Does Laser Skin Tightening Work?

Laser Skin Treatment

Does Laser Skin Tightening Work?

Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive procedure used to tighten the skin by heating the collagen beneath the skin’s surface. The plastic surgeon uses an infrared light source (laser) to perform laser skin tightening. Because skin tightening reduces the appearance of loose skin, wrinkles, and fine lines, it is quickly becoming a popular cosmetic procedure at the MedSpa.

Laser skin tightening is slightly different than laser resurfacing. With skin resurfacing, the plastic surgeon uses a laser to remove the outer layer of skin, which promotes growth of healthier, new skin. This procedure actually removes the top layers of skin, which treats wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, acne scars, and other skin imperfections. With laser skin tightening, the laser penetrates the skin, heating the collagen under the skin surface. This causes collagen expansion, making the skin appear tighter.

Advantages and Effectiveness

Laser skin tightening often produces less immediate changes than laser skin resurfacing, but noticeable results can be seen soon after the first treatment on some people. The results gradually are noticeable over the next 1-2 months. Optimal results are achieved by having a series of 6 treatments, which are spaced a month apart. While some skin tightening occurs with 1-3 sessions, the best results are seen after a full series of 6 treatments.

Laser skin tightening has many advantages. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while reversing skin laxity and loose skin. The procedure also appears to reduce acne scars and stretch marks. Another advantage is that there is no downtime following the procedure. During the treatment, the laser practitioner uses a small hand-held device that applies quick pulses of laser light to the skin. You may feel a gradual warming of the treated area, but this is mild, often described as the sensation of a rubber band snapping on the skin. Most patients report minimal discomfort, which goes away soon after the completion of the laser procedure.

Timing of Results

Most clients notice changes in skin condition and tone right after the skin tightening treatment. However, the procedure stimulates the natural growth of collagen, so full effects take from 90 to 180 days after the first treatment. Treating the area once a month for a series of 6 will promote maximum development of collagen, which gives you a dramatically rejuvenated appearance.

Many people first notice the signs of aging on the face and neck, when the skin begins to sag. After weight loss, people tend to have sagging skin on the arms, belly, buttocks, and thighs. Stretched, loose, and/or saggy skin will respond well to laser skin tightening. An average person loses around 3-4% of collagen by age 25 years, and this continues to decline with every passing year. The most success with laser skin tightening is observed in clients ages 30 to 60 years of age.

Clinical Studies

In a recent study, researchers evaluated the use of laser lipolysis for skin tightening, which involved dual-wavelength diode lasers. The procedures were performed using a local anesthetic in the surgical center setting. To calculate effects, they measured circumferences of body regions before, right after, and 90 days following the procedure. Researchers found that all patients had significant skin tightening with laser lipolysis.

In another clinical study, researchers checked the skin laxity of cosmetic patients following diode laser lipolysis. When lipolysis was compared to liposuction without skin tightening, patients were more satisfied with lipolysis than liposuction alone. The researchers concluded that, overall, laser-assisted lipolysis was safe and effective for skin tightening.


Valizadeh N, Jalaly NY, Zarghampour M, et al. (2016). Evaluation of safety and efficacy of 980-nm diode laser-assisted lipolysis versus traditional liposuction for submental rejuvenation: A randomized clinical trial. J Cosmet Laser Ther, 18(1), 41-45.
Wolfenson M, Hochman B, & Ferreira LM (2015). Laser lipolysis: skin tightening in lipoplasty using a diode laser. PlastReconstrSurg, 135(5), 1369-1377.

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