Aging is an unavoidable phenomenon. The human body shows signs of weakness and dullness as the age increases. Aging is a process that has very visible effects on the facial and body skin. The symptoms include wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Many anti aging treatments are famous among dermatologists, with facelifts and thread lifts among them. Botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid fillers are also seen as the miracle cure for signs of anti aging as they successfully reduce the fine lines and wrinkles and other aging signs easily by paralyzing the facial muscles for months together.
What is the need to look beyond Botulinum toxin and Fillers?
Though Botox is most popularly associated with anti aging treatments, many patients and dermatologists alike are looking for an alternative/adjuncts to Botulinum toxin and non invasive laser technology is fast gaining popularity. Lasers are being increasingly used in cosmetic treatments including anti aging skin treatments.
Non invasive laser technology has arisen mainly due to its simplicity and because of certain unfavourable results or certain targets which are not achievable by only Botulinum toxin and fillers. Though Botulinum toxin has been very popular, the effects that last for few months, may give the face a plastic feel and tight nerved smile, completely altering the original facial structure. If done correctly it can work on muscle relaxation and wrinkles. It does not work on static or formed lines, or the texture and elasticity of the skin. Similarly Hyaluronic acid fillers can only fill up formed wrinkles. This is why laser skin treatments for anti aging are recommended by dermatologists for treating wrinkles and fine lines as well as the quality, texture, collagen rejuvenation of the skin, reduction in sagging etc.
Which lasers can be used for skin rejuvenation and anti aging?
- Intense pulse light (photofacial)
- Nd YAG laser
- Monopolar (Thermage), bipolar (Accent ultra), or tripolar (tripollar) radiofrequency
- High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
- Fractional ablative (co2 or erbium YAG) or fractional non ablative (erbium glass) lasers
What are Fractional Lasers?
Fractional lasers Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fractional Resurfacing laser removes the layers of skin tissue in a fractionated method. This means the columns of skin are removed and the skin surrounding each column is left intact. This aids in healing and helps reduce age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Other problems like freckles or liver spots are also removed by the fractional laser resurfacing treatment.
The fractional laser treatment uses non invasive laser technology and gives best results and can be used as an adjunct to Botulinum toxin, fillers, threads etc. or standalone treatment as well. It takes about a week or two for the results to set in but it is worth the wait. It also deals with advanced skin damage and wrinkling.
The fractional laser procedure requires very little preparation and medications to ensure healing. Based on how deep the lasers are targeted, the level of discomfort might vary. The procedure requires topical anaesthetic and sedative medicine to reduce discomfort. Fractional resurfacing effectively works as one of the best ways to remove wrinkles without the downtime and lessens the rate of complication.
The CO2 fractional laser therapy is used as a skin resurfacing treatment and it combines the effects of traditional carbon dioxide laser and a new application technique. Though lasers were thought to be best wrinkle removal methods, the side effects prevented them from becoming very popular. But the new method has completely changed the scene and dermatologists now recommend the fractional laser skin resurfacing that has zero side effects.
What are the points to note before opting for Fractional Laser Treatments?
- Fractional laser treatments are suited for anyone who has damaged, aging skin that has wrinkles, sagging or irregular pigmentation and texture.
- The treatment is to be used cautiously in skin of colour because it is a slightly aggressive form of treatment and results in prolonged surface healing. If used for dark skin, the treatment is used as a part of a series of treatments and not as a standalone because it can lead to hyperpigmentation if the treatment parameters are improper and hence needs to be done by an expert who has experience with this laser on pigmented skin.
- The fractional laser treatment is not suited for pregnant women or those who are undergoing isotretinoin or accutane based treatment
- The fractional laser does not work well with people who have delayed or abnormal healing condition, or those with cold sores or other virus strains that might lead to complications.
What does the Fractional Laser treatment do?
- It reduces the components of sun damaged skin including fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, uneven coloration, skin laxity, textural irregularities, or a thinned collagen layer.
- The reductions in the above signs are noticeable and immediate but the skin continues to improve over a period of 6 months following the procedure.
- The results of the fractional laser depend on the person’s age and their aftercare routine.
- Patients are expected to refrain from habits that accelerate signs of aging, including smoking and excessive stressing to achieve best results with the fractional laser anti aging treatment
What are the after effects?
Compared to other laser treatments the fractional laser has a downtime of about 7 to 14 days and the skin heals completely only later. This downtime is also associated with redness and crusting (sometimes minor bleeding depending on how deeply the treatment focused). Flaking is also a noted side effect and this means that the patient cannot return to normal routine for a week after treatment. But the results are completely worth the treatment, lasting a longer time than any other procedure.
More information on the procedure can be found at : http://skindoctorindia.com/procedures-and-treatments/anti-aging/lasers/
Dr. Rinky Kapoor of Mumbai, India is a renowned dermato surgeon and cosmetic dermatologists. She co founded The Esthetic Clinic and is the recipient of many awards in the field of cosmetic medicine including the best cosmetic surgeon in Mumbai, India. She has acquired special training in aesthetic care of the skin and body including hair removal and body contouring. She focuses on non surgical techniques and uses laser for most of her treatments.