Fashion & Beauty

Plasma Pens [Are They Really Worth It?]

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We all want healthy, youthful skin that’s smooth, firm, tight, free of wrinkles, and glowing. And there are thousands upon thousands of cosmetics, skincare products, and beauty brands that promise to deliver just that.

And if you’ve ever walked into an aesthetician’s office or a day spa, you know that there are seemingly endless menus of beauty procedures and treatments that claim to provide even more benefits for the skin.

One of those is the plasma pen.

Like all beauty products and treatments, some people swear by them, while others don’t think that the benefits outweigh the risks (or the cost).

Today we’re talking about this new beauty treatment known as the plasma pen, and we’re answering the question that so many of you want to know—plasma pens: are they really worth it?

What Are Plasma Pens?

Man getting a plasma pen procedure on his cheek

A plasma pen is a rejuvenation device used for skin tightening, skin lifting, skin brightening, and improving the overall skin texture. Referred to as plasma pen treatment, fibroblast treatment and fibroblasting treatment, the “pen” is the device itself that aestheticians use to perform this unique treatment on the skin.

The plasma pen is completely non-invasive, which makes it quite appealing to people who want dramatic results but aren’t ready or willing to undergo plastic surgery. It is FDA approved and deemed safe when used by a licensed, certified and trained professional.

So what exactly can a plasma pen do?

Plasma pens target fibroblasts in the skin; fibroblasts are a specific type of cell found in our skin’s connective tissue that secretes collagen.

As we age, we produce less collagen, and our skin has less elasticity – this causes the skin to sag and wrinkle. With fibroblast therapy, you can increase the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, making the skin look firmer, tighter and more youthful. 

Related: Cryotherapy Ice Roller Review [And Other Top StackedSkincare Products]

How Does a Plasma Pen Work?

Curious about how the plasma pen actually works?

Here’s a mini science lesson for you.  

The plasma pen converts electrical energy into electrostatic energy then transmits that energy when pulsed above the epidermal layer of the skin. Above the skin’s surface, the plasma pen converts energy into a gas stream that causes your skin to contract. It produces a hot gas current, and that plasma gas encourages your skin cells to boost collagen production.

Aestheticians begin the process by placing a series of mini dots on the area targeted for treatment. The fine tip of a plasma pen then emits pulses of energy into each individual dot, firming the skin in a way that an entire area of the face or body can boost enough collagen to look firm and tight.

People love the plasma pen for the fact that it doesn’t require any injectable anesthetics, leave any open wounds or involve the use of any scalpels or invasive tools. Those little dots created at the beginning of the process become tiny protective scabs so that the skin can heal after the plasma pen is applied. Those scabs usually fall off about one week after treatment.

The plasma pen is considered safe for most skin types and skin tones, though people with hyperpigmentation, keloid scarring, vitiligo and other conditions aren’t great candidates for this type of treatment. 

Prior to treatment, your aesthetician will apply a numbing cream to the treatment area so the pain factor is minimal. Depending on the area you’re treating, a session can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as one hour.

Just don’t expect to see results immediately.

Most people start to see results in about one week, though it can take up to twelve weeks for the skin to completely heal from treatment.

The Benefits of Plasma Pens

Woman smiling while dermatologist or other medical professional rubs her face

There’s no question that the plasma pen offers a variety of benefits. Because of its ability to stimulate collagen production and repair the skin, it can fix all sorts of skin issues. Plus, it can be used on any area of the body – even the upper and lower eyelids.

Plasma pens can:

  • Reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, smile lines and marionette lines
  • Improve the shape of the jawline and minimize sagging jowls
  • Tighten loose skin
  • Reduce the appearance of stretch marks and acne scars
  • Treat moles, freckles, and skin tags

Another benefit of plasma pens is that there’s far less downtime than there is with a plastic surgery procedure. Because it’s non-invasive, you don’t have to worry about bleeding, stitches or bruising. Most people can resume normal daily activities immediately following treatment.

Plasma pens also require minimal aftercare. Just be careful not to pick or scratch or scrub at the scabs – you have to let them fall off naturally. It’s important to be gentle with the treated area, and you must apply sunscreen to the treated area anytime you go outdoors.

Related: Why Powder Sunscreen Needs To Be On Your Packing List

The Downside of Plasma Pens

Like all cosmetic procedures and treatments, plasma pens can cause side effects.

Plasma technology can cause redness and swelling in the treated area. For some people, redness can last up to 14 days.

This treatment can also cause the skin to peel or create areas of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation.

In addition to the side effects, plasma pen treatment is also quite expensive.

Med spas around the country charge different fees for different treatment areas, but it’s common for the treatment of a single, small area of the face, such as the upper lip or forehead lines, to start at around $400 per session and soar upwards to $3000 for larger areas. And, depending on your skin type, multiple treatments may be necessary in order to see the best results.  

While some people see results almost immediately, most people see results within four to eight weeks. However, the total healing process can take up to twelve weeks. If you’re planning to go on vacation, interview for your dream job or attend a big event, plan your treatment sessions far enough in advance to account for complete healing!

Can You Use Plasma Pens at Home?

Woman touching her cheek and smiling in the mirror

Would you inject yourself with Botox or give yourself lip injection fillers at home? We certainly hope not!

And you shouldn’t use a plasma pen at home either.

Plasma pens for at-home use are available online, but we don’t recommend them. Let’s not forget that plasma pens pulse energy (aka heat) into the skin, causing mini scabs and burns on the skin. This is not a procedure you want to do on your own.

Yes, plasma pens are FDA approved, but the procedure is only safe when performed by a trained professional.

Plasma pens for use at home can cost as much as $750, and we can think of about a hundred things we’d rather shell out $750 dollars for … a cool new accent chair from West Elm, a brand new Louis Vuitton wallet, a fresh new pair of Thom Browne sweatpants … we could go on and on.

If you’re considering plastic surgery, a plasma pen can be a good alternative (and cost you thousands less). But spending hundreds of dollars on an at-home plasma pen that can do you more harm than good?

It’s not worth the risk.

Do Plasma Pens Really Work?

Some people see fantastic results with plasma pen treatments. Before undergoing any sort of fibroblast treatment, do your due diligence and consult with your physician and dermatologist.

Cosmetic procedures like plasma pens promise incredible results, minimal discomfort and long-lasting effects. Just be sure you consider the side effects, the expense and the downsides before seeking treatment.

When in doubt, consult with your derm. Chances are that they’ll recommend an effective skincare routine before they suggest you undergo a new cosmetic procedure that isn’t yet proven to be as effective as it claims.  

You might also be interested in: Why is Retinol Serum So Popular?

Jessica Heston

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