Plasma pen skin tightening or fibroblasting is a skin tightening treatment. Plasma pen skin tightening is an addition to the confusing array of therapies available in the facial cosmetic industry, some of which are cost effective and some of which do not work. Not many people know much about the plasma pen treatment as it is called in North America or fibroblasting as it is called in Europe, but it is one of the better alternatives to treatments like lasers, filler injections and surgery.
With age, the dermal layer of our skin thins; we produce less collagen and we lose elasticity. This produces sagging and wrinkling of the skin. The Plasma Pen has been described as a soft-surgical procedure that targets a wide variety of skin conditions including loss of elasticity, sagging, and wrinkles.
Fibroblasting or the plasma pen has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a non-surgical facelift-like, skin tightening treatment that is less invasive than surgery. It is less invasive than the aggressive, ablative resurfacing lasers and the stronger chemical peels but the plasma pen can produce very similar results especially for fine lines or skin wrinkles. The procedure targets the fibroblast cells to create healthy collagen, leaving the skin tighter and firmer and thus looking younger for longer.
The Evolution of Plasma Pen in Our Office
I often describe facial aging as largely the combination of two phenomenon; loss of volume and loss of elasticity. Plastic surgeons generally deal with volume loss with either fat grafting or fillers. Traditionally, we have dealt with loss of elasticity with surgery. In the face, surgical options for tightening skin include surgeries such as a facelift and its many variations, neck lifts, blepharoplasties or eyelid lifts and brow lifts.
The demand for non-surgical options has led the cosmetic and skin care industry to embrace treatments such as microneedling. Medical microneedling is a treatment in which the needles of the microneedling device penetrate deep enough to cause an injury to the skin. This increases the development of collagen as the tissue heals. Lasers and chemical peels are often used to tighten the skin of the face but lasers destroy the top layers of the skin and this can ultimately contribute to the aging process that laser treatments are intended to improve.
Lasers are also very expensive machines to purchase and this cost must be passed on to the patient.
I am constantly looking for ways to non-surgically tighten facial skin that are effective, do not have a lot of down time, are less expensive than a costly laser treatment, and do not destroy a lot of tissue, and do not contribute to accelerated skin aging.
Approximately 2 years ago, fibroblasting or the plasma pen came to my attention. While the results were promising, the skeptic in me wanted to see results. The skin care team in my office decided to try it and we purchased a Plamere plasma pen. These pens are readily available on Amazon and are relatively cheap. Training is essentially trial and error as well as a few videos on YouTube. After a few patients and mixed results, our Plamere pen broke down and we decided to purchase a plasma pen by Louis Walsh. This pen produced some excellent results after 3 months, especially around the eyes and mouth. As our experience and confidence grew, the results became even better.
We have since moved on to what may be the best plasma pen on the market the Plasma IQ sold by Suneva Medical. As opposed to most other devices, this device is fully approved by the FDA. Others claim to be FDA approved but what is approved is the technology their device is using but their device is not specifically approved, as opposed to the Plasma IQ.
The Plamsa IQ plasma pen, delivers a slightly deeper micro-injury and a more consistent micro-injury to the skin. This produces a more consistent result and while patients were happy with their results with the other pens, their satisfaction has improved since we have been using the Plasma IQ for our plasma pen or fibroblasting treatments and Eve feels that it is the best plasma pen that she has worked with.
We now use the plasma pen and fibroblasting for patients who:
- want or are in need of skin tightening but are not surgical candidates.
- want or need a skin tightening treatment that is the next step-up from microneedling.
Our Plastic Surgery skin care specialist, Eve Stern, who has many years of experience in skin care, has become very proficient at getting quality results. Her patients give both her and the plasma pen excellent reviews.
What areas of the body can be treated with Plasma Pen?
The skin pen can produce excellent results for many areas of the body, particularly in the face and neck.
- Accordion lines or smile lines– the curved vertical lines that form outside of the corners of your mouth when you smile.
- Acne scars – improvement in the appearance of post-acne marks and scars
- Crow’s feet around eyes
- Forehead lines
- Jowl / jawline tightening
- Marionette lines – The creases or folds that run vertically from the corners of the mouth down to the chin
- Nasal labial folds or smile lines – The folds that run from the sides of your nose down to the edge of your mouth
- Necklines, turkey neck
- Smoker’s lines – those vertical wrinkles also known as lipstick lines around the mouth
- Upper and lower eyelids – Bags and hoods
How does the Plasma Pen work?
A plasma pen is a hand-held device that discharges an electric current to small and specific areas of the skin. Theplasma pen works by transmitting electrical energy to the skin’s surface using energized gas from the plasma pen or fibroblasting device to the skin. This process causes a micro-injury to the skin’s top layers or epidermis and the energy pulse simultaneously heats and disrupts the deeper dermal structures via thermal conduction. The micro-injury that the procedure causes, then encourages the fibroblast cells to respond to the wounds. Research has found that the thermal disruption created by fibroblast treatment encourages tissue regeneration, causes tissue tightening, and stimulates fibroblast cell stimulation. The stimulated fibroblast cells in the deeper or dermal layers of skin are thereby reactivated, inducing the fibroblasts to produce collagen.
What does the plasma pen treatment look like?
While the procedure can differ depending on where you have the treatment, there are some basic steps that you can expect when you come in for treatment. First your skin will be cleansed, and then anesthetized either with numbing cream or an injection of local anesthesia or lidocaine. The treatment is then performed with the plasma pen and small scab-like dots form on the surface of the skin using the microcurrent form.
Fibroblasting usually takes around 30 to 60 minutes to perform and you can expect the immediate recovery process to take around a week. As part of the recovery process, you will notice the small dots scab over, and as the skin heals, it will reveal new skin cells that appear firmer and tighter. These small dots will become red dots that will fade in time and the skin tightening that you get will take about one month to achieve the full effect.
Who should not get a plasma pen treatment?
People with darker skin color (African American, African, Latin, Native American, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian ancestry and people of mixed ethnicities) are not good candidates for Plasma Pen as the risk of hyper or hypopigmentation is increased.
What is the cost of a Plasma Pen or fibroblasting treatment?
The cost of treatment varies on the size of the area being treated. Typical charges range from $750-$2000.