This therapy is fairly new to the facial and cosmetic treatment scene.
Keep reading to find out how it works and how much the procedure will set you back.
Fibroblasts play an important role in helping skin wounds heal as well as maintaining skin firmness and tightness.
Plasma fibroblast therapy uses a pen-like device that discharges a high-frequency electric current to small areas of the skin.
The plasma tip doesn’t directly touch the skin, but instead releases a targeted current just above the skin. The hot current creates small holes, or micro-injuries, in the skin’s layer.
According to an 2019 article published in the PMFA journal, the thermal disruption, or heat damage, from plasma fibroblast therapy:
- breaks down proteins in the skin
- encourages tissue regeneration
- stimulates fibroblast activity
- causes tissue contraction (tightening)
Healthcare providers may also call this approach plasma skin resurfacing.
Plasma fibroblast therapy is a nonsurgical treatment that may be used to treat the following conditions:
- acne scars
- photo aging, including age spots
- seborrheic keratosis
- wrinkled skin, including the eyelids, neck, jawline, and above the lips
Cosmetic specialists may also use plasma fibroblast therapy as an alternative to lip fillers to make the lips look fuller.
Does it work?
When plasma fibroblast therapy is performed in a safe, controlled environment, it can:
- improve skin texture
- offer mild-to-moderate skin tightening effects
- result in some degree of skin facial contour change
According to a 2014 article published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, the effects are expected to stimulate fibroblast production for up to 1 year after treatment.
However, there aren’t a lot of studies on plasma fibroblast therapy as it’s a relatively new aesthetic procedure.
One small 2007 study used plasma fibroblast therapies on eight participants.
Each participant received one full-face treatment every 3 weeks. At the study’s conclusion, patients reported a 37 percent reduction in facial wrinkling and a 68 percent overall improvement in facial appearance.
While the procedure may vary slightly based on where you’re having the treatment, the basic steps typically include:
- Cleansing the skin and applying a topical anesthetic (numbing) cream. You may need to wait about 30 minutes for the numbing cream to take effect.
- Treating the designated skin area with the plasma pen. The pen will create small arcs of microcurrents that make small scab-like dots on the skin.
- A professional will remove the numbing cream and apply a cooling gel to minimize the tingling and burning sensation whenever possible.
The procedure usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes to perform.
Once the procedure is completed, you can expect the small dots to scab over and fall off after about 1 week. Over the next couple of weeks, as your skin heals, it should appear tighter and firmer.
Some people may see benefits from one treatment, while others may require three treatments before they see results.
The best candidates for this procedure are people with mild-to-moderate skin wrinkling concerns.
You shouldn’t receive plasma fibroblast therapy if you:
- are breastfeeding
- are pregnant
- have an allergy to topical anesthetic preparations
- have an infection at the treatment site
- are using isotretinoin for wrinkles or acne
In addition, if you have a history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring, it’s recommended that you approach plasma fibroblast therapy with caution.
It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider prior to the procedure to discuss your treatment goals and any potential concerns you may have given your overall health condition.
It’s very important that the healthcare provider performing the procedure establish realistic goals with you. While plasma fibroblast therapy can offer results, they aren’t likely to be as dramatic as a surgical procedure.
In addition, the procedure isn’t without side effects. Examples of side effects include:
- mild hypopigmentation (light spots)
- mild hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
- skin peeling and crusting
It’s worth noting that plasma fibroblast therapy isn’t legal in all parts of the world.
For example, Canada doesn’t currently authorize the use of plasma pens for cosmetic purposes.
Health Canada believes that plasma fibroblast therapy may pose health risks as the devices (and some of the aestheticians who use them) haven’t been evaluated for safety, effectiveness, or quality.
Don’t try this at home
Just because something is sold online doesn’t mean it’s safe. Some websites may sell pens that claim you can perform plasma fibroblast therapy at home.
This is never a good idea. There are no controls on how these pens are made, and they have the potential to cause significant harm, such as facial burns.
Plasma fibroblast therapy costs usually depend on who’s performing the procedure and what areas of your skin are being targeted.
For example, RAIN Spa in Rhinebeck, New York, reports plasma fibroblast therapy costs $600 to treat the undereye region, or $720 to treat the upper or lower lip.
The Celebrity Skincare spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, charges $500 to treat forehead lines and $400 to treat crow’s feet.
If you’re interested in the treatment, you should ask your healthcare provider how many treatments you may need to see results as well as if the fee includes all costs, including those for numbing creams.
Currently, there’s no association of plasma fibroblast therapy providers that has a central location to search. However, you can search for a reputable healthcare provider on the following websites:
- The Aesthetic Society
- American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
- American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons
If you contact these healthcare providers, you can ask if they provide plasma fibroblast therapy.
Be sure to ask the providers you’re considering about:
- the number of treatments they’ve performed
- how they minimize side effects
- how they sterilize their equipment
Plasma fibroblast therapy is a newer technique and therefore doesn’t currently have much evidence on its effectiveness.
However, it’s a technique that can tighten the skin without the need for invasive cosmetic procedures. Most people will require about 1 week of downtime and see results over the course of several weeks.
If you’re interested in plasma fibroblast therapy, talk to a healthcare provider about what to expect and whether the procedure is right for you.
Last medically reviewed on January 17, 2020