Wouldn’t it be great to have baby-soft, smooth, wrinkle-free skin for your entire life? While there is no such thing as a fountain of youth, many people have found great benefits from laser skin resurfacing procedures offered by dermatologists and select plastic surgeons to rejuvenate and tighten problem skin areas. Learn more about treatment options and the Six Factors to Consider Before Selecting Your Physician.
Have you ever sat in a mall, on a bus, in an airport terminal or on a subway and people-watched? The stories of people’s lives are often told by their skin, particularly on their faces. You don’t have to be a keen observer to deduce that someone is or was a heavy drinker or smoker. It’s easy to pick out those who worship the sun, and see the wrinkled, leathery result of too much tanning.
Stress and nutrition also affect the appearance of a person’s skin. You most likely are thinking of people you know who have engaged in a healthy lifestyle, and how youthful their skin appears versus those who have fallen into bad habits in regards to sleeping, eating, sun exposure, and maintaining proper work/life balance.
The good news is that laser skin resurfacing techniques can help people reclaim what was thought lost to the ravages of aging, whether through choice or heredity.
One look in the mirror and you can see the imperfections of maturing skin: sun spots, splotchy skin, pock marks left over from teenage acne, crow’s feet, and fine lines and wrinkles. Make-up, creams and other over-the-counter treatments may cover up some of the blemishes and signs of aging, but many people are opting for a long-term option for looking better.
Skin Resurfacing Treatments
At your appointment with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon, he or she will assess your skin for the resurfacing procedure that will give you the best results based on skin type, the amount and seriousness of sun damage, imperfections, and pigmentation issues. Be sure to discuss your medical history and current prescription medications you take with your doctor.
Laser skin resurfacing may work well for pigmentation changes, such as, sun spots or splotchy skin. Other types of lasers target vascular conditions, such as, broken blood vessels on the skin. Some lasers target both vascular and pigmentation changes on the skin. To treat large pores, select lasers may be used to heat the tissue layer of the superficial dermis, resulting in the production of new, thicker and smoother skin.
While non-ablative lasers are designed for patients with superficial skin damage who are not expecting dramatic results, fractional non-ablative lasers may deliver better results for patients with more extensive aging signs. Fractional non-ablative lasers heat-pixilate columns of skin to depths that may be deeper when compared to traditional non-ablative heating. Some of these lasers tout the ability to stimulate collagen production and provide for improved results in skin texture, fine wrinkles, skin tightness (firmness) and acne scars.
For patients with even deeper wrinkles and scars, fractional ablative lasers may be comparable to traditional ablative lasers, such as the CO2 laser. The Erbium laser works well for fine, moderate and deep facial lines and wrinkles. With fractional ablative lasers, microscopic plugs of tissue are removed and heated at the same time. Since only 10 percent to 40 percent of the skin surface area is treated, the procedure involves much less downtime and the risks are lower when compared with other ablative lasers. Fractional ablative lasers are a dramatic advance over traditional laser resurfacing. Non ablative lasers have been the latest trend and the results are wonderful with once a year treatments and no downtime.
Pigment changes of the skin, such as blotchiness or brown spots, may also occur with age or as a result of birth control pills, pregnancy or genetic factors. Prior acne may have made the surface of your skin uneven. These problems, as well as, certain other skin conditions, may be improved by skin resurfacing.
Six Factors to Consider Beforehand
1) Recovery time: As you might guess, minor skin resurfacing requires no or less recovery time when compared to more in-depth treatment. Non ablative lasers are not associated with recovery time and give good results.
2) Insurance: It is wise to consult with your medical insurer because often skin resurfacing is not cover by typical medical insurance unless it is being used to treat pre-cancerous conditions or other medically necessary scenario. Skin resurfacing procedures usually are not covered by insurance, but your dermatology office staff can advise you accordingly in most cases.
3) Risks: All medical procedures carry a level of risk, even laser skin resurfacing. However, thousands of people can also attest to the benefits they’ve received without complications.
4) Experience and Certification: Be certain that your dermatologist or plastic surgeon is board-certified by their respective medical board and has a solid track record of successful procedures and satisfied patients. Don’t be shy about asking for referrals and doing some investigating yourself.
5) Procedure Preparation. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon may prescribe medications, creams and jells to prepare your skin ready for resurfacing.
6) Results: Of course, outcomes of laser skin resurfacing vary from person to person. As your facial muscles move, lines and wrinkles may reappear. Sometimes, the skin remains a bit pink in the treatment area for weeks, but eventually it will return to normal. Most people, with the aid of proper skin care, find their complexion is vastly improved.
The mirror tends not to be kind to us as we age. However, with laser skin resurfacing, we can now enjoy a clean, fresh, younger look on our face and other areas of our body, if we so desire. If you don’t like your Facebook profile picture or are thinking of avoiding the next high school reunion due to feeling less than confident about your appearance, you might consider some of these turn-back-the-clock laser resurfacing treatments for your skin. That real you—the younger, vibrant, daring persona—is just waiting to emerge, and your dermatologist ready to help.
It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.