What is Tixel?
Tixel is a totally new way of treating the skin using thermo-mechanical ablative (TMA) technology. In simple terms, it employs the direct use of heat to produce the desirable effects of anti-ageing and scar improvement.
Unlike other therapies which are currently available, Tixel is not laser, ultrasound or radiofrequency.
Our consultants are very experienced in and have been providing CO2 laser, microneedle radiofrequency and microneedling for over 15 years. The superior results, less pain and quicker recover means that they frequently prefer Tixel treatment for their patients.
Tixel is an advanced skin treatment that is used for three main purposes:
- Skin tightening. To tighten the skin (dermis) in order to improve lines, wrinkles, sagging and dilated pores as well as acne scars.
- Skin resurfacing. To regenerate the skin (epidermis) in order to even the skin tone, reduce pigmentation and other blemishes and produce a glow. Active acne responds very well to Tixel as well.
- Drug delivery. Tixel is used to create tiny pores in the skin to allow the penetration of medications through the skin. Medications may include those that reduce pigmentation, increase collagen production and relax muscles.
How does Tixel work?
The skin is gently heated using a grid of tiny pyramids the size of pinheads. 81 of these make contact with the skin for only a few thousandths of a second with each shot of treatment.
This allows heat to be transferred to the skin in a controlled manner causing the skin to tighten and rejuvenate. As the contact made with the skin is so short-lived, the level of discomfort is significantly lower than it is for other resurfacing and tightening treatments.
The tiny little microcrusts can be seen in a grid pattern as shown in the picture below. When compared to fractional CO2 laser, there is much less charring and redness which means that make-up or a tinted moisturiser can be applied early on.
In biological terms the epidermis is vaporised at the sites where the skin makes contact with the Tixel pyramids. Vaporisation leads to removal of tiny portions of the epidermis. This stimulates new epidermis to form. This is fresher, has less pigmentation and sun damage, and gives the skin an even glow with a smooth feel.
There are effects on the dermis, which is lower down in the skin, as well. The heat that reaches the dermis and causes the tiny zones to coagulate. This in turn causes fibroblasts to start producing collagen which takes a period of three months or more to develop fully. The collagen boost in the dermis improves lines and wrinkles, tightens loose skin and sagging, and reduces the appearance of acne scars.
Why healing is superior with Tixel
Healing is faster from Tixel compared to other technologies such as fractional CO2 laser because of two reasons.
The first is that there is much less charring (“carbonisation”). This means the body does not need to take time to clear away charred tissue.
The second is because of the shape of the Tixel probes. These are pyramidal and they leave a triangular or V shaped effect. Laser is a solid beam, and leave a U shaped effect. The time it takes for the body to recover, i.e. ‘to fill in’ the V is much shorter than it is ‘to fill in the U’. This is explained in the diagram below.
Ablative vs. non-ablative Tixel
Both ablative and non-ablative treatments can be given.
Ablative Tixel treatment is designed at refreshing the epidermis and tightening the dermis. The treatment is more intense and the recovery period slightly longer. Non-ablative Tixel treatment is less intense and has a very fast recovery. There is less redness and fewer microcrusts form. As non-ablative treatments are gentler, they are suitable for those with less available time for recovery. More treatments are required to get similar effects to ablative treatment.
Tixel treatment can be to any areas in which there are concerns. The most commonly treated sites are:
All three zones can be treated together, or any one area can be treated according to your individual needs.
Other areas which can be treated are:
- Décolleté (the upper chest)
- Backs of the hands
Your Dermatologist will discuss the number of treatments your skin requires with you at your consultation. Usually three to five treatments are required. Treatments are usually 6 to 8 weeks apart.
Treatment takes between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the size of the area which is treated.
An anaesthetic cream is applied to the face for twenty minutes. This minimises any discomfort. Once the skin is adequately numbed, treatment can take place.
Several shots, each lasting a fraction of a second, are placed in a row so as to cover evenly the whole area being treated. A tiny sting, if anything, may be felt with each shot.
Much depends on the strenght of treatment that is required.There is some redness immediately and a feeling of warmth or a mild sunburn. This continues for half an hour for a light treatment or for up to 12 to 24 hours following a stronger treatment
As the redness subsides, the tiny grid marks (known as microcrusts) of the fractional treatment are see. They are typically a brown colour. These are present for 3 to 5 days.
Looking after your skin following a treatment is very simple. A moisturiser should be applied every three to four hours for the first couple of days and then twice a day until all the microcrusts have healed. Make up can be applied on the same day for a light treatment or two or three days later after an intensive treatment. It is important not to pick at the microcrusts – these should be allowed to separate by themselves
One of the main attractions for Tixel treatment is that it has far less downtime than other resurfacing technologies. The amount of downtime incurred depends on the strength of treatment. If a light Tixel treatment is required then it is possible to apply make up within a couple of hours and return to work. If a more intensive treatment is required then the face may be red for a couple of days, and grids of tiny microcrusts may form. It is usually possible to wear make up after the second day.
Tixel treatment is safe on all skin types, including those with pigmentation. A test patch is carrie out on those with darker skin types.
How effective is Tixel?
The results from Tixel are excellent in the right individuals, and comparable or superior to those from other resurfacing techniques such as fractional CO2 laser (such as Fraxel). The distinct benefit is that the treatment is much less painful and the recovery period is much shorter.
A detailed scientific study demonstrated that Tixel provides excellent results with low pain, low downtime and quick healing. This can be reviewed here.
Tixel case study
Read a case study by Dr Judodihardjo on the use of Tixel for the treatment of photodamage and facial wrinkles here.
Our dermatologists first to use Tixel in the UK
Our team is the most experienced in the UK at providing Tixel treatment. They are the first to use Tixel in the UK and have been providing this treatment for several months from clinics in London, Birmingham and Cardiff. Their experience has enabled them to develop new protocols to optimise treatment outcomes. Find out more about Dr Judodihardjo’s involvement in the launch of tixel in the UK here.
Tixel at Belgravia Dermatology
Detailed consultation and aesthetic facial analysis by a Dermatologist to design an individualised treatment plan
Tixel treatment to tighten and resurface the skin
Treatment from the most experienced doctors to provide Tixel in London and in the UK
What should I do next?
If you would like to discuss Tixel treatment then please arrange to see one of our Dermatologists who will be happy to help.
“Treatment with Tixel provides excellent results at refreshing and tightening the skin.”
Before and Afters