These lasers use a light to selectively heat up the collagen in the dermis to stimulate collagen remodeling. The superficial part of the skin is spared; therefore, there is no injury to the outer layers of skin. This means that there will be no break in the surface of the skin and you can apply makeup immediately after laser treatment. There is little or no downtime associated with this laser treatment. Because there is no improvement in the superficial part of the skin, patients often do microdermabrasion in conjunction with laser treatment to help smooth out some of the fine lines and pigmentary changes that can be seen. Microdermabrasion also helps by removing outer most layers of skin, which allows better penetration of any topical treatment that you are using.
Other alternatives include microdermabrasion alone, chemical peels or laser resurfacing. Ablative laser resurfacing differs from nonablative resurfacing in that it physically removes the outer portions of the skin, and usually causes immediate tightening of the skin. With laser resurfacing you have more improvement in the outer layers with removal of sun damage changes and more tightening, but an additional 1 week period of down time. Both ablative and nonablative techniques lead to new collagen formation which continues for at least 6 months. Microdermabrasion alone will improve some of the fine lines on the surface of the skin and some of the pigmentary changes, but will not produce significant collagen remodeling or skin tightening.
Although rare, potential complications of laser treatment include pigmentary changes or scarring. As with any injury to the skin, there is a potential for poor healing.
Typically 2-5 treatments are performed at one month intervals and the resulting increase in collagen formation will continue for six months so that maximum benefits may not be noted for six to eight months after this procedure.
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