Non-invasive cosmetic procedures are increasing in popularity, but there’s one little hand-held device, called Plexr, that can treat a range of things from sagging eyelids to keloid scars. Heather Stephen explains.
What would you say if I told you I could vapourise your eyebags, lift your eyelids and remove your moles all without making a single incision, or in fact, even touching your skin? To good to be true? Well, there is indeed one little hand held device that can do exactly that and more.
It’s called Plexr (which stands for Plasma Exeresis) and was developed by Professor Giorgio Fippi, President of the Italian Society for Aesthetic Medicine, and launched in 2014. It consists of three handheld devices which all treat different skin concerns, using plasma, or ionised gas.
It can be used for acne and acne scars, pigmentation, smoker’s lines, mini face and body lifting, removal of tattoos, moles, warts and keloid scars and was the first non-surgical treatment for sagging eyelids (blepharoplasty) and loose under eye skin or eyebags. Studies have shown it is an effective acne treatment in just one session and for achievihng improvements in sagging eyelids and wrinkles around the mouth.
According to the UK’s lead Plexr trainer, Dr Shirin Lakhani, demand for this novel procedure is rising as consumers are increasingly opting for non-invasive procedures. And it seems the satisfaction rate is quite high with a 2016 survey of 1000 patients conducted by Greek surgeon, Sotiris Tsioumas, last year finding that 80% of those who had had Plexr for sagging eyelids were happy with the results.
So how does it work?
The handheld instrument ionises gases in the air to create a small electrical arc which sends a what is almost like a little lightening bolt onto the skin. It essentially vapourises the surface and the heat generated under the skin causes elastin fibres to contract giving results comparable to surgery.
Many people only need one treatment, although if you are having Plexr as an alternative to a surgical eyelid procedure you may need up to three sessions to achieve comparable results, depending on the amount of excess tissue you have.
Skin tightening around the jawline and neck can also be achieved with the device. The practitioner wielding the device with make a pattern of, lets call them, ‘zaps’ around the wrinkles or areas of excess skin. As with the eyelift, they’ll crust over for a short period of time – about a week- and the skin under neath will be a little pink for a while, but fresh looking. It will also appear ‘tighter’ and smoother.
Apart from aesthetic applications the device and also make quick work of moles and skin tags. And, it offers new hope to people with acne scarring and even keloid scars (lumpy, raised scars)– which are notoriously difficult to treat.
It will also help in tightening up loose or excess skin after child birth or weight loss.
So, what is it like?
Depending on the area being treated you may need a local anaesthetic, numbing cream or nothing at all.
The skin will be cleans and the doctor will go to work. Skin tags can be gone in less than a minute, but larger moles, acne scars and eyelifts can take between 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.
The results are immediate, although some people may need up to three sessions for optimum effects. Around the eyes there will be swelling for a few days.
Does it hurt?
In delicate areas around the eyes or lips it may be a little painful – even with the numbing cream. You will feel heat in the treated area and afterwards you may have a burning sensation but this only lasts for a few hours and your practitioner may apply a cooling gel to help counteract these effects.
Concealer is applied to the treated area which you can use at home and if you have eyelid surgery you may also be given eye drops to avoid infection.
After treatment the skin develops a crust which falls off five to seven days later revealing pink, baby soft skin.
Who can perform it and what happens afterwards?
Only a medical professional trained to use the procedure. Ask to see proof of training and ask your doctor how much experience they have giving the treatment. They are the only once who are receiving certified training in the UK at the moment.
After the procedure the you may be advised to apply ice to the swollen treated area but this normally goes down after a few days. You will also be advised to stay out of the sun and use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
In the week after treatment you should avoid exfoliation or scrubbing the skin and should cleanse with a gentle ph balanced soap.
The usual healing time for patients with light skin is two to three weeks but people with darker skin can take four to five weeks. Recovery time for eyelid treatment is 7 to 15 days.
Is it risky?
This is a very safe procedure however there is a risk of hyperpigmentation or skin darkening but this shouldn’t happen for most people if you follow the aftercare advice given by your doctor.
Is it suitable for everyone?
You should not have this treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. And it is not advised if you have very dark skin because of the high risk of hyperpigmentation (dark spots) or hypopigmentation (white spots) developing on the skin, which can occur if you pick or scratch the crusts which develop after the treatment.
What does it cost and is it worth it?
It’s not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as surgery. Prices vary but you should expect to pay £150 for small areas like skin tags or small moles, £600 for a facelift and £1,500 for an eyelid course of three treatments.
And when it comes to the eyes, as skin is removed or vapourised really, the results should last for about the same time as surgical results so you should not need any further treatment for a few years. That said, your race and genetics as well as lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and too much sun exposure can affect the length of time the treatment lasts.
It is a much cheaper and less invasive alternative to surgery with high levels of patient satisfaction and has particularly impressive results for eyelid correction.
For scaring and acne it could really make a difference to your quality of life.