Ten years ago, I had a lot of patients coming in for laser skin resurfacing to repair sun damage correction of other skin irregularities and to even out discoloration. However, over the last few years, as more minimally invasive treatments have become available, I find more patients are aking about alternative treatments. This makes sense, after all: there’s no downtime, and procedures like Fraxel, microneedling and intense pulsed light (IPL) can be done right in the office. But even these won’t rejuvenate skin that’s been severely damaged by sun or scarring. For these cases, the “gold standard” is still CO2 laser resurfacing.
It’s important to understand that CO2 laser resurfacing is a surgical procedure. Patients receive IV sedation, and the surface layer of the skin is actually removed. The heat of the laser tightens the deeper layers of the skin by shrinking up to 30% of the collagen. You can actually see the wrinkles disappear before your eyes!
CO2 laser resurfacing is a powerfully effective treatment, and requires about a week of healing time. For the first few days, the entire face is covered by an occlusive dressing, which completely “seals off” the skin and allows healing to begin more quickly. After that’s removed, ointment should be applied regularly to keep the skin moist as it heals. A rejuvenation of this level requires patience. While the final results are visible immediately, patients should expect the texture of their skin to continuing improving over the next few months as new collagen grows. The end result is absolutely worth the wait: a beautiful, brand new, tight, smooth “scaffold” of skin! It’s not unusual for patients to see a reduction of 80 to 90% of all their facial lines and wrinkles. It’s always amazing to see such dramatic results from a single procedure.
For the right candidates with advanced degrees of sun damage or facial scarring, CO2 laser resurfacing still remains the best treatment available. For those who simply want to turn back the clock a few years, or are not ready for a surgical procedure, I usually recommend some minimally invasive treatments that may be a better fit. Treatments may include Fraxel, which is a non-ablative (non-cutting) handheld laser with a patented “cool tip”. Fraxel is best for reducing wrinkles and stretch marks, and can even be used to treat active acne by killing the bacteria that cause it. Intense pulsed light (IPL) is best for repairing sun damage, or treating skin that is reddened from broken capillaries or rosacea. The light energy evens out pigment tones and stimulates collagen growth, which has a “smoothing” effect on the skin’s texture. Additionally, for patients who want to tighten loose or sagging skin, the INFINI device uses a combination of microneedling and radiofrequency (RF) heat to smooth the skin from within.
I’m always glad to speak with patients who want to know more about what Azul’s range of anti-aging skin treatments and the desired results. No two patients are alike, so a consult is always necessary to review a patient’s health history, achievement goals and lifestyle. I do everything I can to ensure that every patient who comes to me ends up 100% satisfied with their choice of treatment — and of course, with the desired results. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have, and I’ll usually respond to you within twenty-four hours. You can also call our offices at (239) 415-7576 to talk with a member of the Azul team, or schedule a free consultation. Renewed, revitalized skin is just a call or click away!