How does the treatment work?
Fractional Skin Resurfacing
Fractional laser resurfacing only treats part of the skin leaving uninjured skin around the treatment site that acts as a barrier promoting quicker healing and faster recovery. Both fractional Er:Yag 2940nm and CO2 10,600nm lasers uses a matrix of microscopic laser beams each the size of a human hair to drill into the skin leaving much of the surrounding skin undisturbed. Because nearby cells are not damaged they are able to move into the microscopic injured area and promote rapid healing. The stimulation of a healing response leads to the formation of new collagen in the treated area. In addition to this ‘ablative’ effect on the skin’s surface, there is a ‘tightening’ effect on collateral collagen fibres and a resulting smoothing effect.
The Er:Yag 2940nm fractional laser is recommended for superficial and medium skin resurfacing with maximal penetration depths of 300 um (0.30mm) and downtime of approximately 2-3 days. It is also the laser of choice for skin resurfacing in darker skin types.
The CO2 10,600nm fractional laser is recommended for both superficial, medium and deep skin resurfacing with maximal penetration depths in excess of 750um (0.75mm) Downtime ranges from 7-10 days. It is the laser of choice for lighter skin types with more severe imperfections.
Traditional Skin Resurfacing
Both traditional Er:Yag 2940nm and CO2 10,600nm lasers treat the entire skin’s surface removing the upper layers of skin to reveal the fresher more youthful skin beneath. Due to the need to commit to 10-14 days of intensive wound care, weeks of post-operative redness and risks of pigment change, fractional laser resurfacing is becoming a more popular choice.
What other methods are available?
Deep peels almost always result in redness of the skin lasting several months and are sometimes complicated by eventual lightening of the skin.
Dermabrasion is technically difficult and can result in altered pigment and scarring if the depth of skin penetration is too deep.
Are there any side effects?
The most common concerns regarding laser skin resurfacing centre around pain management during the procedure and post procedure complications.
Er Yag Fractional Skin Resurfacing
- Heat build up occurs in the skin during the procedure and the resulting mild discomfort is managed with refrigerated cold air gently directed over the epidermis. The procedure does not require a topical anaesthetic and most clients describe discomfort as 2 or 3 out of 10 on a pain scale.
- A sunburn sensation including moderate redness and slight swelling of the skin usually occurs and lasts 1 to 3 days. (Make-up can usually be applied 36 hours post procedure).
- Expect mild peeling to take place usually at day 4 to 7.
- Dryness of the skin is treated using CU3 serum or petroleum jelly, forming a seal that prevents further water loss.
- There is a very small risk of pigment change and scarring following treatment.
CO2 Fractional Skin Resurfacing
- Sunblock 3 times daily for 3 weeks prior to treatment
- Hydrate the skin well – moisturize 2 times daily and ensure at least 8 glasses of water are consumed daily 1 week prior to treatment
- 1 week off work is recommended and for 4 days post procedure we advise you remain indoors to protect the treated skin
- All clients are prescribed a 5-day course of oral Aciclovir to commence 24 hours before the procedure.
- A topical anaesthetic cream is applied to the surface of the skin 45 minutes prior to treatment, Most clients describe discomfort during the procedure as 4 or 5 out of 10 on a pain scale.
- Immediately after treatment, most patients will experience severe redness (erythema) of the skin for 1-3 days, however for more aggressive treatments this may last longer. Moderate swelling (oedema) and a severe sunburn sensation are also common post treatment and may last 1-3 days.
- Bronzing of the skin (like an exaggerated tan) will usually occur at day 2 to 5. This is more noticeable in darker skin types.
- Heavy peeling of the skin usually occurs at day 4 to 7.
- Vinegar soaks are prescribed 3 to 4 times daily for the first 3 to 4 days.
- Immediately following the procedure, dryness of the skin is treated using CU3 serum or petroleum jelly, forming a seal that prevents further water loss. This is reapplied by the client after each vinegar soak 3-4 times daily for 3-4 days.
- Sun exposure is avoided for at least 3 months.
Traditional Skin Resurfacing
Post-operative care aims to keep the raw resurfaced skin moist, allowing quick regrowth of the epidermis. Open wound healing is recommended using occlusive ointments. Frequent applications and frequent washing with warm tap water keeps the wound clean as it heals. Mild to moderate pain post traditional resurfacing is expected. Itching may occur, crusting should not be picked off and healing is mainly complete at 7–10 days. Following the initial phase the skin often remains pink. Make-up is applied after 2 weeks; sun exposure is avoided for three months. Complications include post-operative redness and itching, darkening of the skin (post-op hyperpigmentation) lasting on average 3 to 4 months and permanent lightening of the skin (hypopigmentation).
Can all areas of the body be treated and does skin colour make a difference?
All areas of the body can be treated with fractional skin resurfacing but it should be emphasized that these techniques work best on facial skin.
The Er:Yag 2940nm fractional laser treatment is suitable for all types of skin colour, except dark skinned African (Fitzpatrick V1).
The CO2 10600nm fractional laser is suitable for lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick 1-111)
Traditional resurfacing is not recommended for darker skin types due to the risk of lightening of the skin.
What are the costs likely to be?
The initial consultation is offered free of charge with no obligation to undergo treatment. Costs vary depending on the area being treated. Prices start from £200 per session.
How many treatments are needed?
For skin resurfacing utilizing the Er Yag 2940nm fractional laser we usually recommend a series of 2-4 treatment sessions performed at monthly intervals.
For skin resurfacing utilizing the CO2 10,600nm fractional laser we usually recommend 1-2 treatment sessions performed at monthly intervals.
Is laser treatment safe?
There is no evidence to suggest whatsoever that laser treatment can be linked to skin disorders or increased risk of skin cancer.
Our lasers are cleared by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have full CE clearance for Europe.