What is Tixel®
Tixel® is a relatively new device which is used for skin rejuvenation. Launched in 2017 by the German company Novoxel GmbH it is based on Thermo-Mechanical Ablation (TMA) technology. This means it uses heat to create collagen production to enhance the appearance of the skin – reducing fine lines as well as deep wrinkles. It can also help reduce pigment spots and even the tone of the skin.
It is suitable for use on the face, neck, decolletage, hand and around the eyes and, unlike laser or needling treatments, it can be used on the eyelid and tear trough for a non-surgical eye lift.
It has both ablative (removing the top layer of the skin) and non-ablative modes. It can be used to resurface the skin, reducing scarring (especially acne scarring) and for the same cosmetic reasons as laser treatments such as CO2 or non-ablative erbium lasers.
In addition it can create ‘open channels’ without the use of needles that are useful in delivering transdermal treatments for conditions such as melasma and other hyperpigmentation issues as well as skin rejuvenation.
How does it work?
Tixel® uses a titanium heated tip that contains 81 needle-like tiny pyramids which heat up to 400 degrees Celsius – similar to the heat of a laser treatment. It has a piston like movement and is moved across the area being treated in grid sections. It presses on the skin for milliseconds but does not penetrate it. When it briefly touches it its thermal energy is transferred to the upper layers creating tiny holes or pores. It is this micro damage that stimulates new collagen production.
In its ablative mode Tixel® creates deep or shallow micro-channels of ‘controlled damage’ to the skin which stimulates a healing process that boosts collagen production and aids in rejuvenation. Its non-ablative mode, which heats within the upper dermis of the skin whilst protecting the outer layer, creates permeable ‘open’ channels which can be used to assist in the transfer of topical serums and agents into the skin.
The heated Tixel® pyramid head evaporates the water and excess tissue from the top layers of skin instantly, so there is an immediate skin tightening result as well as the longer term collagen production.
The amount of energy transferred can be controlled by the practitioner and is determined by the tip’s skin exposure time and it’s thermal conductivity. By varying these different clinical effects can be achieved.
How long does it take?
Each treatment for a face, for example will take around 15-20 minutes. Most people need to have the treatment repeated 4-6 times depending on the skin’s condition or reason for treatment.
What is the treatment like?
Most people find the treatment tolerable. In some areas an anaesthetic cream may be applied to reduce any associated pain especially around sensitive areas like the mouth or eyes. People who have had it describe it as warm but not painful. It is much less painful that CO2 laser treatments.
What is the recovery time?
After the treatment the skin may be red for 2-3 days and there may be mild crusting which will disappear over the next few days. There may be swelling after treatments around the eye area which will go down over a day or so.
It is recommended to only use a simple moisturiser for hydration in the days after the treatment. (No retinol or antioxidants such as vitamin C serums). Make up can be used after 2-3 days.
According to the manufacturer, it delivers all the results of CO2 laser but without the pain and a much faster recovery time. It has an excellent safety profile and there is no risk from burns or charring of tissue.
Is it suitable for everyone?
This treatment is suitable for most people, even those with darker skin types – however may sure it is a qualified practitioner who is performing the treatment so the settings are correct for your skin type. A patch test should be performed on people with darker skin.
You should not have it however if you have active skin infections, are pregnant or lactating.
If you have cold sores the treatment may cause an outbreak but this should heal as usual.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the treatment will depend on the size of the area being treated and the type of treatment – that is, ablative, non-ablative or open-channel.
You can expect to pay upwards of £700-900 per ablative or non-ablative rejuvenation treatment session for a full face. Open-channel delivery treatments could set you back £300-500 for a full-face treatment including the cost of the ‘bespoke’ topical serums or medications used.
Who should do this procedure?
Only qualified medical practitioners (doctors or nurses) who have been trained in the use of this device should carry out this procedure, or advanced beauty therapists under the supervision of a doctor.
The results – How effective is it?
The manufacturer says patients have seen improvements in their skin after the first session and these continue to over the next few weeks as the collagen production kicks in.
Depending on the area being treated you can expect:
- Improvement in skin texture, wrinkles and fine lines resulting in younger looking skin
- Better definition of eye lids
- Reduced acne and scarring
- Skin tightening.
It is a relatively new technology but has a safer profile that some laser treatments and less down time. Practitioners who have bought the device seem to be pleased with the results they are achieving for their clients.
One small study of 26 patients found that “Skin complexion improvement was achieved in all subjects; average treatment pain of 3.1/10, downtime of 0-1 days, and erythema clearance of 3.5 days. Subject’s satisfaction was 75% and wrinkle attenuation was achieved in 75% of the cases. There was no incidence of bleeding, scarring, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
It concluded “Tixel may be used safely for ablative and non-ablative resurfacing with low pain, low downtime, and quick healing.”