There’s nothing like the beginning of a new year to make you feel like time is marching on. Happily, it doesn’t have to march across your face. So many tools now are available to help keep skin looking good – and they can prevent or significantly delay the need for major interventions like plastic surgery. These days, the field of facial aesthetics is really more of an art than a science and understanding how each tool works is the key to making long-term beauty decisions.
In this “Ask the Doctor” January blog entry, NDDA’s Dr Lauren Dickson rounds up everything you need to know about one of the most effective anti-aging technologies on the market: fractional laser resurfacing.
Q: So what is fractional laser resurfacing?
Fractional laser resurfacing is a procedure that makes use of a wavelength of light that is targeted to the skin’s surface – penetrating the skin to remove old cells and stimulate collagen production. It’s basically a way to jump start the body’s own ability to build fresh, new collagen, which creates heathy, firm skin.
Q. Who should use it?
It’s really great for anyone with fine to moderate wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth. Other factors that make someone a good candidate are: dynamic wrinkles from smiling, scarring from acne or other traumatic scars, pigmentation and other skin irregularities. I love it for addressing fine lines and that crepey-ness that can appear with the thinner skin on the upper or lower eyelids or on the neck. It can help with skin tightening, especially if it is used for the full face.
Q. What are the biggest concerns people have?
The biggest concerns I hear about are around downtime. The treatment requires a week of downtime. You don’t want to be out for a few days after it’s done, and your skin will be raw, and especially susceptible to damage, so staying out of the sun is a must. We put every patient on antivirals and antibiotics before this treatment, so infection isn’t an issue.
Q. What is your favorite benefit of fractional laser treatments?
There are not a lot of good treatments for acne scarring – and this is one of them. It also really brightens the skin and helps with tone and pigmentation. Another great benefit is that it stimulates collagen. It’s always nice to get this done when you’re younger – it’s great for “pre-juvenation” – when you already have lines but want to prevent them from getting deeper. But for most people, it’s the best way to address the deeper wrinkles around the eyes and mouth that we can’t get as much improvement on with Botox and filler alone. This isn’t just a temporary fix – it’s really something that’s restorative and lasts for a long time. You’re building an entire new layer of skin and jumpstarting the body’s own collagen production, so the results last for several years or more. I’d consider it an essential part of a long-term anti-aging plan.