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Laser Skin Resurfacing – The Basics

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Fractional resurfacing lasers are a cosmetic procedure that use a laser light to target specific areas of skin damage that have been caused by sun damage, scars, and general aging processes like fine lines and wrinkles. These procedures are done worldwide and are considered safe and effective, leaving the skin smoother and more radiant.

Why should I choose a fractional laser and how does it work?

We use two types of resurfacing lasers at Allure Medical Spa; the DuoFraxel and the Active FX. These resurfacing lasers emit a light that is targeted to treat a specific problem area on your skin such as:

fraxel activefx1. Age brown spots
2. Skin discoloration (from the sun or scars)
3. Acne scars
4. Other types of scars
5. Fine lines and wrinkles
6. Crow’s feet
7. Minor spider veins or other minor vascular lesions like cherry red spots.
8. Loss of skin tone and laxity.

The purpose of the resurfacing lasers is to cause a superficial injury to the layers of the skin where the pigment or problem resides. The lasers emit a beam of light that is targeted to injure the pigment or abnormal skin cells. These beams of light are segmented into columns. When the light hits your skin it creates a grid like pattern leaving healthy skin interspersed between the injured areas. The benefit of a fractional laser is that the untouched healthy skin aids in the healing process. Once the skin cell has been destroyed it will be replaced with a new cell. This process is called cell regeneration and is an excellent solution for treating those troublesome areas. Another added benefit to this treatment is that it stimulates collagen growth that tightens the skin and improves overall texture and tone. The most common areas of treatment are the face, neck, chest, and hands; however, this type of laser can be used anywhere on the body.

What to Expect During and After Your Treatment

Resurfacing laser treatments are performed right here in our office. If you are having only your face treated, it usually takes less than an hour. The lasers are adjusted to different power settings depending on your natural skin color and your targeted treatment areas.
When you arrive for your initial appointment, you will have photos taken for your medical records.

If you are having the Fraxel Dual resurfacing treatment, your skin will be washed and a numbing cream placed on the treatment sites. After approximately 30 minutes, this cream will be rinsed off and you are ready to have your resurfacing laser treatment. A cooling fan is used during the treatment to provide comfort. After the treatment, you may experience minimal to moderate swelling, generalized redness, and no pain. Your skin will flake and peel 2-5 days later. During this healing process, it is important to keep the skin well hydrated with moisturizers.

Active FX is a CO2 resurfacing laser and is a much deeper laser treatment than the Fraxel Dual Laser. Active FX is able to make a dramatic impact on fine lines and deep pigment spots. This laser usually requires a topical anesthetic and oral pain reliever to ensure comfort. Mild to moderate swelling may occur, similar to sunburn, and the skin will flake and peel 4-5 days later. A barrier type of moisturizer should be applied to the skin daily to retain moisture in the skin during the recovery process.

Are you wondering which fractional resurfacing laser is right for you? Schedule an appointment with an expert at Allure to evaluate your skin concerns and to determine which laser treatment would be most appropriate for your concerns.

Written by Dr. Elizabeth Swenor, DO