31 Jan Simplifying Skin Resurfacing
In speaking to patients I try to communicate thoroughly and clearly. However, sometimes I am guilty of using medical terms that are not readily digested in a blog post. That can lead to frustration and confusion on multiple levels.
This week I was asked what I mean when I say resurfacing of the skin.
Resurfacing of the skin is undertaken by a number of techniques to change the texture, general appearance, and health of the skin.
Commonly employed resurfacing techniques include:
- chemical peels
- laser resurfacing.
Resurfacing can be ablative (tissue destroying) or non-ablative. Healing and downtime will obviously vary depending on the technique used. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and some lasers are ablative tools and have prolonged healing periods. Non-ablative lasers (e.g. PicoSure and Fraxel) minimize healing and downtime.
Skin resurfacing can be undertaken for cosmetic reasons such as minimizing lines and wrinkles, scars, or eliminating benign pigmented lesions. It is also a valuable tool for the treatment of medical conditions such as precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses.
Chemical peels can be superficial, medium, or deep in effect depending upon which of a variety of caustic agents are applied to the skin and how long the chemical is left in contact the skin.
Dermabrasion is a technique in which skin is removed layer by layer either by hand or with a mechanized wheel impregnated with bits of diamond or fine wires. As with chemical peels the depth of treatment is determined by technique employed.
Laser resurfacing has evolved over more than two decades. First generation lasers were ablative. They were capable of producing excellent results, but their use resulted in long periods of healing and results could be complicated with scarring and pigment change. Various technological alternatives were explored resulting in advancements such as the development of non-ablative, fractionated lasers. While there is still a role for ablative, fractionated CO2 laser treatments (e.g. Fraxel re:pair) they are less commonly employed than non-ablative technologies.
Fractionated, non-ablative laser technologies deliver excellent results with fewer side effects and less downtime than ablative technologies. PicoSure represents an advance over all other non-ablative technologies in that superior results are achieved with fewer treatments and no downtime.
To put it in the most simple of terms: PicoSure is the best technology available for skin resurfacing.