Advances in laser technology have now given us one more weapon in the fight against wrinkles.
For many years different lasers have been used extensively in medicine for everything from eye surgery to treating kidney stones. Now with refinements in the carbon dioxide laser, fine wrinkles may be improved or “erased”.
In general the laser is a surgical instrument which delivers a predetermined amount of energy to a tissue(the skin and wrinkles in this case) for a specified length of time, usually fractions of a second. This energy vaporizes the tissue to a predictable depth.
Similar in concept to dermabrasion (mechanically sanding the skin) and chemical peels(applying a chemical solution to the skin which penetrates a certain depth)the laser resurfaces the skin by removing the top layer of damaged skin which is replaced with a smoother, more youthful layer of skin during the healing process.
The laser resurfacing is appropriate for those individuals with wrinkling of the facial skin, such as crows feet, vertical lines around the lip(smoker lines”), weathered skin or acne scarring.
The procedure is a same day procedure that is performed under local or twilight anesthesia. The entire face or isolated facial segments(such as around the mouth or eyes) may be performed. The skin is bright red for a period of one week and then gradually fades to pink then white over a period of several weeks. One is able to wear makeup after seven to ten days.
The advantage of the laser over other methods such as dermabrasion and chemical peels is the precise nature in which the laser treats the skin, penetrating a predictable and controllable depth. An additional advantage over the deep phenol peel is the lack of skin tone lightening, which is often a tell tale sign of a deep chemical peel. Because of the lack of pigment changes using this laser technique, people of darker skin tone, who previously would not have been good candidates for a chemical peel, are good candidates for laser skin resurfacing.
It should be noted the laser is not a treatment for those individuals with excess sagging of skin and collections of fat such as around the eyes, jowls or under the chin. These conditions require the more traditional cosmetic surgeries including the eyelid lift, facelift, and liposuction. Often, however, the laser skin resurfacing techniques are used in conjunction with these procedures to achieve the best possible results.
To find out if you are a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing of other rejuvenating procedures, please call to schedule a consultation.