Laser rejuvenation is a cosmetic procedure used to help skin look healthier and provide a more youthful appearance. It minimizes the effects of aging, damaging rays from the sun as well as some skin disorders. The laser rejuvenation procedure either removes the outer layers of skin or targets unwanted age spots and dilated blood vessels. The end result is softer, smoother skin and a healthier appearance. The procedure has proven safe and effective for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars and uneven pigmentation. Compared to other cosmetic procedures that produce similar results, laser rejuvenation is relatively inexpensive and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
The Laser Rejuvenation Process
Laser treatments are performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
There are several types of lasers used for the laser rejuvenation, depending on the treatment. The CO2 laser provides the highest intensity and is used to treat wrinkles, scars, warts, and even skin cancer in the preliminary stages. Erbium lasers are most often used to treat fine lines and wrinkles. They do not penetrate as deeply as CO2 lasers; therefore, the healing process is shorter. Nowadays, these lasers are used in a fragmented pattern called fractional resurfacing which allows for a faster recovery.
Fraxel lasers are used to administer laser treatments in multiple sessions. The procedure is considered non-invasive and is relatively painless. Intense pulsed light (IPL) is another non-invasive technique that uses high intensity pulses of visible light. IPL employs filters to regulate energy output for the treatment of specific areas. It is highly effective in reducing lines, wrinkles, freckles, age spots and eliminating unwanted hair.
Depending on the laser used, a topical or local anesthetic may be administered. For IPL treatments, no anesthesia is required. Laser rejuvenation typically takes 20 to 45 minutes depending on the type of laser being used and the area being treated. In traditional and fractional resurfacing, a highly precise beam of laser light is used to vaporize the external skin cells. Full laser resurfacing is regarded as a surgical procedure due to its invasive nature.
Recovery and Skin Care
The recovery time will depend on the type of laser used for treatment as well as the size of the area involved. The highest intensity lasers will produce the most dramatic results but usually take several weeks to heel. A gentler laser treatment will minimize some imperfections but involve little to no recovery time. Following laser resurfacing, patients may experience minor swelling and redness for a brief time. Fractional laser resurfacing takes approximately 5 to 7 days for the skin to peel before you may feel comfortable in social situations. It is important to protect the skin from the sun. When choosing sunscreen, select and SPF of 30 or higher.
Who Should Consider Laser Rejuvenation?
Laser resurfacing offers outstanding results for many patients who desire to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles or scars; however, it may not be appropriate for those with certain skin types or medical conditions. The procedure provides the best results for patients with ample skin elasticity. Individuals whose skin is not overly oily or prone to scarring when subjected to minimal injury are good candidates. As a precaution, patients undergoing laser resurfacing should not have medical conditions or be taking medication that presents a risk during the treatment or healing process.
Fractional resurfacing with either the CO2 or Erbium lasers, and Intense pulsed light treatments can be used by most people to get excellent results.