Skin Resurfacing: Lasers and Chemical peels
Having performed plastic surgery for over 24 years now, it is amazing how far we have come in the skin resurfacing arena. The number of laser option for improving skin has risen exponentially, and there are dozens of skin peels from most of the major skin care lines. Skin peeling has been around a very long time, and the original aggressive peels were the “Phenol Peels.” To this day, a well done phenol peel can do a surprising job at improving wrinkles and tightening and resurfacing the skin. The problem is that the old school phenol peel can be a bit unpredictable, and it has a high incidence of bleaching out the skin too much, which can make you very pale from that point onward. This severe lightening of the skin made the phenol peel fall out of favor as new options in peeling and lasers came about. Experience with the first aggressive laser resurfacing had some of the same issues as the old phenol peels did. Early Carbon Dioxide lasers (CO2) provided a great deal of control by lasering how much and where you wanted. However, many people became very pale after the treatment, or, if too aggressive a treatment was done, a scar could result from the laser burn. Now, the lasers we use for facial or neck resurfacing are much more controllable and can be tailored more to the desired outcome. Most of the current lasers, like ours, are what we call “fractional.” When the laser is performed over an area of skin, it leaves micro areas between the laser pulses that don’t get hit by the laser, so there are micro uninjured spots that aid in healing as the skin recovers. As we do extra passes of the laser over an area of treatment, the laser hits slightly different spots, so you can be as mild or aggressive as you choose, depending on the energy settings and the number of passes. This control let’s us dial in how much to treat different areas, such as the thinner skin around the eyes versus the thicker skin of the lips or nose. It’s not one setting fits all. We can constantly adjust the laser to the type of skin, the thickness of the skin, and the needs of the patient. Just like refinements in the lasers for resurfacing, the peeling techniques are constantly adjusted and refined, so we are less likely to injure the skin rather than help the skin regenerate new fresh layers of fresh even toned skin. We have numerous options from mild to aggressive skin peels. Mild peels done through the Med-Spa have the advantage of little to no down time, and the skin keeps getting brighter and fresher with each mild peel spaced over time. Patients who want a peel to get more accomplished a bit quicker and can accept a few days of down time will have Dr. Nelson perform a TCA peel to improve the skin quality. It is very common for patients to consider a TCA peel during a facelift or similar procedure because they know they will have a few days of down time from this surgery anyways. The team will always work with you to determine what is your best fit for results versus recovery time. Appropriate skin care treatments will be part of the program to hasten your recovery and help get the best results for each type of procedure, whether a peel or laser.