Plasma is said to have the benefits of CO2 resurfacing with the safety profile of non-ablative laser treatments. Could it be the holy grail of nonsurgical skin tightening?
Plasma has quickly become a buzz word in the aesthetic specialty and a growing number of plasma devices are entering the market that may offer the possibility of complete nonablative resurfacing, including less downtime and fewer complications. But results may depend on factors such as tissue resistance and the energy arc generated between the tip of the device and the skin.1
“This is a feature of the device and the distance between the points and there are different energy outputs depending on the device being used,” writes British cosmetic surgeon Dr. Martyn King in an early paper1 addressing plasma potential in aesthetics.
What Plasma Is:
Plasma is the fourth fundamental state of matter. Comprised of ions and electrons, plasma energy is a fairly new application within the aesthetic specialty and lauded for its ability to contract tissue without epidermal vaporization or charring.
How It Works:
Noble gases, including nitrogen, helium and argon, generate plasma energy with predictable properties for enhanced safety and standardized outcomes. However, any gas can be used to generate plasma energy.“Many of the devices used in aesthetic medicine rely on the ionisation of the air between the tip of the device and the skin to generate plasma and the difference in potential between these two points produces an arc,” writes King. 1
When plasma energy is used on the skin, the skin tissue is turned from solid to gas without going through a liquid stage. This prevents thermal damage to surrounding tissue.
According to a study published in Pinnacle Medicine and Medical Sciences, using plasma on induced cutaneous lesions in rabbits found that the basement membrane remained intact in all samples, meaning that it only targeted the surface skin.2
4 Plasma Devices:
In a recent interview, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Rania Agha, M.D., Chicago, Ill., told us that of the several available plasma devices her specific experience is with the Plasma Pen, which she uses to treat smaller areas, such as the upper eyelid, neckline and jowl areas. “The device actually does not touch the skin and triggers an inflammatory reaction that stimulates the collagen formation,” she explains.
Here we compare four of the plasma devices you’re likely to see on the exhibit floor at your next professional meeting: