Laser skin resurfacing uses fractional and CO2 lasers to treat damaged skin, and may be recommended for patients who have found little success with more conservative therapies like microdermabrasion. Known as Fraxel, Active FX, SmartXide and others, laser treatments can help reverse the effects of deep, pitted acne scars and damage caused by the sun to help restore a more youthful complexion. Praised for its drastic results and minimal downtime, laser skin resurfacing can be used to address target problem areas, or the entire face, and must always be performed by a licensed dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
The latest in laser technologies have been reported to help men and women correct the following types of problems:
Laser skin resurfacing works by removing (either through deep heating or vaporization) target areas of skin with extreme precision. The idea is that the new tissue that forms during healing will have an improved texture, leaving patients with dewy, supple skin. All laser skin resurfacing falls into two categories: ablative and non-ablative. Non-ablative lasers, or fractional lasers such as Fraxel, are not quite as invasive and thus require less recovery time since redness and swelling normally subsides within a week. These lasers do not vaporize or remove a layer of skin, but instead work through deep heating that is thought to enhance collagen production while correcting issues like wrinkles, actinic keratosis, surgical scars and melasma.
Ablative lasers, on the other hand, are more invasive since they ablate, or vaporize the top layer of skin, and will require several weeks of healing. This type of laser skin treatment may be selected for those who have major textural irregularities (uniform acne scarring) or deep wrinkles caused by genetics and sun exposure.
Both types of laser skin treatments are performed on an outpatient basis. Depending on the laser being used, your doctor may recommend antibiotic and antiviral medication beforehand, in addition to lightening creams to help prevent hyperpigmentation problems afterward. The procedure is typically done with topical or local sedation, and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to just over an hour.
Afterward, patients can expect redness and substantial swelling that normally resolves over several weeks. Some redness can persist for several months after the treatment. Skin that has been treated will peel about 10 days post-laser and specific instructions will be given regarding topical ointments such as petroleum jelly and use of broad-spectrum sunscreen in the weeks and months following the procedure.
Similar to any type of cosmetic surgery procedure, laser skin resurfacing carries some risks such as hypo and hyperpigmentation, persistent redness and scarring – all of which should be discussed during an initial consultation.
Often used in combination with other facial rejuvenating treatments including IPL, face lifts and fat transfers, laser skin treatments can offer amazing results, when performed by a skilled professional.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits and risks of laser skin resurfacing in NYC to see if this treatment is right for you, please call the office of Dr. Thomas Loeb to arrange a private consultation: 212-327-3700.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Laser Skin Resurfacing Skin Care Procedure, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing.html