Laser Skin Resurfacing for Age Spots

By Dr. James White

Age spots; those ugly brown indicators of skin maturity. We hate them and their partners in crime, wrinkles. Unfortunately, our skin is an unforgiving, historical record of exposures. Exposure to chemicals, exposure to trauma and exposure to sun. Most brown spots are skin stains caused by sun damage and the first line of defense is SPF 30 sunscreen (or higher). To improve already existing brown spots, there are several different forms of treatments. Photodynamic therapy, chemical peels and laser resurfacing are the mainstay for the treatment of sun spots and wrinkles.

CO2 laser resurfacing

Skin Resurfacing is a medical procedure which modulates the skin to have a more youthful appearance. Some skin resurfacing devices, such as CO2 lasers, use the ablative method: removing the epidermis and some of the dermis as a deep, thermal injury. Basically, a second degree burn, the ablative method is quite invasive. While a great result is eventually evident, the drawbacks include red, raw and unsightly skin and risk of infection for several weeks after the treatment. The injury inflicted by this laser is actually quite impressive. Most patients require two to three weeks of down time, out of the public eye, after CO2 laser ablation. However, the results are impressive with the growth of new, pink and supple skin.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)

Other devices use the non-ablative method:sending light pulses into the dermis, while leaving the epidermis intact. This method is called IPL or intense pulsed light therapy. This IPL therapy allows quick recovery, but when the light pulses don’t penetrate far enough into the dermis, the change in skin tone and texture is negligible. Therefore the options: great results with extensive downtime or limited results with no downtime.

Fractional Skin Rejuvenation

Thankfully technology has yet advanced. Fractional non-ablative skin resurfacing is now available. So what makes fractional non-ablative skin resurfacing different?

Fractional skin resurfacing is the only method which offers both excellent results and no downtime. Fractional skin treatments deliver laser light in an array of narrow, focused “microbeams” to create columns of heat within the skin. These “microbeams” penetrate deep into the dermis for the most effective, long-term results obtainable. The heated tissue within the columns starts a natural healing process that forms new, healthy tissue. This results in a decrease in sunspots, fine lines, wrinkles and acne scarring, and a fresher, more youthful skin tone and texture.

Now for the down side of fractional therapy. A series of treatments may be required to achieve the desired results. Fractional skin rejuvenation is designed to alter only portions of the target skin tissue. Think of it as digital tissue editing. Fractional skin rejuvenation creates millions of microscopic, thermal columns within the skin. Together these micro-treatments cause a change in the collagen and elastin below your skin’s surface which gradually improves the appearance of your aging and sun-damaged skin. It also results in a healing process with minimal downtime.

The number of fractional laser treatments varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of the condition, the skin type and the desired results. Most patients choose fractional skin resurfacing to decrease sun or age spots, decrease fine and moderate facial wrinkles as well as decrease the appearance of scars and stretchmarks.

For a complimentary consultation call 423-648-4011.