Excessive sun exposure, aging and some skin conditions can leave the face with blemishes, scars, wrinkles and facial lines, but you don't have to live with them forever.
As we age, the epidermis (top layer of skin) becomes thinner, so blemishes become more visible, and collagen in the dermis (mid to lower layer of skin) is gradually lost which contributes to the formation of facial lines, sagging skin and wrinkles.
"There have been major advances in nonsurgical skin rejuvenation using laser technology," says Edward Prodanovic, MD, Assistant Professor of EVMS Dermatology. "Laser skin resurfacing can be an effective way to improve skin tone and texture by promoting new skin cells to form that deliver a tighter, younger looking appearance."
Ablative laser resurfacing refers to laser treatments that mainly target the epidermis, while non-ablative treatments work solely on dermal collagen, leaving the epidermis intact.
With non-ablative laser resurfacing, there is little downtime. In most cases, patients can return to normal daily life immediately following treatment. Though ablative laser resurfacing can produce more impressive results, it is more painful and associated with a longer post-recovery period with possible swelling, redness, pigmentation changes, and peeling or crusting of the treated area.
The new fractional laser technology works by targeting both the epidermis and dermis. "It allows for both ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing to be delivered with great precision and with a lower risk of pigmentation changes," Dr. Prodanovic says. "Since the fractional laser affects only a very small portion of your skin, recovery time is greatly reduced."
Fractional laser resurfacing uses intense micro-pulses of light and heat to invigorate skin and stimulate new cell production. It leaves areas of untreated skin intact while treating only a fraction of the skin’s surface. Old epidermal cells are eliminated and the penetration of tiny laser beams into the dermis causes a reaction that leads to collagen remodeling and formation of new collagen.
"The excellent safety profile and rapid recovery post-treatment have made these systems popular and can typically be performed in less than an hour," Dr. Prodanovic says. He adds that patients notice results within a few weeks of the procedure but get the best results if performed in a series. Three to six treatments are typically recommended, spaced about one month apart.
Learn more about laser treatments available for your skin by visiting the EVMS Aesthetic Center, the only cosmetic program in Hampton Roads that includes physician expertise from three specialties, Plastic Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery and Dermatology.
Call 757.689.8258 to make an appointment.