This Plasma Pen Treatment Made My Under-Eye Area Look 10 Years Younger
It’s the newest form of fibroblast therapy that brightens and tightens in one fell swoop.
As a beauty editor who has slathered just about every cream, serum, and essence imaginable onto their face in pursuit of discovering the best of the best, my skin care routine is surprisingly boring these days. After years of trial and error (and a wildly damaged barrier), I know what keeps my skin consistently balanced and quenched — ceramides, peptides, and gentle hydrators. No scrubs or at-home peels for me, folks. When I do want some payoff, I head for in-office treatments like Botox and microneedling.
Now that I’m in my mid-30s, my eye area — one of the first spots to show signs of aging — is beginning to lose its youthful appearance, with heavy lids and discoloration making themselves comfy beyond a late night of scrolling. So when Beverly Hills-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer, M.D. mentioned the newly FDA-approved Louise Walsh plasma pen as a non-surgical eye lift option, my curiosity was piqued.
Dubbed by Emer as the “Ferrari of plasma pens,” this sleek new edition of fibroblast therapy aims to brighten and tighten in one fell swoop — without the commitment of going under the knife. Let’s just say I had an appointment faster than an F1 driver.
It’s now been over a month since my treatment, and I’m still wrapping my head around the impressive brightening effects that have appeared thus far — and will continue over the course of the next couple of months. Curious if a plasma pen treatment is right for you? Keep reading for everything you need to know.
What Is A Plasma Pen Treatment?
The Louise Walsh plasma pen is an FDA-approved device that uses plasma energy (which is essentially an electrically-charged gas) to create microtraumas in the cells responsible for kicking collagen production into high gear — aka fibroblast cells. “The skin’s fibroblast cells are triggered to produce collagen, elastin, natural growth factors, and hyaluronic acid as part of the skin's remodeling process,” Emer tells Bustle. The benefits of these plasma treatments have been well-documented in surgery settings to help reduce scarring, with collagen-enhancing effects being reported as far back as 2008 — hence its rising popularity in the pro skin care community.
The technical details sound like something out of a Marvel movie. “A plasma arc is generated by applying a small electrical charge to a needle-like tip. As the tip approaches the skin's surface, it ionizes the air around it, creating a small plasma flash that delivers heat to the targeted area,” explains Emer. The tiny dots formed in the treatment area are carbon crust scabs that will naturally flake off over the course of 10 days in order to reveal freshly-resurfaced, smooth skin. “The procedure is minimally invasive and there is minimal downtime, making it an attractive option for people who want to improve their skin's appearance without undergoing surgery,” Emer adds.
Though plasma pens all look similar — like an electric toothbrush with a pen-like tip — they are not all created equal. Many designs simply use an electric spark to physically burn the skin (ouch) instead of converting that electricity into the plasma energy that travels beneath the skin to trigger the wound-healing response in those helpful fibroblast cells.
And because DIY treatments have been trending on TikTok (please don’t do this at home), this is a PSA that treatments should only be performed by trained professionals after a thorough consultation.
Benefits Of Plasma Pen Treatments
Fibroblast therapy via plasma pens offers up hefty promises of brighter, tighter skin. It’s non-surgical, minimally invasive (with minimal downtime), and used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation on the face and body — with results lasting from several months to a year-plus.
“By promoting the production of collagen and elastin, plasma pen treatments can help to improve skin elasticity, making it appear more youthful and firm,” says Emer. It has become popular among providers as a way to treat fine lines in areas (like on the eyelid itself) that can otherwise be difficult to treat or require more significant downtime.
Possible Side Effects
It’s important to have an honest conversation with your provider on whether you would be a good candidate for this treatment. “Younger individuals may not have enough skin laxity to benefit from the treatment, while older individuals may require more extensive procedures,” says Emer, noting that most patients fall within the 20 to 60-year age range.
