Fractional Ablative Laser Resurfacing
Over time, skin loses its youthful look and gives way to brown spots, wrinkles and laxity. The Palomar laser resurfacing is clinically proven to make skin smoother and tighter, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve tone and texture with a single treatment. The Palomar 2940 laser is a fractional ablative laser used to treat deeper wrinkles and textural irregularities of patients with moderate sun damage and signs of aging. The unique Groove Optic pattern of this laser offers high ablative coverage with fast recovery and less downtime. This is a great option for patient willing to have about 1 week of downtime with substantial results in one treatment session.
The laser resurfacing treatment is a great option for deeper wrinkles and sun damage because:
- One treatment as opposed to a series
- Significant results post one treatment session
- Deeper skin tone and texture improvement
- Minimal risk of complications
Fractional ablative skin resurfacing technology vaporizes micro-columns of tissue in your skin and removes it from your skin completely, allowing formation of new healthy skin cells. One treatment may provide significant improvement for more severe skin conditions such as deeper wrinkles, enlarged pore size, and deep pitted acne scars. When compared to traditional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing, this laser produced similar results with much less downtime and produced impressive changes in skin texture, removal of wrinkles, and acne scarring.
Our laser resurfacing treatment can also be used in conjunction with our non-ablative 1540 laser. This dual-wavelength laser treatment utilizes both ablative and non-ablative technology with the ability to fine tune each one depending on the treatment goals. Many times sun damage and signs of aging cause changes in the top layer of the skin (epidermis) that benefits from ablative treatment and in the lower layers of the skin (dermis) that benefits from non-ablative treatments. During your consultation, your medical provider will recommend which or both lasers that you would be a candidate for depending on the condition of your skin and aesthetic goals.
What is the difference between ablative and non-ablative lasers?
Ablative laser treatment uses a laser wavelength to vaporize microscopic columns of tissue deep in the skin. It is a more aggressive procedure used to treat more severe skin damage. The newest ablative lasers use a fractionated light beam that preserves columns of normal skin which aids in healing, like the laser resurfacing.
Non-ablative laser treatment uses a different type of light beam which penetrates deep in the skin to stimulate new collagen production, such as in our 1540 fractionated laser. The surface skin is intact resulting in faster healing than ablative laser treatment, but usually requires a series of treatments.
How long does a treatment take?
Treatment of the full face with any of the resurfacing lasers takes about 40 minutes- 1 hour. Typically patients arrive an hour early for application of a topical numbing cream 1 hour prior to the procedure.
How many treatments are needed?
The laser resurfacing usually only require one treatment. As opposed to our non-ablative fractionated laser which typically requires 3-5 treatments for mild sun damage and 5 treatments for acne scars, depending on severity.
How long will it take to heal?
Healing takes about 1-2 weeks for ablative laser resurfacing. After one week, patients can wear makeup and go back to daily exercise routine. You will see swelling the first two weeks after treatment but this is the immediate effect of the laser treatment. New collagen production does not begin for 3-6 weeks after your treatment and visible improvement is usually seen by an average of a month to 3 months post treatment.
What are the side effects?
Most patients do not have any complications. In patients with darker skin types, temporary bronzing of the skin or brown spots can occur. The pigmentation usually resolves in 4 weeks or less. There can be a rare risk of skin infection with herpes simplex, if you are prone, or bacterial infection so follow your medical provider’s instructions carefully. You may be prescribed a medication prior to your treatment to virtually eliminate this risk.
When will I see results?
You will see initial results between 7-10 days after your laser resurfacing treatment, but your skin will continue to improve over time. Most patients see the greatest improvement in the first 2-3 weeks. This is followed by a dermal regeneration phase that continues to improve for months post your treatment.
Is the procedure painful?
Most patients tolerate the procedure very well after application of topical anesthetic cream plus oral over the counter pain relievers (Tylenol). Patients who are anxious may benefit from a short acting anti-anxiety medication right before treatment.
How long will my results last?
Your 2940nm laser results will last for years to come, but you should continue to keep your skin protected at all times using UVA/UVB sunscreen to protect your new, healthy skin.