Plasma treatments in the skin care clinic, a personal opinion from a therapist’s perspective

Plasma technology driven by high frequency current is not an entirely new concept in the beauty salon, although it is presented slightly differently with the latest devices.

Remember the good old high frequency devices used “directly” during “sparking” of pimples and “indirectly” during massage to stimulate biological processes? The focus was on the production of “ozone” during the direct method to sterilize skin and to increase cell metabolism during the indirect method. Ozone is nothing but one of the components of plasma. The latest plasma devices produce a much higher intensity arc which has the ability to sublimate tissue. This means anything unwanted on the skin surface can literally go up in smoke (or gas) in front of your eyes. This is great for instant removal of any unwanted benign lesions such as milia, sun spots, skin tags and unpigmented moles. In my opinion, this is the most satisfactory use of plasma for the skin care clinic. It produces less heat than cautery devices (which is also generally overpriced) therefore it is safer for work close to and on the skin surface as well. Is it risk free? No.

With proper training and safe protocols it can be one of the safest and most cost effective lesion removal treatments in the salon. Every salon can benefit from a plasma device for this purpose, and they come affordable enough to obtain one for this purpose alone.

How about wrinkle reduction? This is a treatment worth looking into. It can produce significant tightening and wrinkle reduction; however downtime may be undesirable for some clients. This requires more skill, and strict compliance to protocols to avoid problems associated with heat treatments.

Scars also seem to respond favorably to plasma treatment. Especially when combined with needling. Scar improvement is a treatment territory very close to my heart and one I am looking forward to exploring even further. However, once again therapists need to know the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly. It is possible to contribute to the problem of hypertrophy if you add heat and collagen stimulating treatments to an active or inflamed scar. As always, understand your limitations and know when to refer.

And what about non-surgical blephs? This is debatable, but for me personally an area out of my professional comfort zone. To be able to produce a significant eye lift you need to remove substantial amounts of healthy loose skin. This is painful (do not believe anything else) and downtime is considered bad by most clients. The client may also require more than 3 treatments. Results are also often not in line with expectations, depending on the level of skin laxity. So in this instance, I personally feel that a visit to your plastic surgeon may be more appropriate, producing a more predictable result over a much shorter period. So no plasma blephs for me.

And capillary and vein work? Can it be used in a similar way than cautery devices to remove spider veins? Simple answer is no. Even if it is advertised for this purpose. It does not penetrate deep enough and it does not produce sufficient heat to cauterise blood capillaries effectively most of the time.

What about the risks? Do not let any distributor tell you it is impossible to cause hyper or hypo pigmentation or even ulceration. If you sublimate too long, too deep or too frequently this is a reality. Skin care therapists cannot dish out a quick fix hydroquinone script; therefore ensure that your protocols are safe. Personally I do not repeat a plasma treatment within less than 3 months of one another. Rather follow up with a micro needling treatment. So far, I have had no complications and achieved sustainable results by following a more conservative approach with suitable after care.

So there you have it, plasma treatments can be very useful in the skin care clinic and it is easy to incorporate with other protocols, especially lesion removal and wrinkle reduction. The qualified skin care therapist also understands skin healing, inflammatory processes and risks well enough to perform these treatments safely. We have been doing them all along, maybe in slightly different formats.

Many new plasma devices are filtering into the market and some work better than others. I have tried a few of the non-medical salon devices and are very happy with my CE approved South Korean model with German design which did not break the bank and does its thing perfectly each time for the past 2 years already.

Qualified professionals are welcome to enquire.

Yours in creating beautiful skin