ANTIAGING TREATMENTS: FACIAL
Lasers are currently the most effective exfoliation
tools for eliminating wrinkles, mainly due to their
unique ability to tighten the skin. Successful procedures
can result in patients looking 10 - 20 years younger,
lasting up to 10 years.
Various types of lasers are used depending on skin
type and severity of the condition:
The carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is the most powerful
laser treatment and is used for deep wrinkles and skin
imperfections. NOTE: Do not use over areas which have
had silicone injections as the laser can burn and scar
the skin over the implanted area.
The erbium:YAG (Er:YAG) pulse laser is gentler than
the CO2 and is effective for mild wrinkles although
many physicians claim it can be as effective in removing
deep wrinkles as CO2 when used to sufficient depth.
It generally has fewer side effects than CO2 laser therapy.
The gentlest laser procedure is the non-ablative laser
resurfacing (NLite). Also known as photo-rejuvenation,
NALR is approved for the treatment of all facial wrinkles
using light energy to gently stimulate new collagen,
and possibly elastin, without removing the skin tissue
itself. Its effects are less pronounced than those of
other laser procedures, however, it can be used on delicate
skin areas, such as the neck and around the eyes and
causes very little irritation afterward.
Hence, the laser type used and the effect of the procedure
varies depending upon the facial area in which it is
- Around the mouth and eyes - CO2 lasers may be better
than Dermabrasion for the upper lip.
- Around the nose - slightly less beneficial.
- Does not eliminate crow's feet, broken blood vessels,
or dark circles under the eye.
- Too harsh for thinner skin layers, such as on the
neck. Newer and gentler laser techniques, however,
stimulate collagen without taking off skin layers
and may prove to be useful for necklines.
- Acne scars – benefits are as yet unknown.
The Laser Resurfacing Procedure
- The Laser pulses painlessly penetrate the skin
quickly, vaporizing water and surface skin without
damaging the deeper layers.
- New top skin grows, and if enough heat is applied
to shorten collagen fibres, it also restores some
elasticity to the skin.
- Some surgeons are using combination techniques
that employ more than one laser technology in one
session to achieve different effects. For example,
one combination technique uses CO2, YAG, pulsed-dye
laser, and one other laser technology to both improve
wrinkles and clear under-eye dark circles and acne
Pre-treatment of Botox [botulinum] injections can be
used, especially effective in the treatment of crows
Redness and irritation occur during the healing process,
and can be severe. (Non-ablative laser resurfacing does
not have the same severe after effects as other laser
For 8-10 days, the face is raw swollen, requiring
continuous moisturizing. A certain degree of redness
and sensitivity can persist for one to four months,
hence the patient must refrain from sunlight exposure
during this period. Silicone dressings may be used to
reduce post-procedure pain and crusting.
- Scarring and infections can occur in about 1% of
procedures, with risk increasing or decreasing depending
on the experience of the surgeon.
- People with a history of herpes simplex may experience
flare-ups of fever, facial pain, and flu-like symptoms
for five or six days afterward.
- It can cause unpredictable and dramatic lightening
of the skin in darker skin types.