I Tried the Gnarly-Sounding (and Crazy Effective) Ellacor Skin Tightening Treatment
When you enter your mid-30s, things, well, change. I’m starting to notice hyperpigmentation and melasma, shifting volume, and deeper lines. And even though I consider myself to be mostly at peace with the aging process (and the privilege it brings), feelings of insecurity around preserving youthfulness can still creep up. I am a millennial, after all.
That being said, I’ve also never shied away from trying whatever shiny new skin-tech enters the ring, like microneedling with radiofrequency or a sprinkling of Botox injections and filler. So when board-certified dermatologic surgeon Jason Emer, MD (whom I trust with all things skin), clued me in on Ellacor – a new in-office skin tightening procedure – I was all ears.
Ellacor was pitched to me as a preventative option that could help me reverse the signs of jowls that were beginning to appear and delay their progression. Dr. Emer described it as being ideal for “patients who are looking for a long-term solution for mid-face wrinkles and excess skin but are not yet ready for surgery, like a facelift.” Ding, ding, ding – that would be me. Keep reading below to learn more about the treatment, as well as how it worked for me.
What is Ellacor?
Also known as “micro-coring”, Ellacor is a first-of-its-kind, minimally-invasive procedure that uses hollow needles to remove tiny cores of skin to trigger a healing response in your skin. “During a procedure, Ellacor can remove up to eight percent of the skin without evidence of scarring. After the skin is removed, the body’s natural healing response quickly closes the cores, resulting in an improved appearance,” says Dr. Emer.
What sets this treatment apart from the usual in-office microneedling with radiofrequency is that it actually removes skin (versus just puncturing it) and doesn’t require the use of thermal energy like with radiofrequency or lasers. This meant that my downtime would be much lower in comparison. It also makes Ellacor safe to use in conjunction with other treatments, should you want to stack on additional procedures – like PRP (a.k.a. platelet-rich plasma) or AnteAGE exosomes, which fast-track your healing -in one session for more impactful results.
As of now, Ellacor is FDA cleared for use on adults aged 22 or older with light to medium skin tones (types I through IV on the Fitzpatrick scale) and is approved for use on the mid to lower face. “Off-label, we are doing this on the neck, knees, elbows, inner thighs and chests with great results, but studies will need to be done to determine efficacy and long term outcomes,” says Dr. Emer, stressing that patients who fall outside of the FDA clearance should always speak to their provider to explore all options and desired results.
What to Expect During An Ellacor Appointment
There’s no denying that this procedure looks intense and there is a lot of blood – which I was prepared for having watched others’ experiences on YouTube beforehand. Naturally, my first question upon booking my Ellacor treatment was: How much would it hurt? The providers assured me that with proper numbing it would be about a two on a scale of one to 10. Despite being skeptical (those videos!), I’m here to report that they were absolutely correct. I was very comfortable.
Once in the treatment room, a topical numbing cream was applied to the areas that I was treating and a skin-care consultant joined us to explain the aftercare process to me while the numbing cream took effect. I was given a detailed skin-care guide and we chatted through the products I already had at home (like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C serums and retinol) and what I would need for the office’s recommended Emer Skin regime – a carefully-curated series of medical-grade anti-inflammatories, skin brighteners, hydrators, and antioxidants. Though it may seem like an excessive amount of products at first, they all play an important role in helping your skin fully heal.
After about 30 minutes of topical numbing, Dr. Emer began to apply nerve blocks and lidocaine injections (this was honestly the most uncomfortable part of the whole process) before going in with the Ellacor machine. He carefully stamped the needles across my jawline, above my lips, and lower cheeks out towards my hairline – before following with a healthy slather of exosomes and a soothing mask. 30 painless minutes later, I was all done and on my way home.
Ellacor Aftercare and Downtime
Immediately after the treatment, I was swollen and chipmunk-esque, sort of like when my wisdom teeth were removed, but – thanks to the final round of exosomes and Emer Skin Illuminating Mask I applied before bed – this mostly subsided by the next morning. I was then instructed to avoid anything that could introduce heat or bacteria to the area for at least 72 hours, so no lingering hot showers, sweaty workouts, dirty pillowcases, or sun exposure. An excuse to rot on my couch for a week? No problems there.
Over the course of four to five days after my Ellacor treatment, scabbing quickly came and went and my fresh baby skin was beginning to make an appearance. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I experienced a slight lift on my upper lip that gave the appearance of extra volume. (Win-win!) And though true results wouldn’t appear for a couple months, I was already noticing a slight tightening of the folds around my mouth.
But mostly, I was amazed at how fast this all went down. While the rapid healing can be largely attributed to the use of exosomes, the intensive multi-step Emer Skin routine I followed made a world of difference in the texture and luminosity of my skin – which helped me avoid post-treatment rebound pigmentation and redness. Whatever sorcery Dr. Emer has formulated into his products (especially that Illuminating Mask) has my skin glowing and hooked for good.
How Much Does Ellacor Cost?
The cost of an Ellacor micro-coring treatment can range from $3,000 to $6,000 per session in the lower face – depending on your provider’s experience and treatment location. You’ll also want to budget in additional costs from the use of growth factors (like exosomes) and aftercare products. So for more intensive treatments like this, be sure you thoroughly discuss overall cost and needs with your provider.
How Long Does Ellacor Last?
Since this is a very new treatment, the longevity of results is still being studied and will vary greatly from patient to patient. Because of this, Ellacor providers like Dr. Emer suggests multiple treatments and yearly maintenance for best results. “In the clinical trial, most patients underwent a series of three procedures spaced approximately 30 days apart. If you get excellent outcomes in your initial treatment, we would suggest yearly treatment thereafter to meet your goals.” At the end of the day, we will all continue to age and that aging can happen at different rates and in different places. Treatments like Ellacor are changing the game for those of us who want non-surgical options to feel good in our skin – which after my treatment, I can honestly say I do.