As you age you will notice a change in the overall quality and texture of your skin. Fine wrinkles begin to develop. The outer layer of skin may thicken and become more rough whereas the deeper layers lose elasticity and begin to droop. Sun damage leads to pigment (color) changes and even early skin cancers. A complete facial rejuvenation involves addressing the skin.
There are three ways to resurface the skin: chemical peels, dermabrasion, and lasers. In turn, each resurfacing technique can be superficial, medium, or deep. As you can imagine, the recovery time takes longer the deeper the resurfacing, but the results can be longer lasting and more impressive. In addition to the restoration of a youthful appearance to the skin, a further benefit is that these can help treat and prevent early skin cancers from developing into a true skin cancer.
Lasers are a specialized device that concentrates a beam of light to a single spot on the skin. This, in turn, heats up these “cylinders” of skin when the laser light is absorbed by either water, skin pigment, or blood vessels depending on the type of laser being used. There are different types of lasers for different skin conditions. The first lasers were fully ablative. This means they were evaporate the entire top layer of the skin. These were very effective at resurfacing, but, unfortunately, had an unacceptably high side effect rate. The next devices created were non ablative meaning they would not affect the top layer of skin. These include devices such as Thermage, light emitting diodes, IPL (intense pulsed light), and other devices using either radiofrequencies or other forms of heat. Some of these technologies were beneficial but were not able to get the same results for the skin that were achieved with the original lasers.
Newer lasers combined the benefits of the original ablative lasers but lessened the side effects by creating fractionated lasers. This involves treating only a fraction of the skin at a given time. This allows the untreated skin to help the treated area heal faster. The benefit is there are fewer risks of side effects when compared to the original ablative lasers. A commonly used fractionated laser is the carbon dioxide or CO2 laser. This is the gold standard when it comes to skin resurfacing with lasers.
At Dr. Guy Facial Plastic Surgery we use the Phoenix, fractionated CO2 laser to treat a variety of skin conditions. This includes rough skin, sun spots, sun damaged skin, certain precancerous lesions, and sun damaged hands. With our specialized attachment you can treat each hand in less than a minute. For those who don’t need quite the treatment of a CO2 laser or for those who need less down time, we also offer Erbium:YAG lasers for skin resurfacing. This doesn’t go as deep as CO2 laser which means there is less downtime. It is used at the end of the CO2 treatment to speed up the healing process.
Dr. Guy has expertise with all methods of skin resurfacing, and he can discuss them with you during a consultation.