For centuries, men and women have sought methods to reduce or erase the signs of aging. Men wish to maintain the appearance of virility, while women desire that young glow of unblemished, smooth skin. Various lotions and potions abound in stores, all promising a virtual Fountain of Youth for the price of a bottle. A variety of vitamins, as well as exotic ingredients such as gold nanoparticles, caviar, and silk microfibers, have been touted as the pathway to plump, youthful skin but, in reality, there are only a few proven methods to minimize skin wrinkling, and among them is laser skin resurfacing.
The Problem With Creams and Serums
With very little exception, over-the-counter skin creams do not have the power to penetrate the dermis to act upon the cells beneath the skin’s surface. While a cream or serum may provide the temporary appearance of softer skin as it sits upon the skin’s surface, it cannot promote the growth of two key factors in young skin: elastin and collagen. These two proteins are, literally, the building blocks of healthy, young skin. A slow-down in production of both collagen and elastin begins in our 30’s and continues throughout the rest of our lives, causing wrinkling, sagging and rough skin. While there are some injectable dermal fillers that prompt the growth of both collagen and elastin, there are no creams, serums, or other topical agents with that power. That doesn’t mean you must toss out your night creams and other topical skincare agents, but it does mean that you cannot count on them to eliminate wrinkles, which are caused by actions well beneath and skin’s surface and, as such, must be treated there.
How Laser Skin Rejuvenation Works
First, a question: Do you know why farmers occasionally burn their fields? They perform what’s called a “controlled burn” to eliminate old crops and stubble so they can start with a fresh field. To a much safer degree, laser skin resurfacing is similar in the way it treats the skin: it burns away the surface layer of the skin to reveal the younger skin beneath. This burning also prompts the body to heal the skin by producing more collagen to generate new layers of skin. The production of collagen creates a younger appearance that continues over a period of time before the age-related slowdown continues.
Two Types of Laser Skin Rejuvenation
There are two types of laser technologies for skin rejuvenation. They are (A) Ablative and (B) Non-Ablative. Ablative lasering essentially vaporizes the top layer of skin to tighten the skin and, thereby, correct wrinkles and lines, while treating hyperpigmentation caused by the sun and/or old scars. Non-ablative lasering utilizes less heat and penetrates only about 20% as deeply as does an ablative laser. Because of this, one generally requires several non-ablative laser treatments to accomplish a result similar to that of an ablative laser treatment.
The Gold Standard in Laser Skin Rejuvenation
The oldest and most revered laser skin treatment is the CO2 laser. It produces significant skin tightening, and can remove wrinkles and hyperpigmentation and, to a lesser degree, some facial scars, such as those from acne. It does come with the price of longer healing time than the non-ablative option. After a CO2 laser treatment, patients require about a week to recover, as the skin is initially raw and red. However, the results are often astonishing, which is the reason this laser is considered the Gold Standard. Because the CO2 laser provides maximum results, my Indiana laser resurfacing patients are willing to forego social and business obligations for that week. Healing does continue for 2-3 weeks longer, during which time the pink healed skin can be hidden with makeup.
If you have deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and/or enlarged pores, a CO2 laser treatment can remove years from your appearance, revealing a fresher, more youthful skin surface. Contact my office for an appointment by calling 800-721-2344 or complete this discreet online consultation form. I’ll review all your options for skin improvement, and you can choose the treatment or combination of treatments that best fit your finances and your schedule.
To your health & beauty,
Gus Galante, MD
Board Certified Indiana Plastic Surgeon