Laser Resurfacing & Chemical Peels
Written by Dr. Cross
Carbon Dioxide (or CO2) laser technology has been used for the purpose of skin resurfacing for more than two decades. Benefits include a tightening of the skin through heat induced collagen shrinkage, thickening of the skin and improvement in the creapiness and fine lines of the skin through production of collagen, and considerable correction of sun damage, blotchiness, dark “circles”, and even acne scars. Commonly treated areas include the face and eyes, including the “circles” and “bags” under the eyes, the neck, the chest, and the hands, though it is possible to treat any area of the body.
Older lasers used a technique called “full ablation” resurfacing. The entire surface of the skin in the area that was treated was destroyed down to the second, or even third layer of the skin. This lead to long recovery times because the skin required healing from the edges inward and had a high rate of permanent scarring and pigment changes.
Fractional technology has changed our ability to rejuvenate the skin. This new approach delivers fifty to eighty microscopic sized laser treatments within each centimeter treatment zone. Similar to a lawn that has been aerated in the the spring, the healthy, unaffected skin around each microscopic zone of treatment supplies the material for the treated regions to heal rapidly and without the same risk of scarring or permanent pigmentary changes. Though otherwise uncomfortable, feeling like hot snaps of a rubber band against the skin, with the combination of medications and our specially formulated numbing cream to the skin, patients can easily tolerate the procedure in the office and go home shortly after.
Some patients require less aggressive resurfacing procedures. These may include more gentle lasers or chemical peels to resurface the outer layers of the skin and to stimulate skin thickening and texture, color, and tone improvements.