W hen patients come to me for help with lines and wrinkles, it can be surprising to learn that there isn’t a great surgical option to address these concerns. Instead, I recommend ablative laser treatments.
But just what are ablative lasers, and how do you decide which type of treatment is right for you? I cover all those questions and more, as well as explain the three types of ablative laser treatments in this episode. Listen in to learn how to get the healthy, glowing skin of your dreams!
Dr. Hall: Welcome to The Trillium Show, where we help you make the changes you want to see in your body, in your mind, and in your life. I'm your host, Dr. Jason Hall.
Dr. Hall: I often say that skincare is very similar to dental care in that you’ve got to be taking care of your skin every day and that at the same time, there are things that we can do in our office that really amp up those results. Lasers are a crucial part of that. So, as a surgeon, I spend a lot of time discussing skincare and skin health during my facial rejuvenation consultations. Your skin is really the first thing that people see, so it’s really important that we focus at least some of our time in making sure that your skin looks as good as it possibly can.
Your skin is kind of a window into the rest of your overall health. When we’re discussing surgery, a lot of patients spend time talking about improving lines and wrinkles, and while surgery can help, it can’t remove all of them, or improve all of them for that matter. I did a whole podcast on different types of wrinkles. Go back and check that out and you can hear exactly what we’re talking about. But there are lines that we need to talk about resurfacing to really help improve both the way the lines look as well as your overall skin health.
So, in this show, we’ll be discussing three types of laser treatments. And these fall into the ablative laser category. You know, there are two types of lasers: there are ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. These are ablative lasers, so they’re going to actually polish the surface of the skin if you want to think about it that way. A key to discussing ablative laser treatments is that the deeper that we are able to treat the lines and wrinkles, the better the ultimate result is going to be with a single treatment.
The first type of laser treatment that we’ll discuss is the NanoLaserPeel. Now, this is a very superficial, full-field ablative treatment that is really more of a brightening treatment than it is a resurfacing treatment. This is kind of the weekend laser, so if you have an event on, say, a Saturday, you can do this on Thursday afternoon or even Friday and still be looking good for your event on Saturday. It brightens your skin, gives you a little bit of a glow that minimizes the need for foundation, and again is a very superficial laser treatment. This is a very quick procedure that does not require much in the way of numbing. Most of the light—NanoLaserPeels really don’t require anything than a little bit of cooling that we apply here in the office during the treatment. At most 15, 20 minutes of some topical anesthesia is really all you’ll need.
The treatment itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Again, there is very little or no peeling. You’re a little red after the treatment but really can almost go out to lunch after your treatment. This is a very, very superficial laser that’s really good for brightening. The next day, there really is no recovery, you don’t have to do anything special to your skin, and like I said, it’s a very good weekend treatment getting ready for that big event.
Stepping up in intensity and in results is our MicroLaserPeel. So, if you’ve ever had a chemical peel, this is kind of what a MicroLaserPeel does, but it’s a little bit different. In contrast to a chemical peel, with a MicroLaserPeel, we can kind of determine—we can determine—exactly how deep in the skin we’re going to be treating. And the depth of treatment, like we said at the very beginning—the key to take away—the depth of treatment really kind of determines the amount of downtime you’re going to have from this laser. Now, downtime with MicroLaserPeel involves peeling, as you might imagine, just like a chemical peel.
The MicroLaserPeel is a step up from our nano peel, does require some topical anesthetic in the office, does require some recovery as well. So, you’re going to have 2, 3, 4 days where you’re going to be flaking and peeling. It also results in a little bit more redness than a NanoLaserPeel, and most patients are pink and peeling for anywhere between two and four days. After you get done peeling, just like with a chemical peel, your skin’s not only smoother, some of those wrinkles are gone, but you also have an improvement in some of the very surface pigment in your skin. Some of these sunspots and surface discolorations can go away with a single MicroLaserPeel treatment.
In terms of recovery, depending on your job. You may be able to just take a weekend off and go back after a weekend. Some people go to work peeling and don’t care. Really, that’s a personal decision, but just know that you will be peeling for a few days after your treatment. One of my favorite treatments with a MicroLaserPeel is to combine this with a fractionated laser.
That is going to offer the benefit of not only rejuvenating your skin from the under-surface, which is what the fractionated laser will do, improving a little bit deeper lines, acne scars, surface texture, pore size, and combines that with the pigment reduction and polishing that you get from the MicroLaserPeel. If we combine those treatments, again it is going to be a couple of days of looking red and flaky, but overall not a significant amount of downtime, especially when you compare it with kind of our next step up, which is deep-full-field laser resurfacing.
So lastly, we’re going to talk very briefly about full-field laser resurfacing. And this may be—well, it is—one of my favorite treatments in terms of results. The TRL is full-field, deep laser resurfacing. It gives knockout results. It is by far the best laser treatment in terms of improving surface texture and lines and wrinkles.
It is not the right treatment for every patient. I’ll just start with that. It is not the right option for everybody, but for patients with a lot of pigment, with deep lines and wrinkles, very leathery skin, really the only thing that’s going to offer a lot of improvement is deep, full-field resurfacing. Like a MicroLaserPeel, deep resurfacing can be combined with fractional treatments and for people with really thick, leathery skin, I will combine those two treatments. The results are awesome with a single treatment. Some patients need two.
Just like with any of our laser treatments, multiple treatments can kind of add to each result. And so, deep-full-field resurfacing is by far our most aggressive laser treatment. And so, these are treatments that are done typically in the operating room, either with IV sedation or with general anesthesia, and they also require the most recovery time. Typically recovery time for a deep laser resurfacing procedure is on the order of five, seven, even sometimes ten days. It is a recovery time that really requires you to take care of your skin during that time.
If you’ve ever had a rug burn, and you know, before a rug burn kind of scabs over, how it’s kind of oozy a little bit, that’s what happens with a deep resurfacing. It is kind of gross, I know. We get you started on some pretreatment for this we continue that pretreatment kit in a little bit different way after the laser treatment. And what that does is I want to keep that skin covered, moist so that it speeds the healing process and allows your skin to heal more rapidly and more uniformly so that we get that nice smooth surface skin. But it is kind of a messy recovery for the first couple of days.
You will be red after a deep resurfacing treatment, anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, and after you’re healed, though, that is something that you can use foundation or tinted sunscreen or mineral makeup to help cover that redness. But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that your skin is going to be noticeably smoother, the texture is going to be noticeably improved, after just a single treatment.
So, just to review, we’ve got three main types of full-field ablative laser treatments. There’s our nano peel, kind of the weekend laser peel; then moving a step up you’ve got our MicroLaserPeel which is a little bit more intense, offers a little bit more improvement in lines and wrinkles and pigment; and then you’ve got deep, full-field ablative laser resurfacing, which is going to be better for pigment, it’s going to be better for deep lines and wrinkles, it’s going to be better for skin resurfacing, but as you step up in intensity of those treatments, you also step up in recovery time and, you know, kind of necessary post-procedural skincare. We walk through all of that with you before we do anything, but just know that there’s, you know, different levels of treatment which require different downtime and have different results.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this show. It’s a little primer on full-field ablative laser resurfacing which is really a mainstay of my facial rejuvenation practice. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments or you can reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org Hope you’ve enjoyed it and we’ll see you soon.
Dr. Hall: Thanks for listening to The Trillium Show. You can keep up with the latest on the podcast at jhallmd.com. Be sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you want to connect with us on social media, you can find us at @jhallmd on Instagram and Twitter and @DrHallPlasticSurgery on Facebook. Remember, be the change you wish to see in the world.
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