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Laser Resurfacing

Laser Resurfacing

What is Laser Resurfacing ?
Laser Resurfacing or Laser Skin Resurfacing is a popular facial rejuvenation procedure that uses a laser to correct certain facial flaws due to various conditions affecting an individual’s skin. Laser Resurfacing is used to restore a youthful look and glow to the skin and has become the go-to ‘anti-ageing technique’ recommended by dermatologists worldwide.

However, this technique is misunderstood to be permanent. Laser Resurfacing, much like any other cosmetic procedure turns back the clock on facial features but isn’t permanent. It in fact, assists in more graceful ageing and its results are longer lasting.

How does Laser Resurfacing Work?
Laser resurfacing removes the topmost damaged layer of the dermis and then penetrates deeper into the dermis to stimulate collagen and initiate growth of new and healthy skin.
This procedure helps in removal of fine lines, wrinkles, acne and uneven skin tone and improves texture.

There are 2 types of Lasers used in this procedure depending on the recommendation of your cosmetologist or dermatologist:

1. Ablative Laser:
The Ablative Laser is also known as a ‘CO2 Laser’ that removes the epidermal or outer layer of skin and heats up the dermis which is the underlying skin. This results in the stimulation and regrowth of new collagen fibres quickly, thus giving a more taught and smooth look to the skin. Due to its intense working method it is known as a wounding laser. 

2. Non-Ablative Laser:
This laser is a non-wounding laser which improves the quality and texture of the skin over a period of time. It is primarily done with Intense Pulsed Light Technology and is less invasive than the ablative type, while also having lesser side effects and lesser recovery time, however it is known to be less effective as well. 

What to Expect during the Procedure?
The procedure will be done under an anaesthetic depending on the requirement of the procedure. For more extensive procedures, the patient may be completely sedated if the doctor deems it to be intense.

During the procedure, the intense laser will be pointed directly at your skin. This laser is usually quite powerful, but protective gear will be provided. The laser beam will be directed to the exact locations where treatment is required. The beam destroys the outer layer of the skin and heats up the underlying layer.

The procedure is similar for ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing and takes around 30 minutes depending on the scale of the treatment. The only difference is that ablative laser resurfacing is done in one appointment, where as non-ablative resurfacing may have you take appointments across weeks or months.

What are the Risks and Side Effects of the Treatment?
It is wise to consult your dermatologist before opting in for the procedure since the risks include:

  • Flaring us of acne due to creams and bandages.

  • Scarring due to abrasive laser post treatment.

  • Itching and blotches on skin

  • Redness and Swelling

  • Various skin infections if left exposed for a long while without proper post care treatment.

  • Sometimes, a subtle change in skin color may be observed.

It is therefore highly necessary that you seek out a consultation from your dermatologist before opting in for such a procedure.

It is a very safe procedure and appropriate post care treatment will be informed and provided to you by your dermatologist. For more questions or an appointment seeking any cosmetic treatment, visit Contact us at Dr. Divya Sharma’s Skin and Hair Solution, or visit our clinic in  Whitefield, Bangalore.

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Ablative lasers vaporize the entire upper layer of the skin and cause scabbing and crusting in post operative period. If combined with good postoperative care, they give the optimum results. The non ablative technology does not remove the upper epidermis, hence leaving no downtime and quick recovery. The term “partially ablative” is perhaps more useful for describing treatments in which some but not all of the epidermis is removed. These treatments are associated with an intermediate downtime of greater than 1 or 2 days, but less than 1 week. It is important to note that for a given device, the degree of “ablativeness” depends on multiple factors, including the fluence, repetition rate, and the degree of coverage of the device. Other factors including patient skin types and anatomic sites can also affect the depth of the treatment.

Following are the 2 main types of ablative lasers:

  • A) CO2 LASER - The carbon dioxide (CO2) laser heralded a new era in the field of photorejuvenation. These first CO2 lasers operated using a continuous wave (CW). While providing skin enhancement, the rates of side effects were high, including undesirable scarring. To increase control of how much and what type of tissue would be removed, short-pulse CO2 lasers were developed. However, this technique was still ablative and retained a long 2-week recovery period. Two main types of CO2 lasers are in use today. The first is a high-power pulsed CO2 laser, which operates at 1 millisecond or less (Ultrapulse). The pulses can be used manually at a 3mm diameter or a computer pattern generator can be used. The second type uses the scanning of a CW CO2 laser (AcuPulse). Most of these scanning lasers are fractionated. This second category uses computerized controls to ensure that no individual area receives treatment more than once. The scanning CO2 lasers, as well as other pulsed CO2 lasers, produce equivalent results, side effects, and histologic differences. Both produce hypopigmentation equivalent to the efficacy of the treatment.
  • B) ER: YAG LASER -The erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Er: YAG) laser emits light at the 2940nm wavelength in the infrared range whose wavelength is much closer to the peak absorption range of water and thus has an absorption coefficient 16 times greater than the CO2 laser. This greater absorption decreases the penetration depth into the epidermis by a factor of ten. This is an advantage, as more precise ablation of skin is possible with even less damage to surrounding tissue.

The ablative and non-fractionated lasers are more painful than non-ablative and fractionated lasers. A topical anaesthesia is generally applied for 30 to 60 minutes before procedures. Ablative lasers may require nerve blocks sometimes.

To understand this concept, let us look at the pixels that compose a tv image. The fractionated device treats only certain pixels while the non fractionated device treats every single pixel.

This class of lasers is aimed toward improving texture, mild to moderate wrinkles, and acne scarring as well as treating hyperpigmentation due to sun damage and aging. The neck, chest, and extremity regions are also safely and effectively respond to these lasers. These lasers are also effective in darker-skinned individuals with less risk of discoloration as they induce limited tissue damage and melanocyte stimulation. Treatment can be painful, and topic anesthetics help decrease patient discomfort. 1440 Nd: YAG laser and 1550 nm erbium Glass laser are few examples.

The recovery period depends on the type of laser and the depth of penetration. A CO2 laser may require upto 2 weeks of downtime while newer non-ablative lasers require less than a week or 3 to 4 days. A strict sun protection is mandatory along with usage of hydroquinone or glycolic agents required to prevent hyperpigmentation.

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