Can crepey, sagging skin on the upper leg or around the knee be tightened?

This is a really interesting question, because 2 years ago I would have said, fairly definitively, no!  Now….two years later, the landscape on this has changed.

But SAFETY first!  The below are techniques on the cutting edge of non surgical skin tightening and skin treatments.  This mean that please do NOT go to just any provider who advertises body work for this.  You really need an expert center where there is a lot of experience with these devices.  Would it help all of you if we published a list of centers nationally with a lot of experience?  Write me on the blog and let me know.

If the treatment doesn’t go well, scarring, burns, bumps, permanent discoloration and pain are possible complications.  I’m trying to scare everyone here into being very careful!  Remember how excited everyone was when liposuction evolved.  And it can be a great tool, but now we know that there are all the risks just mentioned with liposuction.  It’s very surgeon and individual dependent.  All of the below are off-label FDA uses.

Here’s where advances are being made:

  1. Coolsculpting (CS) on the deposits on the upper outer and inner thigh tightens skin along with it. There is a lot of data now that almost everyone gets skin tightening with Coolsculpting.  We just can’t predict accurately how much. If you have a fat deposit, CS may help.
  2. Coolsculpting of fat pads around the knees.  Almost everyone gets some skin tightening with Coolsculpting.  We just can’t predict accurately how much. If you have a fat deposit, CS may help.
  3. Sun damage.  We know that sun exposure and sun damage, cause loss of elasticity in the skin. Stop exposing the legs without a high zinc (10-20%) sunscreen. Use self-tanner instead.
  4. Building up the collagen and dermal thickness in the thigh.  Experts only.  Body dilution Sculptra and body dilution Radiesse are being used to generate collagen and help improve the quality of the skin.
  5. Radiofrequency microneedling.  This is NOT the little roller things you can buy on Amazon which do nothing! Or the in spa or in office hand held devices that will do nothing for a saggy or crepey thigh.  These require in office topical and injectable numbing and are expensive.  There is early data though that generating high heat fairly deep in the dermis (deeper layer of skin), will tighten this skin. Stay tuned as more research and experience are gained.
Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!

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