Have you noticed the ever so youthful pictures of celebrities? Are these natural or do they use skin treatments? Yes, they do because skin treatments like the fractional laser have gained attention not only from celebrities but also from many other people.
The before and after photos of fractional laser seem downright compelling and can give you the same glow and youthful look.
This article discusses Fractional Laser Treatment, its use, procedure and types.
Before moving to Fractional Laser treatment let us discuss what is laser skin resurfacing.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
It is a type of skin procedure performed by dermatologists to help improve skin texture and appearance.
It is of two types:
- Ablative laser including carbon dioxide or erbium
- Non-ablative lasers using pulsed light, pulsed due lasers, and fractional lasers
These treatments are used depending on the individual’s skin type.
Who Should Get This Procedure Done?
You should get this procedure if you have:
Dermatologists recommend that your natural skin tone also determines whether this is the best procedure for you.
People with lighter skin tones are often good candidates for this procedure as compared to darker skin tones.
Studies suggest that this procedure is not suitable for people who have acne-prone skin or excessive sagging skin.
Now let’s discuss laser treatment.
Fraxel comes from treating a fraction of the skin. That is why it is commonly referred to as Fraxel laser treatment.
Fractional Laser Treatment
It is a non-invasive treatment that uses a device to deliver a laser beam divided into thousands of microscopic treatment zones that target a fraction of your skin.
The ablative treatment works on the upper layer of the acne-prone at sun damage and ageing skin.
While non-ablative treatments work on dermal collagen only. It works on both the outer and inner layer of skin.
To understand how this treatment works, you first need to understand the skin.
The skin consists of three layers. These are:
- Epidermis (uppermost layer)
- Dermis (mid-layer)
- Subcutis (lower fat layer)
The uppermost layer consists of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes that are responsible for skin coloring.
The dermis is made of collagen and elastin fibers which are responsible for providing skin toughness, strength, elasticity and pliability.
As our body ages, the appearance of our skin changes. The uppermost layer becomes thinner and blemishes become more visible.
Collagen in the dermis becomes less and we see fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin on our skin.
Fractional laser treatment works on both the uppermost layer i.e. epidermis and the mid-layer i.e. dermis.
As mentioned above it uses a laser beam that is divided into thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment into the skin.
These are called microthermal treatment zones (MTZs)
With each of these zones, old epidermal pigment cells are expelled and penetration of collagen in the dermis causes a reaction that leads to the formation of new collagen remodeling and formation.
In this treatment, MTZs target a fraction of the skin while the remaining tissue remains intact and unaffected. Thus it helps to heal the wound.
This, therefore, helps in a faster healing process than if all the tissue in the area was exposed to the laser.
What Is This Treatment Used For?
This treatment is used for a number of reasons. These reasons are:
- It is used to treat fine lines and wrinkles that appear due to ageing
- When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it causes damage the skin.
- It treats skin pigmentation that is associated with photo-ageing
- If you have ever been into an accident or had acne scars, it is used to treat these scars as well.
Fractional laser treatment is used in any part of the body but it is particularly used on the neck, chest and hands.
Fractional laser treatment is also beneficial for poikiloderma of Civatte and stretch marks.
This treatment can be used on all skin types and patients but the techniques depend on your age, skin type, and sun exposure and body location.
Other laser treatments include cold laser in Jumeirah and Laser Hair Removal which you can get in the Best Laser Clinic in Dubai.
What Does This Fractional Laser Treatment Involve?
The following is the outline of the procedure.
In this step, your dermatologist defines the problem areas and tailors a treatment pattern to target the areas for correction.
Sometimes, bleaching cream (e.g.: hydroquinone) or chemical peel is required for patients with darker skin or pigmentation problems.
You need to remove any jewelry and makeup before the treatment. Your doctor will ask you to wash your face with soap and water.
An anesthetic cream is applied to the treatment area. It takes about 45-60 minutes of anesthesia to take full effect.
