Non-Surgical Option: Facial Skin Tightening with Forma


The Forma hand piece delivers bipolar energy to the skin.

Forma is a device that has been a workhorse at the Whole Beauty® Institute.  It is our favorite technology for skin tightening in a totally non-invasive way.  Like FaceTite™, Forma is a bipolar radio-frequency device, but the energy is delivered entirely from the outside of the skin.  It uses radio-frequency energy to heat the deeper layer of the skin and initiate tightening and new collagen formation.  It is not as powerful as FaceTite and certainly not as powerful as a surgical face lift, but it is an easy treatment from the patient’s perspective with virtually no down time.

Best Candidates

Forma patient before and after

Forma patient before and after

The ideal candidates for Forma include patients with early looseness of the jaw border and neck who are not yet ready for more advanced procedures.  There are also patients with a greater degree of looseness who do not want either a surgical lift or FaceTite.  Several treatments with Forma will help these patients, but there is a definite limit to what can be accomplished.  Patients with severe looseness of the facial structures will likely be disappointed by the results of treatment with Forma or any of the other methods of non-surgical facial rejuvenation available at this time.

Forma is great for patients who are just beginning to notice a change in skin tone.  We can design a custom program that maintains your youthful skin with a combination of Forma, Fractora, IPL, and medical-grade products.  Although we cannot prevent the effects of the aging process entirely, we can slow them down in a significant way.

Forma is also a wonderful way to maintain the results from a surgical face lift or FaceTite.

What to Expect

Forma is by far the easiest treatment for facial tightening, from the patient’s perspective.  When you arrive for your appointment, we will apply a topical anesthetic cream to the skin that will be treated.  After appropriate time, one of our highly-experienced aestheticians will deliver the Forma energy to your face.  Most treatments last less than 30 minutes.  At the end of your treatment, the area will look flushed and feel warm, but this dissipates quickly.  In general, with Forma there is little or no disruption of your work and social schedule.

The Whole Beauty® Institute was one of the first centers in the Midwest to work extensively with Forma.  It is important to remember that a treatment with Forma, just like treatment with Botox or Voluma, is only as good as the person who delivers the treatment.  Our extensive experience with Forma works to our patients’ benefit.

Forma works best with a series of treatments, separated by several weeks.  Once the treatment series is completed, patients return every 3 to 6 months for single maintenance treatments

We often combine Forma with other energy-based treatments, such as Fractora, which primarily addresses surface texture of the skin, and IPL, which evens out skin color by reducing brown and red spots on the skin.

Recovery Time

Here is the great news!  A treatment that only involves Forma has little or no down time.  Your face will be flushed and will feel warm, but this typically disappears after a short time. If Forma is combined with Fractora, the recovery time will be a little longer.

Non-Surgical Option: Fractora Facial Resurfacing

The Fractora hand piece

The Fractora hand piece delivers bipolar radio-frequency with greater intensity.

Fractora is a companion technology to Forma. We have extensive experience with Fractora and have found it to be incredibly useful for our patients.  The main purpose of Fractora is to improve the tone of the skin and to diminish fine lines, but it also provides some skin tightening.  At the Whole Beauty® Institute we often combine Fractora and Forma into a series of treatments to maximize improvement in skin quality and tone

Fractora works by delivering energy to different levels of the skin through tiny pins of varying length.  This energy stimulates the healing process, which in turn makes the skin fuller and more youthful.  As the deeper layer of the skin is restored to a youthful structure, fine lines on the skin’s surface become less noticeable.

Fractora is also very useful to enhance treatments with medically active compounds that aid in skin rejuvenation.  The skin provides a formidable barrier to treatments that are delivered at its surface.  Since Fractora works by making perforations in the skin there is a period of time where active compounds can be applied to the skin surface and massaged into the deeper layers.  Our team can provide you with several possibilities of enhanced skin therapy.

Best Candidates

Fractora patient before and after

Fractora patient before and after

We make use of Fractora in a wide variety of patients. Patients who would like to reduce the appearance of fine lines on the skin’s surface are the best candidates for Fractora.  By itself, Fractora will also provide some skin tightening, but we often combine Fractora with Forma to maximize the amount of tightening.

What to Expect

Fractora can be delivered at a wide range of energy settings, so recovery depends on the power of the treatment.

At lower energy settings, Fractora is delivered by our skilled aesthetics team.  You will arrive for your treatment, and we will apply a topical numbing cream to the skin’s surface.  Once this has taken effect you will undergo treatment.  You will experience a sense of pressure as the tiny needles are pressed into the skin and energy is delivered.  The device will be moved across the area to be treated and pressed into the skin, so that the entire area receives the benefit of the energy.  Treatment takes from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the amount of skin that is to be treated.

Most patients treated with lower energy Fractora will undergo several treatments separated by several weeks.  They often come in for refresher treatments every 6 months to one year.  Depending on your goals, Fractora and Forma are often combined in order to optimize tightening and surface rejuvenation.

Dr. John Q. Cook with a patientAt higher energy settings Fractora can deliver even more powerful results.  These treatments are delivered by Dr. Cook or one of our high-level clinicians.  With greater power comes greater potential for discomfort.  For this reason we often add additional measures to help minimize discomfort during treatment.  These may include oral sedation, local nerve blocks. and a technique known as “mesocaine.”  With these measures, higher energy Fractora treatments can be well-tolerated.

Although more aggressive forms of skin resurfacing than Fractora are available, there are distinct trade-offs.  These include prolonged healing time and loss of pigmentation in the treated area.  For this reason, Fractora is the leading energy-based treatment in our practice for the reduction of fine lines.

Recovery Time

The recovery from Fractora is much easier than what is experienced after more aggressive forms of skin resurfacing.

With lower energy treatments you will apply a protective ointment for 24 to 36 hours.  The skin will be red for several days, but after the initial period of recovery, you can apply mineral-based makeup.

With higher energy treatments, there will be a longer period where you will have to apply ointment and a longer period of redness.

With both forms of Fractora it is important to protect your skin from the sun after treatment.

Return to Dr. Cook’s blog next week for Part III of his Skin Tightening Series, The Inside Scoop on Skin Tightening – Chemical Peels and Medical-Grade Products

Contact the Whole Beauty® Institute

Learn more about the benefits of skin tightening with Forma and Fractora. Contact the Whole Beauty® Institute in Chicago and Winnetka, or call 312-751-2112.