With the holidays over, the new year beginning and not much sun, January is a great time to focus on ways to jump-start your skin. Lasers and broadband light devices offer the most up to date options. Here is a look at some of these treatments and what they can do for you.
Intense Pulsed Light for Mild Skin Damage
For those with early sun damage and signs of aging, IPL (intense pulsed light) devices are a great choice. In our office, we use the Cutera Limelight. These treatments remove the reds and browns that are the first signs of aging and sun damage. Procedures are done in the office with minimal downtime. Typically, 2 to 4 treatments are performed spaced a month apart. As with most laser treatments, sun avoidance before and after is important, making January a great time to start. Patients will notice a more even skin tone and color as well as a smoother appearance to their skin.
Fractional Laser Treatment for Moderate Skin Damage
With more advanced aging and the development of fine to moderate wrinkling, we recommend for most patients a fractional laser treatment. We use the Active FX/Deep FX from Lumenis, the Pearl Fractional from Cutera and the Sciton HALO device. These lasers remove a portion of the top-most layers of skin to allow fresh new skin below come to the surface. Treatments are still done in the office but are associated with a little more downtime- typically between 4-7 days depending on the device and the level of treatment. Some redness may persist for several weeks (requiring sun avoidance), but makeup can be applied by a week or sooner, and you can return to most activities. Patients will notice a softening of wrinkles in one treatment; moderately deep wrinkles typically will require more than one treatment.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing for Significant Skin Damage
Patients with significant sun damage and wrinkles may consider traditional full-strength CO2 laser resurfacing. This treatment provides unprecedented wrinkle removal and skin tightening. Downtime, however, can be 10-12 days. Patients can wear makeup by two weeks but will have some pink discoloration and will need to avoid the sun for up to 4 months. In addition, this treatment is reserved for those with lighter skin types as it can and often does cause a lightening of the skin. In general, we reserve full-strength laser resurfacing for those who are done with the sun, always wear makeup and are looking for maximal improvement.
For those with naturally darker skin, we offer the Syneron Candela Profound. This device deposits energy in the skin via tiny microneedles. This avoids injuring the more superficial, energy and light sensitive skin precluding any pigment issues and making this treatment safe for all skin types. The Profound offers skin tightening and some reduction in skin wrinkling. Patients may resume all activities within 48 hours as well as wear makeup. Some swelling can persist for up to a week.
January is a great time to rejuvenate your look. If you are considering making an improvement in your skin, consider consulting with Dr. Hamilton or one of our licensed aestheticians to explore your options.