|Problem: acne scars
Treatment: Fraxel Skin resurfacing
Results: healthy, even skin surface
Fraxel is a non-invasive laser treatment that takes years off your face and gives you younger, radiant skin. This laser technology dramatically reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and signs of aging your face, neck, chest, back and hands have accumulated over the course of time.
SEE ALSO: Hand Rejuvenation, Acne Scars, Stretch Marks, Aged, Pigmented Hands, Melasma
How does Fraxel laser treatment work?
Fraxel laser treats a fraction of your skin’s tissue at a time, leaving surrounding tissue unaffected and intact. This is done in order to give your skin the best results. By treating each part separately instead of all at once, the thousands of microscopic laser columns can penetrate deep into the layers of skin to rebuild it from the inside out. These laser columns stimulate your body’s natural healing process to replace the skin imperfections and damaged skin with youthful, smoother, healthier skin.
What will Fraxel do for my skin?
Your skin is made up of different layers and substances: the epidermis, dermis, collagen, and elastin. Collagen and elastin are proteins that keep your skin youthful, firm, and tight. As you age, your body starts to lose its collagen and elasticity which can cause the skin to sag and increase the amount of wrinkles and lines. The microscopic laser columns penetrate deep into your dermis to create tiny wounds which then trigger your body’s natural repair system to heal them. This process speeds up the production of new collagen and elastin, rejuvenating your face with tighter, younger skin. By only affecting a fraction of your skin at a time, your skin can heal much faster than if all of your skin was treated at once.
What conditions does Fraxel treat?
Fraxel laser treats numerous skin conditions such as all levels of sun damage, wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Fraxel restores your skin’s texture and surface, refines the fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, and treats discoloration and uneven pigmentation on your body. It also reduces the appearance of acne scars and surgical scars. Fraxel laser will create smoother and healthier skin not only on your face, but on your neck, chest, and hands.
Who is Fraxel for?
Fraxel is for men and women of all ages who want to better the appearance and texture of their skin. With numerous types of treatments, Fraxel has different options for your unique skin type. Whether you are just starting to see wrinkles or want to reduce the deep lines in your face, there is a Fraxel treatment for you. Fraxel laser is safe and effective on all skin colors because it does not target melanin.
What should I expect during and after the treatment?
During your consultation, Dr. Brownell will determine which type of Fraxel laser treatment is best suited for you.
On the day of your treatment, the area of your skin that is going to be treated will be cleansed thoroughly. A topical anesthetic ointment is then applied to the surface of your skin. It will take about 60-90 minutes for the anesthetic to begin working and then your treatment will start. The laser treatment will take about 30 minutes for the entire face.
Your healing process will begin with some redness, swelling, or a mild sunburn sensation, with virtually no discomfort. This lets you know your skin is healing from the inside out. The skin will have a pinkish tone for five to seven days. This is a normal sign that the skin is healing deeply, that dermal tissue is being repaired, and there is good blood circulation. Swelling is minimal and generally resolves in two to three days. You may apply make-up or shave soon after treatment.
New epidermal skin develops immediately, within 24 hours. This process of skin repair involves:
- Bronzing: Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from 3 to 14 days, depending on the treatment level.
- Flaking: Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as the reorganized epidermal skin replaces dead tissue. Flaking is similar to that of minor sunburn, but without the associated pain. Use of a moisturizer will mask the appearance of flaking.
Depending on your type of treatment, you can return to your regular routine in as little as a couple hours or up to a few days. Recovery will take anywhere from a couple of days for lighter resurfacing procedures to more than a week for deeper procedures.
What is Melasma, Why Does it Occur?
Melasma is a skin condition that is characterized by irregular patches of pigmentation on the face. The tan or brown patches often occur symmetrically on the cheeks, upper lip, forehead or nose. It is the symmetry of the melasma that distinguishes it from other pigmented skin conditions.
In areas of melasma, melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are increased in number, and each of these melanocytes produces more melanin. An increase in melanin leads to the tan or brown discoloration found in melasma.
