By Kate Dee, MD
I’ve written before about what happens to your skin as you age, loss of collagen and elastin, and the need to replace their annual loss. One of the most powerful devices for building collagen and elastin is Lutronic’s Genius. This treatment combines microneedling and radiofrequency (RF) to trigger a massive remodel of the dermis. The result is tightening and lifting of the skin. Genius is also amazing at fixing acne scarring.
How Does Genius RF work?
Each Genius tip (we always use a new sterile tip for each use) has 49 tiny microneedles. These needles are insulated, so that the RF energy is only released at the tips of the needles. A motorized handpiece is used to deliver the needle tips at precise depths within the dermis. Each insertion causes 49 small balls of coagulation (tissue damage) within the dermis. Each of those areas of coagulation is completely replaced with collagen and elastin over time. Genius is actually one of the few treatments that has been shown to stimulate elastin along with collagen. We make several passes through the dermis to treat it completely. The advantage of the insulated needles is that they do not zap the epidermis. This allows maximal treatment to the dermis with much less downtime that what you see with most lasers. (Lasers create a column of destruction, taking along with it the epidermis. This creates more of a burn, and carries much higher risks of hypo- and hyper-pigmentation.)
How long does it take to see results?
All procedures that trigger collagen stimulation take a long time to show results. Why? Each time you do a treatment, the cells in your dermis that make collagen, the fibroblasts, respond with 4-6 months of collagen building. If you do a series of treatments 1-2 months apart, your maximal result will be 6 months after your last treatment. That could be 8-12 months after you start! I tell people to give me a year. The change is slow but steady. It is hard to tell day-to-day, but over time results can be dramatic.
How long do results last?
Because Genius causes the skin to make its own collagen, results are long-lasting. The collagen you produce is yours to keep! Your body will still break down collagen at 1-2% per year, and of course you will continue to age. You will always need to make up for this loss with some kind of maintenance. Correction of acne scarring is permanent (unless you get new break-outs that scar!)
Does Genius treatment hurt?
At Glow Medispa, we use a very strong topical anesthetic to numb the skin, oral pain medications and a chiller that blows cold air during the procedure. With these preparations 90% of our Genius patients do not feel anything at all. For about 10% even with all that, the procedure is still uncomfortable, but doable. As with any procedure requiring medication, all patients undergoing Genius will need a ride home after the procedure.
What is the downtime from Genius?
After Genius there is an average of 3-5 days of downtime. Immediately after the procedure you will be red and swollen. The swelling lasts 1-2 days. This is somewhat diet dependent. If you go home and eat a salad and some protein, you will not have much swelling. If you eat pizza and beer that night, you’ll probably be a pumpkin the next day. The redness fades over 3-5 days. In general it is the swelling that keeps you home. The redness is easily covered with a high quality powder. We recommend Jane Iredale mineral makeup as it is highly purified and is safe for post-procedure skin. Each procedure gets easier, and downtime tends to decrease with subsequent treatments. Genius may be used to treat any skin; however, recovery takes longer the lower you go on the body.
What are the possible complications from Genius treatment?
Genius RF is safe on any skin type. We have treated skin of all colors and ethnicities. Patients with very sensitive skin can have prolonged recoveries, and we have seen a few people take 2-3 weeks to completely recover, but this is very rare. We have also seen a small number of patients have a transient hyperpigmentation as the skin heals, also very rare. Anyone at risk may be pretreated with topicals to prevent hyperpigmentation.
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for Genius?
If you are interested in tightening and lifting the skin or want to correct acne scarring, you are likely a great candidate for Genius. You have to be willing to do 3-5 days of downtime and follow our aftercare instructions. No matter what modality you choose, you have to be willing to give it a long time to get results-- “Give me a year!” If you are looking or a quick fix, this will not be a good match for you. But if you are in it for the long haul, you’ll find no better option.
You can read more about Genius and view before and after pictures on our website here. We are also happy to talk with you in consultation, which you can schedule online or call us at 206-228-7281.