Some providers avoid plasma pen treatments altogether due to their lack of inclusivity. Most plasma pens on the market put those with deeper skin tones at higher risk of pigmentation or scarring. However, newer innovations — like the Louise Walsh plasma pen — are changing the game. “Unlike other devices, the Louise Walsh plasma pen can be used with various tips to safely treat all Fitzpatrick skin types,” says Emer. Prior skin care prep and/or spot treatments may be recommended to reduce any hyperpigmentation risks.
What To Expect During A Plasma Pen Treatment
After my initial consultation with Emer to chat through my medical history, goals, and concerns (I had a honeymoon coming up!), we determined that I would be a solid candidate and began the numbing process. It was stressed to me that, even with thorough topical numbing, there would likely be discomfort. I marinated in numbing cream for approximately an hour before it was removed for the plasma treatment.
Emer worked quickly and carefully, creating rows of small dots on my upper and lower lid in specific patterns that would aid in lifting my brow and minimizing crow’s feet. My eyes were closed for the entirety of the treatment, which made for an interesting series of sensations — the buzzing of the plasma flashes, the smell of singed skin, and the instant regret of wearing jelly sandals as my feet began to sweat. Even though the pain was intense, it was never unbearable; I’d compare it to somewhere between having your eyebrows tweezed and a tattoo on a sensitive area. Luckily, the treatment was complete within 30 minutes and I was on my way to aftercare.
Aftercare & Results
Having reached out to a few friends in the aesthetic field beforehand to soothe my nerves about what to expect, I was advised to follow all aftercare to a tee and, honestly, it made a world of difference. Emer immediately began his Emerskin protocol with AnteAGE MD Exosomes — a rapid healing solution derived from genetic material that helps “seal” the skin after treatment. It was followed by the Emer Skin AOX-C Phyto Botanical Serum to soothe redness, an AnteAGE MD Stem Cell & Growth Factor Serum to facilitate healing, and a thin layer of silicone to protect my tender skin. My aftercare for the next nine days (which was conveniently printed out for me) consisted of following this exact regimen in the morning and evening, with a healthy glob of SPF 50 and a hat should I venture outdoors during the day.
The next week was like a masterclass in watching my skin heal itself. I was swollen and red on the second day (cue internal panicking about my honeymoon) and by day three my skin had completely scabbed up. But trust the process. The daily application of AnteAGE MD exosomes, which contain the highest concentration of exosomes available, significantly reduced my healing time. Gradually, my redness subsided and scabs flaked off.
Though results will continue to appear over time, my initial results have been impressive. My heavy, hooded lids feel lighter, under-eye shadows are beginning to fade, and there is an overall brightening effect around the eyes. In fact, I’m already considering this treatment for other areas of my face.
Depending on where you live, your provider, and the area being treated, a plasma pen procedure can run anywhere between $500 and $1,000 — with places like New York City and Los Angeles skewing higher. However, with results lasting longer than Botox and effects that mimic microneedling (and potentially eye lift surgery), it might just be more cost-effective in the long run.
I went into the plasma pen treatment with the usual mid-30s skin woes: an always-tired appearance, eyelids getting heavier with age, and a few extra under-eye creases. Afterwards, I ended up with a rejuvenated and lit-from-within eye area that my faithful eye cream just couldn’t compete with. And though the healing process requires some due diligence, IMO it’s totally worth it.
Bogle, MA. (2007). Plasma skin regeneration technology. J Dermatol. 2007 Nov;6(11):1110-2. PMID: 18038498.
Ghasemi, E. (2023). The quantitative investigation of spark plasma on skin parameters with skin elasticity, thickness, density, and biometric characteristics. Sci Rep. 2023 May 12;13(1):7738. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-34425-z. PMID: 37173354; PMCID: PMC10181997.
Patel, S. (2019). Plasma fibroblast skin tightening treatment resulting in bilateral chemical eye injury secondary to EMLA cream: A case report. BMC Ophthalmology, 20. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12886-020-01613-8
Ruff, P.G. (2021). Thermal effects of percutaneous application of plasma/radiofrequency energy on porcine dermis and fibroseptal network. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13845