Dr. Brad Bengtson offers THERMISmooth® at Grand Rapids’ Bengtson Center, much like practices do all around the country. The treatment is widely popular for its ability to smooth away fine lines and wrinkles without the need for incisions, injections, or any sort of invasive strategy.
But how does it work?
Simply put, THERMISmooth® sends radiofrequency waves into the tissue, where they are absorbed and converted into heat. This heat remodels collagen, which causes the skin above to smooth out and regain a more youthful appearance.
Collagen is the key element here because the protein is what gives skin its dual characteristics of strength and flexibility.
Every person is born with collagen in abundance. In fact, medical researchers estimate that collagen makes up anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of all protein in the body. It connects bones to each other and to muscles in the form of ligaments and tendons, helps give organs their shape, and plays a role in wound repair.
Collagen is known especially for the fact that it forms tough but elastic structures that can bend and flex, but retain their shape. In the skin, it also serves to hold hyaluronic acid, which in turn holds onto water and keeps the structure properly hydrated.
Collagen molecules routinely break down and are replaced in the skin in a repetitive cycle that begins to slow as time goes by. While collagen levels remain essentially stable throughout a person’s childhood, they begin to drop—at a rate of about one percent each year—once a person turns roughly 18.
While the shift does not cause any visible changes at first, the cumulative loss eventually leads to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. With less collagen to provide elasticity and firmness, as well as less hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated, the result is a more aged appearance.
Lines that form this way are known as static wrinkles, and they are often seen on the face and hands. Note that these are different from dynamic wrinkles, which are the result of the same expressions being made over and over again for years. In the case of dynamic wrinkles, the repetitive motion is the source of folds, so while collagen certainly plays a role, it is not the solution to smoothing out the lines.
Stimulating the remaining collagen can have a beneficial effect on static wrinkles, however, since the protein is critical for wound repair and healing. By encouraging remodeling with electromagnetic energy, THERMISmooth® gets the collagen molecules to organize, forming a smoother, stronger, and more flexible structure once again. Heat can even encourage the production of new collagen.
Essentially, the collagen is “healing” the “wounds” caused by time, which has the ultimate benefit of younger-looking skin.
The THERMISmooth® treatment itself is simple: A trained provider holds the device directly against the surface of the skin, moving it in small circles to roll it over the entire treatment area. The handpiece is temperature controlled, so while deeper tissues are being heated, some patients say that the treatment itself feels like a warm massage.
THERMISmooth® can be used to address lines on the forehead, around the eyes, on the cheeks, around the mouth, and on the neck. It is safe and effective for all skin types and tones, and because it is nonsurgical, no special healing or recovery time is required. There may be some slight swelling, redness, or discomfort felt shortly after a treatment session, but these should go away on their own, and patients can continue their typically scheduled day as normal.
Note that while collagen remodeling is an effective treatment, the hands of time continue to turn, and wrinkles will eventually begin to develop again. Your provider can explain the ideal schedule of treatments in order to maintain a smoother, younger look.