Posts Tagged ‘laser’

Facial Rejuvenation in 4 Days

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Two thousand four hundred years or so ago, Cleopatra spent great amounts of effort preserving the legend of her infamous beauty. Such was her power that the succeeding Roman conquerors agreed to preserve her image in Egypt only after her nose was forcibly amputated from every remaining relic in her likeness. Cleopatra was apparently known for her mineral baths and one supposes her facial treatments consisting of products like milk (lactic acid), sugar (glycolic acid), wine (malic acid) and perhaps other ingredients known now to be alpha hydroxy acids.
While it appears she died around the age of 39, she nevertheless would have identified with the needs of our more long lived brethren, who wish to maintain a state of healthful appearance well into our 70’s. For this a multibillion dollar industry has arisen consisting of potions and creams, skin manipulations and therapies, devices, and when all else fails masks of make-up. Notwithstanding products and therapies which have been more or less effective, technology has, in fact, progressed so that skin and soft tissue rejuvenation is a reality which may only be limited by the amount of damage needing repair.
Enter the technology of fractional laser resurfacing. While resurfacing procedures have been around for more than 100 years (maybe thousands), the most common procedures of the 20th century were chemical peels and dermabrasion. By 1990 laser resurfacing became the gold standard in wrinkle removal and scar reduction. All of these techniques, however, were marred by a long healing period and frequent complications of color alteration which could last for many months. Add to this the problem of treating people with skin of color (this phrase was actually used in the 19th century) and all of the available technologies had severe limitations. In the 21st century non-ablative techniques using IPL (intense pulsed light) and infrared laser and heat producing devices were introduced as avoiding the necessary downtime of the ablative (destructive) techniques. Trouble was they didn’t work so well.
Ultimately fractional laser resurfacing evolved. Basically this technique uses an ablative (CO2 or erbium) laser to shoot microscopic holes in the skin leaving islands of undamaged skin between the holes. Several events quickly follow:
• The removed skin is replaced by new skin
• The surrounding islands regenerate new skin in a matter of a few days
• The inflammatory reaction necessary for healing continues to build collagen for months
The miracle of fractional laser resurfacing is that it can treat face, neck, and body; it heals within days and normal color returns within a few weeks if that long; it can be repeated for enhanced results; it costs significantly less than traditional laser resurfacing,; it can be done on a Friday with normal return to work on Monday for most people.
Good-bye wrinkles, withered vine
Sagging skin and aging signs;
Roll back the clock, sound the chimes
Fractional lasers erased my lines.
Edward Lack MD