At this time, the cause of melasma is not fully understood, but the following factors are considered to play a part in the formation of these patches:
- Hormonal changes
- Sun exposure
- Oral Contraceptives
Melasma has no known association with internal disease as some skin conditions do.
What are Acne Scars, Why Do They Occur?
Acne scars form wherever acne advances to the point of injuring tissue. These injuries lead to depressions or indentations that occur from the skin’s natural healing process. These scars contain reduced amounts of collagen, have irregularly structured dermal fibers and usually lack elasticity. Successful treatment of a scar requires both the removal of damaged epidermal tissue and the stimulation of new collagen to improve tone and texture.
Acne scarring has been difficult to treat with even the most aggressive traditional approaches – topical agents, abrasion therapies, surgery and conventional lasers – either achieving only moderate results, or else destroying unacceptable amounts of healthy tissue along with the scar. This has been a major disappointment to patients who must carry the stigma of adolescent acne long after their skin is free of active acne.
Effective Acne Scarring Treatments
Fraxel Laser treatment is FDA cleared for acne scarring; it is far more effective than traditional therapies at gently repairing epidermal abnormalities and reaching deep into the dermis to induce collagen formation, all with a rapid healing time. This gentle non-ablative skin rejuvenation is now available to people of all skin types for the treatment of acne scarring.
We can combat the signs of aging, such as age spots, with a plan of treatment specific for you. Dr. Brownell can help minimize the size and progression of aging in a healthy, safe, and effective way.
What are Age Spots, Why Do They Occur?
One very common sign of aging is the age spot. Age spots are also known by many as sun spots, liver spots, lentigos, or lentigines. Age spots are flat, tan, brown, or black in color and appear on areas of the skin that have been exposed to sun. As we age, sun spots appear on the backs of our hands, our forearms, our neck, chest, and face. The pigment-producing cells in the skin are activated to produce more pigment by ultraviolet rays. While these spots are not cancerous, patients may be at risk for developing skin cancer if they have age spots.
What causes Age Spots?
Age spots increase in number as we age and as we are exposed to the sun. People who sun burn easily and who freckle easily are more likely to develop age spots than those who do not burn easily. It is very important that patients realize that if you have had enough sun exposure to develop age spots, your chances of getting skin cancer are higher.
What do age spots look like?
Age spots vary greatly in size and shape and color. They can be as small as pea-sized or as large as a dime. Age spots are typically round and have irregular borders. Age spots are most commonly found on the areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun: shoulders, forearms, upper back, face and the backs of the hands.
Treatments for Age Spots
The best treatment is preventative, avoid sun exposure and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Age spots can be treated with the following:
- Fraxel Laser treatment
- Chemical Peels
Laser therapy is a safe and effective treatment for sun damage or wrinkles. Advanced laser technology utilizes laser energy that is selectively absorbed by the pigment in the age spot and does not harm the surrounding skin. This is especially good news when we are treating the face.
What are Wrinkles, Why Do They Occur?
As we age, our skin wrinkles because our epidermal cells become thinner and less elastic When the cells become thinner, our skin looks noticeably thinner, and the decreased elasticity of the cells decreases the effectiveness of the barrier function, which allows moisture to be released instead of being kept in the skin. This is what causes dryness of the skin. Every decade, the number of epidermal cells decreases by about 10%, and they divide more slowly making the skin less able to repair itself quickly.
In addition to causing skin to be thinner, aging also affects the dermal layer by producing less collagen. The elastin fibers that provide elasticity wear out, and this causes the skin to wrinkle and sag. Our sebaceous (oil) glands get larger but produce less sebum and the number of sweat glands we have decreases.
Causes of Aging Include:
- Most of the signs of aging we face are caused by exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB damaging rays.
- Hormonal changes also affect the quality of our skin. When women go through menopause, the amount of estrogen produced is decreased.
- Facial expressions can also cause the skin to wrinkle as it loses elasticity. When the tiny muscles around the eyes permanently contract, the result is frown lines and crows’ feet.
- Gravity is another factor related to aging. The effects of gravity make the loosening of the skin obvious causing “jowls” and drooping eyelids.
Dr. Brownell often combines Fraxel with botox and fillers in order to maximize your treatment.