Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing
Over the years, you’ve probably noticed that your skin has gradually started to change. It may feel rougher, your pores look larger, scars from injury or acne may be more apparent, and hyperpigmentation from sun damage becomes evident. These issues, coupled with the advent of fine lines and wrinkles can cause you to look older than you feel. There are a myriad of remedies available to address aging or damaged skin, from skin care product lines to fillers to specialized cosmetic treatments. But which option is best for you, and which will be a lasting solution to refresh your skin?
At Daines Plastic Surgery, we offer several choices to rejuvenate your skin, including chemical peels and microdermabrasion. However, our latest offering has been touted as the gold standard in skin resurfacing – Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing.
Laser Skin Resurfacing – Ablative or Non-Ablative?
As with any skin resurfacing procedure, laser resurfacing involves removing the top layer of damaged skin (the epidermis) and revealing the new, fresh skin underneath. This can be done in different ways, depending on the severity of your skin issues and what you are trying to accomplish. Resurfacing lasers fall into two categories: ablative and non-ablative.
Originally, all laser resurfacing was performed using an ablative laser, which heats your skin to a high enough temperature to destroy the surface cells, essentially burning them off. While this is an effective method for eliminating scarring and deep wrinkles, there is quite a bit of downtime, and you will experience discomfort, swelling, skin crusting, and other complications. However, the process not only gets rid of damaged skin, but it causes the body to respond to the wounded epidermis by producing new collagen to help it heal. This results in a dramatic and lasting improvement in the skin in just one treatment.
Non-ablative lasers are a more recent development. Non-ablative laser treatments bypass the top layer of your skin to heat the underlying tissue, but only to the point where it signals your body to boost new collagen production. When collagen is increased, the texture and tone of your skin are improved and your skin looks younger and healthier. Non-ablative laser resurfacing is less invasive and requires less downtime than ablative laser resurfacing, but it is less effective.
Non-ablative laser treatments heat the underlying tissue of the skin, but only to the point where it signals the body to boost new collagen production. When collagen is increased, the texture and tone of your skin is improved, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is reduced, and skin looks younger and healthier. There is no downtime with non-ablative laser treatments, and no harm to the skin’s surface. Non-ablative treatments work best on more mild cases of lines and wrinkles, and may take more than one session to work.
What is Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Fractional CO2 lasers combine the benefits of both ablative and non-ablative lasers into one treatment. Fractional lasers use ablative technology to remove parts (fractions) of the damaged skin, leaving the surrounding areas intact. The handpiece emits light in a grid of precise microbeams that create narrow but deep columns of thermal injury as they penetrate the skin. Since only portions of your skin are treated at a time, the procedure is more comfortable. This also helps accelerate the healing process and reduces the risk of complications while still achieving the excellent results of an ablative laser treatment. This helps accelerate the healing process and reduces the risk of complications and discomfort.
During your treatment, Dr. Daines will apply the Fractional CO2 laser to the area chosen for resurfacing. The ablative laser will eliminate surface damage, while concurrently heating the underlying tissue, causing it to increase collagen production. The laser treatment triggers your skin to repair itself by shedding the old skin and replacing it with new skin that looks younger, firmer and healthier. Your body’s natural healing mechanisms do all the work, but the laser enhances and accelerates the process. Depending on the scope of the treatment area, your laser session may take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
What Does The Fractional CO2 Laser Treat?
The Fractional CO2 laser is used to address a wide range of skin conditions, including:
- Fine lines (including around the eyes)
- Deeper wrinkles around the forehead, mouth, or nose
- Sun damaged skin
- Acne scars
- Dull complexion
- Textural issues
- Uneven skin tone
- Skin laxity
- Enlarged pores
In addition, the Fractional CO2 laser can be used to treat other visible areas of the body, such as the neck, chest, or hands.
Fractional CO2 lasers do not treat broken capillaries or generalized skin redness. Ask Dr. Daines about other treatments for these skin conditions.
HO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR FRACTIONAL CO2 LASER SKIN RESURFACING?
Dr. Daines utilizes skin resurfacing as a powerful tool for improving the health and appearance of your skin. During your consultation, he will evaluate your skin and help you decide whether resurfacing can help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Laser skin resurfacing can be done alone or as a component of a more comprehensive plan that includes other surgical or nonsurgical procedures.
Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing treatments are appropriate for a wide range of ages and skin types. Because the laser can be adjusted to accommodate many needs, it is a suitable option for most healthy individuals seeking facial rejuvenation. Fractional laser resurfacing is not recommended for individuals who have an active cold sore, are pregnant or have taken Accutane within the past six months. People with dark skin tones may be advised to avoid aggressive laser treatments as they can cause pigmentation issues.
BENEFITS OF FRACTIONAL LASER SKIN RESURFACING
Fractional laser resurfacing offers many benefits to our patients. This innovative method of skin rejuvenation:
- Is safe
- Can improve a variety of skin concerns
- Can be customized to the individual’s needs
- Has reduced downtime compared to other laser treatments
- Can yield noticeable results in one session
- Provides cumulative results with multiple sessions
- Achieves long-lasting improvements
Benefits and results vary from patient to patient. The results of your treatment will depend on the extent of your concerns and the degree of correction you hope to achieve.
Before laser resurfacing, you will be asked to avoid unprotected sun exposure. Too much sun in the weeks before the procedure, including time spent in tanning booths, can lead to permanent pigmentation changes in the treated areas. If you smoke, please stop at least two weeks before and after your laser treatment to reduce the risk of complications. You may also be asked to take an antiviral medication to prevent infection.
