A study involving eight patients suggests that multiple low-energy treatments with a plasma skin regeneration tool may help to reduce wrinkles and improve facial appearance with minimal healing time, according to an article in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The multiple treatments have about the same effect as one high-energy session but with less healing time.
"Plasma is a unique state of matter in which electrons are stripped from atoms to form an ionized gas," the authors write as background information in the article. During plasma skin regeneration, energy from plasma is emitted in millisecond-long pulses to target skin tissues. The energy level is set manually on the device, which is, according to the authors, "cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for multiple, single-pass, low-energy treatments and single-treatment, one-pass, high-energy treatment of facial rhytids (wrinkles) and for the treatment of superficial skin lesions." Previous studies have primarily focused on high-energy single treatments for acne scarring or wrinkle reductions, which may be effective but require a week or more for healing.
Melissa A. Bogle, M.D., then at SkinCare Physicians, Chestnut Hill, Mass., and now at the Laser and Cosmetic Surgery Center of Houston, and colleagues gave three full-face, low-energy treatments to eight volunteers every three weeks. Before the second and third treatment, the quality of the new skin grown over the treated area, amount of healing time and redness was recorded. Four days following each procedure, and again one and three months after the last procedure, patients were photographed and their skin was examined. Physicians rated participants' wrinkles on a nine-point scale, which was based on rated photos of other patients and not previous photos of the same patient; patients also rated the treatments' effectiveness. Skin biopsies were also taken from six patients before and 90 days after all three procedures.
Three months after treatment, the participants had 37 percent fewer wrinkles as judged by the researchers, and the patients reported a 68 percent improvement in overall facial appearance. Tissue had re-grown over the treated area after four days, while patient-reported redness lasted six days. No scarring or loss of pigment occurred. When examining the biopsied skin tissue under a microscope, the researchers found that a new band of collagen, the primary protein in skin, had formed in the inner layers of the skin.
"The healing time in our study averaged approximately five days per treatment; however, this was a patient-assessed number that included days it took for any residual redness and peeling to completely resolve," the authors write. "While nearly a week of healing time may not seem to be an improvement over other minimally invasive resurfacing procedures and micropeels, the intensity of the healing process is quite minor, which makes it an attractive option for many patients."
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