By Dr. Michelle Henry
In years past, turning back the clock meant going under the knife. Today we have many options for tightening the skin, softening the texture of the skin and reducing skin discoloration, also known as “sun spots,” which are minimally invasive. We can now turn back the clock without ever lifting a scalpel.
Today’s lasers are excellent for rejuvenating the skin. They range from minimally invasive treatments with little to no down time to aggressive to highly effective skin resurfacing treatments for scarred or highly sun-damaged skin.
Not only can lasers diminish many signs of aging – including fine or deep wrinkles, age spots and spider veins – more aggressive lasers and phototherapy can even treat precancerous spots called actinic keratoses.
In my practice, I use a wide variety of lasers to attain the optimal outcome and individualize care for every patient. My choice of laser depends on the patient’s goals, skin type, ethnic background, tolerance for downtime and expectations. Some of my favorites are:
Fractional laser rejuvenation (Fraxel Restore Dual) – Utilizing two lasers – the original Fraxel Restore 1550nm Erbium Yag laser and Thulium 1927nm laser – the Fraxel Restore Dual penetrates the skin, heating the deep dermal layer without vaporizing the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. This stimulates collagen remodeling, gently helping to improve skin tone. It also targets superficial pigment allowing for great reduction in sun spots and discoloration. Recovery is mild and usually lasts less than a week.
1064nm/Laser Genesis (Cutera Xeo) – Laser Genesis is a cutting-edge, non-ablative skin treatment using the YAG laser. The treatment can help you look younger and more refreshed – with no downtime. It works by gently heating the skin, stimulating collagen growth and shrinking swollen capillaries that cause discoloration. My patients love the post treatment glow.
Subtle improvements are usually visible immediately, although we typically recommend 4 – 6 treatments for best results.
Intense pulsed light (Cutera Limelight) – Not a laser, this light therapy if often referred to as a photofacial. IPL has minimal downtime, as it does not injure the surface of the skin. IPL can improve skin texture and color by reducing brown spots, redness and telangiectasia. It can also reduce pore size and for the right patient can be used for permanent hair removal.
Ablative laser resurfacing (SmartXide DOT laser) – This is a fractional CO2 skin resurfacing device that offers patients maximum skin rejuvenation and anti-aging benefits with less downtime than traditional Co2 treatments. With a single SmartXide Laser treatment, issues ranging from sun damage to acne scars are corrected. This treatment is ablative and works through heating the skin causing vaporization of the upper layers, but because it only treats small areas (dots) and not the entire skin surface, the downtime is reduced. This laser is very effective for deeper wrinkles and diminishing aging caused by years of unprotected sun exposure.
Bi Radiofrequency (Thermage) – This is a bi-polar radiofrequency device that can perform both skin tightening on the face and body and cellulite reduction. With just a single treatment session, Thermage can help patients achieve smoother, younger-looking skin and improved body contours.
Multipolar Radio Frequency (Venus Legacy) This treatments delivers Multipolar Radio Frequency and Magnetic Pulse Therapy to the skin to uniformly heat to the skin without damaging the upper layer. This causes collagen synthesis and lipolysis (destruction of fat), ultimately tightening skin and reducing cellulite over a series of treatments.
I perform all of these laser procedures at our Manhattan office. Smaller areas may take as little as several minutes to treat, while larger areas can take up to an hour. I encourage any patient interested in laser procedures to always have them performed by a board certified dermatologist who can safely and effectively understand and manage your concerns.