Nonablative infrared skin tightening in Type IV to V Asian skin: a prospective clinical study

Sze-Hon Chua, Por Ang, Lawrence S W Khoo, Chee-Leok Goh
Dermatologic Surgery: Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et Al.] 2007, 33 (2): 146-51

BACKGROUND: Nonablative skin tightening devices have been developed to treat facial and neck skin laxity without damage to the epidermis. There are at present two main approaches: the pioneer method by monopolar radiofrequency and the second by infrared light.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to determine the clinical efficacy and safety of nonablative infrared light in the treatment of facial and neck skin laxity in Type IV to V Asian skin.

METHODS: This is a prospective noncomparative open study. Adult patients with facial and neck skin laxity were recruited for the study. Three treatment sessions spaced 4 weeks apart were performed. Photographic documentation was performed serially during the study period. Final clinical assessment was performed 6 months after the last treatment. Response parameters included patient self-assessment as well as doctor's assessment.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients were evaluated. All patients were of Fitzpatrick skin types IV and V. Patient assessments of response at 6 months after treatment were as follows: 19% reported mild improvement, 38% reported moderate improvement, and 43% reported good improvement. Doctor's assessments of photographs before and 6 months after treatment showed observable lifting of sagging skin folds in 86% of patients. Of these, 28% were assessed as significant-mild, 38% as significant-moderate, and 19% as significant-excellent. The treatments were associated with minimal pain and edema. The main side effect was isolated superficial blistering in 7 episodes of 63 treatments performed, which resolved without scarring in all patients.

CONCLUSION: Direct application of infrared light with epidermal cooling is effective in achieving mild to moderate gradual clinical improvement in the treatment of facial and neck skin laxity. The procedure is associated with minimal downtime and is safe for use in darker skin, Types IV and V.

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