With numerous laser treatments available at your disposal, finding the right one can be a challenge. Not all lasers are the same – they offer different benefits and capabilities to address specific skin concerns and help achieve your skin goals.
Laser resurfacing is a technique that directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at facial wrinkles and skin irregularities like acne scars. Also known as laser peel, this treatment can help to improve skin imperfections and enhance one’s appearance. We explore a few things you may wish to know about this procedure.
Non-ablative and ablative lasers can carry out the skin resurfacing treatment, but ablative lasers are often chosen for greater efficacy in improving skin texture and tone. It works by removing the thin epidermis layer and heats the underlying dermis to stimulate the production of new collagen fibers. When the epidermis heals, the new skin that forms is tighter and smoother.
The most commonly used lasers in laser resurfacing are these two: carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium.
CO2: It produces a specific wavelength of light in the infrared spectrum (10,600 nm). By creating tiny microscopic areas of thermal damage, the laser can help to kickstart new collagen growth and replace damaged skin surface with new epidermal cells.
Erbium: With a wavelength of 2,940 nm, it targets water in the skin tissue to allow controlled vaporisation of superficial cells and thermal injury, leading to collagen remodeling and healing.
Laser skin resurfacing can help to reduce skin improvements such as wrinkles and fine lines, sun damage, skin laxity, brown spots and acne scars.
Between erbium and CO2 laser, the latter is generally used to treat warts, scars and deeper skin flaws. On the other hand, erbium focuses on more superficial skin issues like minimal saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles.
Because erbium is less invasive, the recovery time is more rapid – but CO2 laser is more effective in improving deeper skin texture issues such as acne scar removal.
In general, individuals who have active acne or darker skin types are not recommended for laser resurfacing. Other circumstances include those with a tendency to form keloid or hypertrophic scars, and people who have taken isotretinoin in the last 6 months.
It’s important to discuss with your doctor and ensure the most suitable treatment for your skin concern and condition before getting the procedure done.
For someone looking to improve mild to moderate skin laxity and wrinkles around the eyes, forehead or mouth, sun-damaged skin, vascular lesions, birthmarks, and skin pigmentation, laser resurfacing may be ideal to help boost collagen formation and enhance the complexion.
Your face will be thoroughly cleaned before the procedure. The doctor will numb the areas to be treated with a local anesthetic. The laser delivers just the right amount of controlled damage to the targeted area of the skin for precise treatment.
Depending on the size of area treated, the procedure can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Because the laser vaporizes the surface layers of damaged skin, the duration of downtime takes longer than non-ablative lasers – ranging between 1-3 weeks in general.
You will be instructed on how to care for your skin during the initial healing process. Redness and skin peeling are common as older skin physically sheds while it is healing. Antibiotic ointment or pills may be given to prevent any infection. It is important to avoid excessive sun exposure during this time, which can cause irregular discolouration or pigmentation on the face.
Edge One Fractional CO2 Laser
With that said, improvements have been made to newer generation of fractional CO2 laser devices to improve downtime and risks of side effects.
As an acne scar treatment, the Edge One Fractional CO2 Laser creates extremely tiny beams in targeted areas, which causes minimal redness and scabbing. This means post-treatment downtime is reduced, all while improving effectiveness. Each zone of the skin shares the same diameter as a shaft of a hair and has columns that extend deep into the dermis to help tackle acne scars at the root. At the same time, micro-inflammation is induced in the small skin areas to trigger the natural repair processes.
A high-powered setting is used during the first stage of the procedure to target each scar. Thereafter, a low-powered setting is set to trigger skin rejuvenation and improve skin texture. Other benefits include smaller pores, reduced facial lines and pigmentation, and youthful-looking skin.
Depending on the severity and type of acne scars, the number of sessions will vary for each patient for optimal results. Initial improvements can be seen in 1-2 weeks and the overall effect can be seen over time as the skin regenerates more collagen.