An article by Dr. Paula Hicks of Avé Medical Laser Spa
Imagine going into the paint store and asking for blue paint. The clerk sends you to the sample case where you are inundated with 50 or more shades of gray to choose from . This is just like laser resurfacing!
Laser resurfacing is a favorite tool for rejuvenating the texture and tone of the face and neck. But just like choosing a paint color, there are an infinite number of laser protocols. Erbium and CO2 lasers are the most common type of resurfacing lasers. The top layer of skin can be removed very superficially or resurfacing can be very deep. The entire top layer can be removed similar to “mowing the grass” or checkerboard columns of skin can be removed like “taking plugs out (aerating) the grass”. Other settings can be changed to add heat in differing degrees to tighten the skin.
Knowing the settings and techniques to use to get the best results is the key to laser resurfacing. Like a master artist can create a painting masterpiece, an highly trained laser specialist can obtain superb resurfacing results. Light resurfacing is performed with topical anesthesia and has 1-3 days of downtime. Medium resurfacing has about 3-6 days of downtime. Deep resurfacing with local anesthesia is the best for wrinkles and heavier sun damage and has 7-10 days of downtime. If a client can’t take a week or more off, multiple lighter lasers can performed with additive results.
The old saying “no pain no gain” is somewhat true for resurfacing but it is more accurate to say “the worse you look, the better you look!”. In other words, the deeper the resurfacing, the more the downtime, but the more rejuvenation of the skin. With a deep resurfacing the skin may be slightly pink for a few months but this is easily hidden with makeup.
Laser resurfacing is very effective for facial wrinkles. The area around the eyes and lip lines are very popular areas to have lasers but many people choose to have the whole face resurfaced. Deep acne scarring is difficult to treat but laser can improve the scars significantly. The neck can also be treated with resurfacing and benefits most from multiple light laser treatments.
Once laser resurfacing is complete it is important to maintain your beautiful skin. Defense is the best offense against aging! It is important to seek assistance from medical professionals to guide you through the maze of products and services available because many have no value. Medical grade skin care products are essential as well as maintenance Broad Band Light (BBL) treatments. These treatments help to keep the newly rejuvenated skin producing young collagen. As the saying goes “whoever has the most collagen, WINS!”
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