A Review of SkinTyte Laser for the Face and Neck
SkinTyte for Loose, Saggy Skin
I am reminded at some point during my first SkinTyte laser treatment that I hate having my face touched. About the only thing I hate worse is having my neck touched, and yet, here I am, lying on my back on a table with my eyes taped shut, having both my face and my neck touched by a complete stranger.
Let me back up a bit.
I'd been researching various "skin tightening" procedures, hoping to find a reasonably priced option for restoring my face to some semblance of a younger age. Thermage seemed like it might be the answer, but a consultation with the doctor along with a price quote of $2900 for face, eyes and neck, proved to be out of my reach. Another option was the Sciton SkinTyte system, which uses pulses of infrared energy to heat the skin and promote collagen production. The cost, $375 per treatment for both face (excluding the eye area) and neck, seemed affordable, though at least two treatments were recommended in order to see results, and four treatments were recommended to see longer lasting results.
One big concern I had with any treatment I did was the whole face-touching issue. I just don't like people touching my face and neck. With the Sciton SkinTyte treatment, I felt I could afford to spend $375 to see (1) if it worked and (2) if I could stand the touching.
What SkinTyte Feels Like
When I made the appointment at the "med spa," the receptionist told me that there was nothing I needed to do to prep, that there would be no down-time at all, and that I could apply makeup immediately afterward. The whole treatment, face and neck, would take about an hour.
I arrived to the appointment a few minutes early. The med spa was very busy and staffed by youngsters, perhaps college-aged. Check-in was done by iPad, and consisted of filling out a four page form on the iPad itself. The questions were fairly standard - "Do you have any allergies?" and "What medications are you currently taking?" About the only question that stood out was the one asking if I currently or recently had any type of skin breakout such as a cold sore. SkinTyte, they said, was not recommended during an active facial breakout of this type.
After waiting a couple minutes more; someone offered me a drink, and then I was ushered into the "medical" side of the spa.
The Sciton system was already humming. The room was warm, but the technician, some type of nurse though not an RN, turned on a portable air conditioner. She briefly explained the Sciton - the pulses of infrared light would be delivered to my face via a handpiece, and that the light would be bright in spite of eye protection. She had me lay down on a table and covered by eyes with sticky patches - disposable goggles, if you will. Just before beginning, she warned that the light laser would get hot, but that there was a cooling system built-in that would keep the treatment mostly comfortable. "It does get very hot around bone, though, just to warn you," she said.
She applied a gel to the left side of my neck, which immediately made me a bit edgy. She had a light touch, but I didn't like the sensation of having my face touched. Then she began in earnest, running the wand over the gel in short strokes, from the jaw line and down my neck, then up under my chin. She occasionally stopped to read my skin temperature, using some sort of heat sensing device. "We need to get your skin temperature to 41 degrees Celsius," she said. She made about six or seven passes with the device on my left-neck when I began to get more than anxious about the sensation, and the rapid tut-tut-tut sound of the Sciton. Nope. I didn't like it. In fact, hated it. On the bright side, I barely noticed the gradual buildup of heat in my skin tissue.
My skin eventually reached the appropriate temperature, and the tech started in on the other side of my neck. I think the right side went more quickly, probably because I did a lot of cringing and pulling away from the handpiece. The tech was professional, however, and kept moving to the left side of my face and then to the right.
It's important, I think, to note that the tech used only one treatment tip. It covered a large area, which meant that the treatment went quickly, but it also seemed to miss spots. For example, the nasolobial folds really didn't get touched at all, except peripherally, and the area between my eyebrows where my frown lines collect did not get treated. From my research, smaller treatment tips are available for the SkinTyte handpiece, but the med spa that I went to for my treatment apparently doesn't use them.
The last few seconds of the treatment were devoted to the forehead, by far the most uncomfortable in terms of the heat. The tech explained that because of the bone and the lack of soft tissue on the forehead, the area heats up quickly. She was able to get my skin temperature to 40 degrees Celsius, but not to the desired 41, before we had to call it quits due to the discomfort.
Does SkinTyte Work?
Immediately after, I looked in the mirror. Nothing. The technician was encouraging, and said that I'd likely see some changes later in the day, with the most improvement occurring between the second and third week. She reminded me that they recommend at least two treatments to see noticeable results, and four treatments for optimal, lasting results.
I drove home, ate lunch, puttered in the garden and checked the mirror again. Surprisingly, I could see changes.
My forehead was noticeably smoother in appearance. Where I once had fine wrinkles, I now had smooth skin. The most dramatic difference, however, was around my jaw line. That "jowly" appearance had improved ever so slightly, but definitely noticeably.
I could feel a difference as well. There was no pain or anything like that, just a sensation of tightness over my whole face.
One downside: My eyebrows looked like they'd been singed or something. They now curled upwards.
One Week Later
My eyebrows still curl upward; I suspect this will be a permanent condition. But on to my face...
After a week, there is a definite improvement in skin tightness, with the majority of improvement seen in my neck and jowls. While I still have a "double chin," it is more lifted in appearance. I don't notice the jowls as much.
I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't look into getting my eye area treated. The med spa I went to does not offer it. I probably will need to see a dermatologist or other medical professional if I want it.
About four weeks after my first SkinTyte treatment, I had another. This time, the nurse only treated my jawline and neck. She did nothing to my forehead, nothing around my mouth area, nothing anywhere else on my face. I didn't ask why, thinking that this was part of the deal, but in retrospect, I wondered. Was this because I had a 50% off coupon?
I had the third and final treatment two weeks later, with the same nurse who did the previous treatment. Once again, I had a 50% off coupon, and once again, she did 50% of the area that I had treated the very first session.
The results, though, were fairly dramatic. My loose turkey neck was much improved. I enjoyed the holidays and the next several weeks without even thinking about loose skin.
But, alas, the results didn't last forever. I'm now just shy of three months since my last SkinTyte treatment, and I feel that I'm in need of another. I'm fairly confident that I will achieve good results with a treatment of my face and neck, even if that treatment only covers my jawline and neck and nothing else. Cost-wise, I feel it is "worth it."
I had lunch recently with an old friend who is considering a face lift and eye lift. I mentioned that I was considering some type of lift myself, and she exclaimed, "But your skin looks so tight!" I confessed to the SkinTyte treatment, and my friend claimed to be amazed and impressed by the results. "The only thing," she said, "is your neck..." Ouch. I'm definitely in need of a touch-up!
But, she mentioned a cream that she's been using - she has great skin overall. It's an inexpensive Vitamin E cream that I've added to my regime, with excellent results. Even though the SkinTyte does tighten skin, it doesn't put moisture back into it, so the Vitamin E cream is a big help.
Overall, SkinTyte gives somewhat lasting results. I expect I'd need two treatments a year to maintain the look that I want. I'm planning to investigate other non-invasive skin tightening treatments as well.
Update: I've recently made an appointment for a touch-up, about six months after my last treatment. I probably should have gone in three months ago, but I wanted to see how jiggly my neck would get. It pretty much went back to the way it was before SkinTyte, thought I neglected to take a "before" picture for adequate comparison. My singed and curly eyebrows are finally back to normal at this point. I'm still quite happy with my SkinTyte experience, and will continue to do touch-ups until something more drastic needs to be done.