Plasma fibroblast therapy refers to an aesthetic procedure that may help tighten and improve the appearance of the skin. Some healthcare professionals may offer this treatment as an alternative to laser, injection, or surgical therapies.

Plasma fibroblast treatment is a nonsurgical skin-tightening procedure that uses a high energy discharge to make a small wound in the skin. This can encourage cells known as fibroblasts to repair the skin and maintain firmness.

Nonsurgical skin tightening is a relatively common procedure. This less invasive treatment has a shorter recovery period than surgical options, but its results are not as dramatic and do not last as long.

Plasma fibroblast therapy is a newer technique, and therefore, there is currently little evidence to support its effectiveness.

In this article, we discuss what plasma fibroblast therapy is, as well as whether it’s effective and safe.

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Plasma fibroblast therapy is a cosmetic treatment that may help tighten the skin. Its other names are:

  • plasma skin resurfacing
  • plasma skin regeneration
  • plasma needling
  • plasma lift

This treatment aims to improve the skin’s appearance by using plasma, which is a hot, gas-like substance, to stimulate the fibroblast cells in the deeper layer of the skin to repair the outer skin layers. Some institutions describe plasma as the fourth state of matter, along with solid, liquid, and gas.

A fibroblast is a type of skin cell that secretes collagen proteins in the dermis, the layer of the skin just below the outermost skin layer. These cells play an important role in wound healing and maintaining skin firmness and tightness.

A trained professional uses a pen-like device that discharges plasma for the treatment. By applying energy to a gas, it creates a cloud of charged ions that is extremely hot and emits electromagnetic radiation.

Using the device, a person can release a targeted, hot electric current to the skin to create a small hole, or microinjury, in the skin. In response to the microinjury, fibroblasts activate and attempt to repair and regenerate the skin.

According to a 2022 article, the process of plasma fibroblast therapy allows the outer layer of the skin to act as a natural dressing, avoids damaging deeper skin layers, and promotes a more rapid recovery.

The article also lists the following as advantages of the technique:

The author adds that people may consider the treatment a well-tolerated, effective, and low cost procedure.

Additionally, a 2019 article indicates that the heat a plasma pen generates may:

  • stimulate fibroblast activity
  • encourage tissue regeneration
  • break down proteins in the skin
  • result in tissue tightening

A 2020 study concludes that the treatment is safe and effective for individuals with Fitzpatrick skin types 1–3. A 2017 review suggests patch testing for those with Fitzpatrick skin types 4 and above.

Evidence suggests that plasma fibroblast therapy can tighten the skin in a number of areas, including the:

  • face
  • neck
  • arms
  • breasts
  • stomach
  • buttocks
  • thighs
  • knees

The authors of a 2017 article note that plasma application may have many potential uses in dermatology. However, further research is necessary to investigate the safety and effectiveness of this therapy.

Similar to other nonsurgical, energy-based skin-tightening procedures, such as intense pulsed light, a microcurrent facial, and a high intensity focused ultrasound facial, plasma fibroblast therapy must undergo regulation by medical board ruling and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

While initial research may be promising, the FDA warns that this therapy does not yet have clearance or approval for any aesthetic procedure that intends to improve the appearance of the skin.

There are reports of serious and potentially life threatening adverse events, which may include:

  • second and third degree burns
  • infection
  • change in skin color
  • scarring
  • nerve damage
  • significant bleeding
  • air or gas accumulation under the skin, in body cavities, or in blood vessels

A 2020 case report found that, in addition to possible complications from the plasma device, a person may also sustain chemical injury from the use of local anesthetics during the procedure.

This treatment may not be suitable for some people, including:

  • pregnant people
  • people who are breastfeeding
  • individuals using isotretinoin, a medication doctors prescribe to treat severe acne
  • people with a systemic condition, which affects the entire body
  • a person with an infection at the treatment site
  • individuals with open wounds
  • people living with body dysmorphia
  • individuals with immunosuppression
  • people with autoimmune conditions
  • people with a tendency for scarring

A person considering the treatment should consult a healthcare professional for further information.

It is not advisable for a person to perform this treatment at home.

Only a licensed and trained professional should perform this therapy in a suitable and sterile location. Attempting this treatment at home may significantly increase the risk of adverse effects.

This nonsurgical therapy uses a small plasma discharge, or an arc, to create a small wound in the skin. After numbing the area, a trained professional creates a symmetrical grid over the treatment area to encourage fibroblast activity and tighten the skin.

A 2017 study investigated the use of plasma as a nonsurgical option to tighten skin around the eyelid. After cleansing the eyelid, a person applies an anesthetic cream. Following disinfection, an operator uses a plasma-pen device on the target area.

The device allows for accurate administration of plasma arcs, which the operator evenly spaces out on the eyelid. The person then receives instructions for post-treatment care.

After plasma fibroblast therapy, a clinician will provide a person with guidelines for their aftercare.

Usually, the healing period lasts a few days up to 1 week. However, it may take longer for some individuals to recover.

If a person requires multiple treatments, they will need to wait a few weeks between appointments.

Post-treatment care will typically involve gentle cleansing of the treatment area with unscented soaps, disinfectants, and moisturizers. A person will also need to avoid sun exposure, scab picking, and makeup. They may wish to take anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the swelling.

The cost of plasma fibroblast therapy will likely depend on many factors, such as who performs the treatment, as well as the area, including its size, that the therapy is targeting.

The Aesthetic Society notes that skin-tightening procedures may cost around $760. By contrast, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons states the average cost of nonsurgical skin tightening is $2,456.

However, plasma fibroblast therapy is likely to be cheaper, and a single session may cost up to the region of $500.

A person can discuss pricing with the professional delivering treatment, including how many sessions they may require and whether the fee covers all costs, such as those for numbing creams.

Individuals may consider looking on the following websites for a reputable healthcare professional:

Plasma fibroblast therapy is a nonsurgical treatment that may help improve the appearance of the skin. The procedure uses plasma to create small wounds, which encourages fibroblast activity to tighten the skin.

It is a less invasive option than other cosmetic procedures and may allow for quicker healing times and a faster return to usual activities. However, more research is still necessary to investigate this treatment.

Plasma fibroblast therapy is a newer technique, and therefore, there is little information about its safety and effectiveness. At present, the FDA has not cleared the treatment for any aesthetic skin procedures.

A person should consider discussing the treatment with a healthcare professional.