Dr. Daniel E. Rousso just returned from two meetings recently, the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)
Everyone enjoys being outdoors no matter the time of year. It is important to keep in mind the damaging UVA and UVB sun rays that we expose ourselves too when we forget to apply or re-apply sunscreen for protection. Too much “fun in the sun” without the proper sunscreen protection can dramatically add to the skin’s aging . Hopefully, you use a good sunscreen for skin protection. But even with the best sunscreens, you may be noticing some new fine lines and wrinkles that you didn’t notice last year. Besides the protective effects of sunscreens, there are many things that can actually help reverse many of the damaging effects the environment can have on our skin. Procedures in our clinic which we have found to be effective include: light, medium, and deep chemical peels, dermabrasions, microdermabrasions, and laser skin resurfacing.
Though perceived as something magical, the laser is actually a highly complex, concentrated light source. There are many different types of lasers used in medicine, depending on their wavelength or “color” of the light emitted. Lasers have been used for a number of years to help rejuvenate the skin.
Early, carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers were designed to remove the upper layer of skin in a very precise fashion. This resulted in a predictable, controlled depth of effect, removing the sun damaged portion of skin. This allowed for a rapid healing process with fewer complications than with conventional resurfacing techniques.
The Erbium laser is similar to CO2 in it’s effect on the skin yet it is even more precise. We have been using a specialized Sciton-Erbyium laser for the past 15 years with excellent results.. This laser can achieve dramatic improvements in wrinkle reduction, can improve pigment irregularity, and remove many pre-cancerous areas from the face. There is less potential for scarring and hypopigmentation (skin lightening) than with CO2 lasers, and the healing process is quicker (7-9) days.
Initially, the skin will be moist and sensitive, similar to a mild burn. Ointments are applied to the face to help moisturize and heal the skin. This usually continues for 7-9 days, after which, the skin will be pink, similar to a sunburn. The procedure can be performed in our clinic under local anesthesia with IV sedation.
Laser skin resurfacing has been found to be most effective removing moderate and fine lines around the lips, eyes (crows feet) and forehead area, although it is beneficial for the entire face.