After the cream is removed, your doctor will apply a gliding gel which helps to lay down an even MTZ spot pattern.
In this treatment, the gliding gel acts as a contact lubricant for the robotic handpiece to glide across the skin surface.
It takes around 30 minutes but usually depends on the target area as well.
The pain you might feel depends on the energy delivered to the site or treatment area. That is why an anesthetic cream is applied before the treatment.
A cooling device is used to reduce any discomfort during the procedure.
The gliding gel is washed off after the treatment ends.
You might experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour after the procedure.
Moreover, you might see swelling in the area the procedure was carried out but it subsides within 2-3 days.
Within 4 hours of the treatment, new epidermal skin develops and will have a bronze shade for 3-14 days.
Flaking of the skin may also occur as new skin replaces the old skin tissue.
Dermatologists suggest that you should use sunscreen for several months, especially in the treated area.
In many cases, four to five treatments are required depending on the energy level used and your skin conditions. However, these are spaced one month apart.
The results are not immediate and are slowly progressive with optimal improvement visible usually over a three to four-month period.
Ablative fractional laser is more aggressive than non-ablative treatment therefore recovery time is a little longer.
What can you expect after the Fractional Laser treatment?
Most dermatologists suggest that you need to take good care of your skin during recovery and follow the guidelines of your doctor.
It is important that you cleanse your skin frequently and keep it moisturized. After the treatment, your skin might feel like a fine crust but it subsides with time.
Your skin might feel slightly pink for a few weeks until it is healed.
Types of Fractional Laser
A number of fractional laser treatments are used. You can consult your dermatologist about what treatment would suit you better.
Some treatments are:
- Clear + Brilliant
- Palomar IKON
- CO2 fractional
- Fraxel repair etc.
This treatment appears to be well tolerated for many patients but it can cause some side effects and complications.
Some of these are:
- Some patients might face excessive peeling and scaling
- It causes swelling in the treated area but can be reduced with the help of an ice pack
- Some patients can see post-inflammatory pigmentation. It is common in patients with a history of melasma or patients with darker skin types.
Are The Results Instant?
The results of the treatment depend on the target area.
For instance, if you want to get rid of hyperpigmentation you will see results in one session.
However, when you want to remove acne scars or accidental scars, it may take a while to show up.
Benefits of Fractional Laser Treatment
After the treatment is done, you will notice the following benefits:
It minimizes sun damage, acne scars and fine lines
Improvement in the skin texture and evens out the skin tone.
It stimulates collagen for firmer and more youthful skin
Is It Safe?
Studies suggest that this treatment is safe for most people. However, if someone suffers from Melasma it might not be a good choice.
Consult your dermatologist for better treatment as he or she can suggest what is good for your skin.
Who Is Not a Candidate For This Treatment?
This treatment is not safe for certain health conditions. It is not recommended for patients who are currently taking Accutane.
This treatment is also not recommended for people who have a history of difficulty in healing as well as those with bleeding disorders.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are also not recommended to get this treatment.
Fractional laser treatment is a non-ablative treatment that is done by professional and well-experienced dermatologists.
The treatment is done to improve the texture of the skin, to remove fine lines and wrinkles, to help you remove scars caused due to acne or accident, to remove damage caused due to sun and improve collagen production.
This targeted laser treatment is done on your skin that affects only the targeted area while keeping the nearby tissue intact. This tissue helps in healing after the treatment is done.
This treatment causes side effects such as mild swelling, peeling and scaling that subside with them.
As suggested by your dermatologist, you need to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any further damage to the skin.
A healing time of at least 3-14 days is given to the patient depending on the intensity or energy of the laser as well as the targeted area.
Before choosing a dermatologist, carefully consider that he or she is board-certified and well-experienced doctor as this is a very delicate procedure.
The main outcome of this procedure is the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation on your skin, which can be seen after the treatment.
Many doctors recommend a number of appointments usually 3 to 4 Fractional Laser sessions depending on the targeted area and condition.