Is Laser Skin Resurfacing Right For Me?
Laser skin resurfacing is a proven way to help reduce wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and other blemishes as well as tighten skin and balance tone. Because lasers can do so much, and results vary based on how they act on various skin types, it is important to select a treatment that matches your goals and physical appearance.
Another consideration is when to have laser treatment. Laser-treated skin is more sensitive to sun exposure, so most people choose Fall and Winter as optimal times for these procedures as they are spending more time indoors. Rest assured, we’ll discuss all considerations with you, and recommend the appropriate course of action, during your consultation.
Erbium Laser Skin Resurfacing
Erbium laser skin resurfacing is chosen by those looking to achieve significant improvement in the appearance of their skin, minimize superficial lines, and treat deeper wrinkles. An erbium laser is milder and less invasive than carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers, providing more rapid recovery. The laser will send short, concentrated beams of light at targeted skin. This removes unwanted, damaged skin one layer at a time, in a very precise manner. This type of laser is typically used to remove superficial and moderately-deep lines and wrinkles on your face, but can also be used to treat neck, chest and hands. The laser will remove the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. This treatment simultaneously heats the underlying skin, the dermis, stimulating growth of new collagen fibers. As the treated area heals, new skin is smoother and firmer.
Laser skin resurfacing is done on an outpatient basis. This treatment can be painful, although we minimize discomfort by numbing your skin with a local anesthetic, and offering a sedative to help you relax. Your face will be thoroughly cleaned and you will be given eye protection. If treatment is planned for small portions of your body, the procedure will take 30-45 minutes. A full-face treatment can take up to two hours.
After laser skin treatment, your surgeon will apply a dressing to protect the treated tissue. You may have swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Using an ice pack for the first day or two generally provides relief and comfort. Starting one day after treatment, you will be instructed to clean the treated area four to five times per day. You’ll apply ointment as prescribed to prevent any scab formation. In general, your healing will be complete in 1-2 weeks, depending on the areas treated.
You will probably notice that your skin is lighter after surgery. It is vital that you use broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against ultraviolet A and B rays, to protect your skin post-treatment. When selecting a sunscreen, look for one specially formulated for use on the face. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 or higher. It is also important to keep your new skin well moisturized. If you use Retin A or glycolic acid products, you will be instructed by your surgeon when you can resume their use.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for Skin Rejuvenation
As we age, skin loses elasticity and brightness. Sun damage, spider veins, acne scars, rosacea and uneven pigmentation become more pronounced. IPL therapy is a gentle, non-ablative treatment that uses broad spectrum light to treat the face, chest, neck and hands—virtually anywhere that sun damage shows. Using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), no skin is removed. The treatment is directed toward pigmentation and damage, lightening and removing sun spots, age spots and brown blotches on the face, neck and chest. IPL can also help with dilated blood vessels and spider veins. It is not as powerful in stimulating collagen as the Erbium skin laser, but has the benefit of virtually no down-time.
IPL Treatment is not considered painful, and we minimize any discomfort with numbing cream. A full-face treatment can easily be completed in one hour, making this photofacial procedure increasingly popular. IPL treatment can only be performed on certain skin types, however, which we will assess during your cosmetic consultation. Generally one to three IPL treatments are required to achieve full effect.