Plasma skin regeneration

Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2007.

Plasma skin regeneration (PSR), is a non-laser treatment that uses a device to deliver energy in the form of plasma to rejuvenate skin by improving facial lines and wrinkles (rhytides) and skin pigmentation associated with photoaging. Portrait® PSR device is the first non-laser technology approved by the FDA and clinically proven to perform skin resurfacing and regeneration using plasma energy.

How does it work?

To understand how PSR works a basic understanding of skin structure is required. Briefly, skin consists of 3 layers, the epidermis (uppermost layer), dermis (mid-lay) and subcutis (lower fat layer). The epidermis contains pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for skin colouring. The dermis is made up of collagen and elastin fibres that provide skin with strength, toughness, elasticity and pliability (click here for detailed information on skin structure).

As the body ages, the appearance and characteristics of the skin alter. The epidermis becomes thinner so blemishes become more visible, and collagen in the dermis is gradually lost which contributes to the formation of facial lines, sagging skin and wrinkles.

PSR technology uses energy delivered from plasma rather than light or radiofrequency, compared to other skin regeneration modalities (e.g. radiothermoplasty). Portrait works by delivering millisecond pulses of nitrogen-based plasma to the skin via a handpiece. Within the handpiece an ultra-high-frequency (UHF) generator excites inert nitrogen gas, which is converted into activated ionised gas called plasma. This plasma-containing energy is directed through a quartz nozzle out of the tip of the handpiece and onto the skin. The energy delivered produces a heating action that works at the skin’s surface to remove old photodamaged epidermal cells, and below the skin surface or dermis to promote collagen growth.

The Portrait device can be used at varying energy levels to achieve differing results. The amount of energy delivered ranges from 1-4 Joules per pulse. Currently there are 3 recommended treatment protocols:

Although all protocols improve fine lines, tone and texture, and skin pigmentations, it appears that skin/tissue tightening is more pronounced with high-energy treatments. The low-energy treatments marketed as Portrait Express™ produce results gradually over time and have very little, if any, associated downtime. Most patients can have their first treatment at their first consultation and return to their daily activities directly afterwards.

Who is suitable for PSR?

PSR is used to rejuvenate skin by improving facial lines and wrinkles (rhytides) and skin pigmentation associated with photoaging. It is best performed during the early signs of aging such as:

What does the procedure involve?

The following is an outline of the PSR procedure:

Pre-treatment assessment/preparation

Application of Portrait PSR

Post-treatment and recovery

What are the side effects and complications?

Portrait appears to be very well tolerated by most patients, particularly low-energy treatments (Portrait Express™). Shaving or application of make-up can be done soon after treatment. In most cases, patients can return to work directly after treatments or the following day, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.

To date no major side effects have been reported. Some of the side effects and complications that may occur, especially after higher energy level treatments include:

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