Avoid topical products with ingredients that can increase skin sensitivity, including retinol, glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Do not wax or use another hair removal method as these treatments can also make your skin sensitive and prone to irritation from the laser. A few simple steps can go a long way in improving the safety and the effectiveness of your procedure.
Choosing a Surgeon for Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure
Laser treatments work by delivering precise levels of heat to targeted treatment areas, causing controlled skin injuries that trigger a healing response. In the hands of a trained and knowledgeable provider, laser resurfacing can dramatically and safely improve your skin’s appearance. In the hands of an inexperienced provider, laser treatments may be ineffective or even dangerous.
Dr. Daines is a fellowship-trained and double board-certified facial plastic surgeon. He has the qualifications and experience necessary to ensure your laser resurfacing treatment is both safe and successful. Together with his team, Dr. Daines will focus on your individual needs and provide you with the highest level of care during and after your procedure.
If you have a history of cold sores, you may be given an oral anti-viral medication to take after surgery to prevent an outbreak. Protecting your skin from the sun after your skin resurfacing procedure is extremely important to prevent abnormal pigmentation and to maintain long-term results. Dr. Daines will also talk to you about a daily skin care regimen to enhance your final outcome and achieve long term skin health.
Skin resurfacing is a highly effective way to turn back the clock on your skin and create a healthy, vibrant glow to your complexion. To learn more about your options in skin resurfacing, contact Daines Plastic Surgery at 949-397-6499.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure Details
A topical numbing agent is applied at the beginning of your fractional CO2 laser appointment to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. Once the targeted area is numb, Dr. Daines performs the treatment by passing a handheld device over the surface of your skin.
The handpiece produces a beam of infrared light that precisely targets the treatment area, and that beam is broken up into thousands of individual shafts of light (pixels). These intense beams of light pulse into your skin for less than a millisecond, causing controlled injuries to the specified area. These pinpoint injuries cause skin cells to regenerate more rapidly, healing the injury. The result is a treatment that can give you the results of an ablative laser in a less harsh manner.
Dr. Daines will closely monitor your skin to ensure you receive an effective but comfortable treatment. Once your skin has been thoroughly and evenly treated, he will apply a soothing serum or ointment and may protect the area with a bandage. Laser skin resurfacing is done in our office and typically takes between 30 minutes and two hours.
Recovery and Post-treatment care
After undergoing the procedure, you will experience some redness and flaking of your skin – after all, even though fractional resurfacing is not as harsh as other treatments, you’re still removing the top layer of skin. Redness will gradually fade and should disappear by seven to 10 days. Do not pick at the dry skin. It’s important to let your skin peel and heal at its own pace.
Your skin may also feel swollen and warm after the procedure. Cool compresses can help soothe these effects. If you’re in any discomfort, you’re welcome to use an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen to manage it. If you have a history of cold sores, you may be given an oral antiviral medication to take after the procedure to prevent an outbreak.
Clean your skin with a gentle cleanser and warm water for the first week. After this initial healing phase has passed, you may resume wearing makeup if desired. Protecting your skin from the sun after your skin resurfacing procedure is extremely important to prevent abnormal pigmentation and to maintain long-term results. Dr. Daines will monitor your healing process and make personalized recommendations for maintaining and enhancing your results.
Since the fractional CO2 laser is gentler on your face, your recovery time will be noticeably less, and you will be able to see a visible improvement in your skin much faster. It may take up to two weeks for your skin to heal, and another four to six weeks before the mild redness dissipates completely. You may return to work and other activities as soon as you feel comfortable with your appearance in public.
Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Results
The results of your fractional CO2 laser resurfacing procedure will be seen both immediately and over time. Soon after your treatment, you may find that your skin is smoother, softer and brighter. These results will continue to improve for several months as your skin builds new collagen and elastin fibers. Your full results won’t be completely visible for three to six months. You may notice fewer lines, wrinkles and pigmentation issues, and your complexion will have a refreshed, youthful look.
While you may achieve satisfying results after one treatment, many people need a series of treatments for optimal results. Results are long-lasting once the series is complete. If you protect your skin from the sun and make healthy lifestyle choices, you can enjoy the benefits of your laser skin resurfacing treatment for several years. Maintenance treatments may be necessary to sustain your results indefinitely.
Dr. Daines will advise you regarding how many treatments you may need and how often they should be scheduled to obtain the best possible outcome.
Schedule your Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment in Newport Beach
Combine the natural aging process with a lifetime of exposure to environmental stressors, and you have a recipe for dull, dry, damaged skin. Fortunately, there are ways to refresh and rejuvenate your complexion that do not involve the expense and extended downtime of surgical procedures. At Daines Plastic Surgery, we offer a variety of nonsurgical rejuvenation services that deliver long-lasting results.
Laser resurfacing is a highly effective way to turn back the clock on your skin and give a healthy, vibrant glow to your complexion. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Steven M. Daines today at 949-397-6499 to learn how fractional CO2 laser resurfacing can transform your appearance. We welcome patients from Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine and nearby areas of Southern California.
Click here for our fractional laser resurfacing post-treatment care form.
*Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Steven M Daines has written information about Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing that has been carefully reviewed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using our form.
Dr.Daines is an awesome facial cosmetic plastic surgeon. He is a perfectionist and is very accommodating. He is very approachable and takes his time with you during office visit. This is the best place to go for fillers, Botox, face lifts, scar revision, septoplasty, derm abrasion, fractional laser treatment, and other cosmetic facial procedures. I recommend my friends and family to Dr.Daines for their future cosmetic needs. – Jack Y.