Having used this option for a few years, we are no longer employing it. The manufacturing company went out of business. When another elected to take up supply of the consumables, we had come to the realisation there are other options out there which give a similar and probably better result. We will therefore be unlikely to continue using the Portrait Plasma PSR3 as an option at Springdale Clinic.
Developed only recently in the UK, this machine is quite unique. Using a radiofrequency energised field near the delivery tip of the hand-piece, compressed medical grade Nitrogen gas (derived from the air) is converted into plasma and applied to the treatment field. Plasma is basically atoms stripped of their electrons, usually quite warm in the process. 99% of the matter in the universe is in the plasma state, referred to as the “fourth state” the other states being solid, liquid and gas. Plasma has some unique properties. Usually there is visible light associated with its generation.
By aiming this pulsed plasma delivery at the skin heat is transferred, felt to be responsible for most of the changes seen following treatment. As with laser treatments, though, there may be some light associated effects produced as well. The result of the treatment is a searing effect of the skin which appears initially white as if it has been dehydrated, then briefly pink with underlying surface changes, turning to darker skin that will shed usually over three or four days, revealing pink, initially quite fragile, skin underneath. This usually appears near normal in colour over a week from the treatment. At times, with higher energy on more delicate skins, there can be some persistence of the pink colour for a week or so longer. The new skin will be fresher, less lined and more evenly coloured. Over a year from the treatment session more improvement in skin lines will appear as well as some improved skin tightness (or reduced laxity).
What skin colours can be treated?
At the current state of knowledge, paler European skins are quite safe to treat. With a few lighter sessions east Asian skins can be treated as well. There is further development ongoing that may allow for darker skin coloured people to get similar results.
What is the downtime?
In the early few days Vaseline is regularly applied to prevent the skin drying too much and prematurely shedding. With lighter treatments, the shedding is much less and Vaseline might be required in the first day only. As the delicate pink skin emerges a regular moisturiser is applied. Once all the skin has peeled and appears quite stable a good quality makeup can be applied.
What areas can be treated?
The face is the commonest area treated. But the neck area, with a lighter treatment, can be done. Also areas like the backs of the hands can be improved safely with this method.
Why use different strengths of treatment?
Skin colour and time that can be spent off work determines the best approach. More olive skin and east Asian skin at present is best treated with a series (normally about three) of lighter sessions. If less down-time is required then lighter sessions are also helpful. Peeling is light and brief and the newer skin is less pink and fragile. The downside of this is the final result may not be as effective is appearance as a single strong one.
How is it done?
A good topical anaesthetic is usually applied for some time before the treatment. The numbing of this can be augmented with injected anaesthetic for more sensitive regions. Then usually a single pass of the area is done, covering the skin evenly with either single pulsed or rapidly repeated shots. There is a snapping sound produced by each pulse. Areas that are deeply lined can be pulsed more than once to achieve a greater result there.
How uncomfortable is it?
The more aggressive treatments can be felt mildly through the anaesthetic cream. For about 90 minutes after the session the skin will feel somewhat stingy. But following this there is usually no significant discomfort. Swelling does occur in the treated area. This is most noticeable about the eyes. Some head elevation at nights reduces somewhat.
Are there risks?
The hot gas can singe surrounding hair and will singe hair in the area the pulses are applied. Eyelashes, eyebrows, hairline areas are normally protected by moistened gauzes. Depth of effect is controlled by the energy applied each pulse.
Thinner areas of skin require lighter energy. Repeated pulses effectively give a deeper result. But there is a limit to the cumulative pulse effect. Generally there has not been a problem with later scarring.
There may be some exudative weeping after some treatments with more delicate skin. Some prolonged pinkness can also occur in these situations. Normal skin pigment is usually retained, But care needs to be taken or subsequent and prior sun-exposure.