even out skin tone. As well as being used on the face, it can also be used to treat scarring or stretch marks on the body. Microneedling can be done at home, with DIY kits becoming increasingly available and affordable. However, for best results it’s always advisable to see a reputable clinician.
Although the procedure is very quick (usually taking around 30 minutes to perform), the plumping effect is virtually instantaneous, and the results tend to last anywhere between 3 and 5 months. Micro needling treatments start at around £150 for a single scar or around £350 for a full face treatment.
As well as removing blemishes such as warts and skin tags, laser resurfacing can also be used for skin tightening. It can be used on specific areas like the eyes and around the mouth, or be used to treat the whole face. There are two types of laser treatments. These are known as ablative and non-ablative treatments.
Ablative treatments remove the upper layers of skin, much like a chemical peel. Non-ablative treatments work similarly to Thermage FLX. The laser penetrates deep into the skin, triggering the body’s healing process. This, in turn, encourages the production of new skin cells and collagen threads beneath the surface, resulting in visibly plumper and tighter skin. Like other treatments mentioned here, it also helps to promote more even skin tone, reduce the appearance of scars and combat hyperpigmentation.
Laser resurfacing typically requires up to 5 days of downtime to reduce the risk of infection. It’s common to experience some redness and discomfort which can be treated with a topical anaesthetic cream.
The full results are usually visible within 6 months and can last from 3-5 years. Treatments can cost anywhere between £300 and £3,000 depending on the surface area. While there are numerous DIY laser treatments available for home use, its recommended that you chose a clinician with a good reputation and a proven track record to carry out this treatment.