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THE 21st CENTURY BREAKTHROUGH IN ANTI-AGING!!!
The skin consists of two layers of cells, the dermis and the epidermis. The normal dermis contains a matrix of collagen fibres. Collagen, the basic building block of skin, supplies structure and support to the skin. The skin ages in two ways. Chronological aging is the normal aging process and it is the result of our underlying genetics. Photo aging results from chronic exposure to sunlight and this is clinically characterised by multiple facial wrinkles, pigmentary blemishes, benign and malignant growths as well as a thickened, leathery appearance. This appearance corresponds to changes in the structure of the epidermis and dermis. Sun exposure damages collagen and the normally arranged elastic fibres of the dermis are replaced by abnormal solar ‘elastotic’ fibres. The abnormal fibres do not confer the same elastic and resilient properties of normal skin, which results in the sagging, wrinkled, blemished characteristic of sundamaged skin.
CO2 laser resurfacing is considered the gold standard among dermatologists and plastic surgeons alike for skin rejuvenation. It is capable of repairing wrinkled, sun damaged or acne scarred skin by stimulating a healing response. This results in increased amounts of collagen being deposited below the surface layer of the new skin. The new healthy collagen restores the skin to a state which more closely resembles undamaged, unscarred skin with a corresponding improvement in appearance. The Fractional CO2 Laser offers an effective, skin rejuvenation treatment for those patients looking to improve skin quality, hydration and restore radiance. The fractional CO2 laser can also help tighten the skin.
Studies show that CO2 laser is suited best for patients in their late twenties to early seventies who have a significant amount of skin damage from years of exposure to UV light. The medical approach to treating sun damage in many parts of Australia is still old fashioned and ignores the leaps and bounds we have made over the last 15 years in respect to developments in medical technology. When it comes to treating sun damage, pre cancers and active skin cancers such as basal cell carcinomas, the medical industry often takes a reactive approach. We usually treat these abnormal lesions by cryofreezing or surgically excising them, and then ‘wait and see’ if others appear in its place.
However, an ablative laser can improve the health of damaged skin before it even has a chance to become cancerous while erasing years of sun damage.
How does it work?
Our TGA approved laser is capable of fractionating the energy into tiny columns of light, leaving intact skin in between to help healing and reduce risk and recovery periods. This allows the energy to deeper penetrate the skin without damaging the surrounding tissue and to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis. This gentler approach to laser resurfacing means that this procedure can be done safely within the office setting under a local or topical anaesthetic. Being fractional in nature, the percentage of skin treated can be varied by from 5 to 100%. The percentage coverage determines recovery time to a large extent. Secondly, the depth of penetration can also be varied to treat various skin conditions. We recognise that not everybody can afford the lengthy downtime of 7-10 days, so at Vincentia Laser & Skin Clinic we offer the alternative of a lighter treatment, done at various lower energy levels to tailor the results and downtime accordingly. The lighter treatment will be available at a lower price. The two options will be discussed with you in more detail during the consultation.
Where can you do CO2 laser resurfacing?
Co2 laser procedure can be performed on areas such as:
Around the eyes
Around the mouth
Acne scarring on the cheeks
Full face – for fine lines and sun damage
What is involved in pre laser care?
The first step involves preparing your skin for the laser. A good skin regime is important to get the best result out your laser treatment and reduce the risks of any side effects. Topical retinoids can increase skin turnover and improve the recovery time post procedure. For lighter treatments, daily retinoid cream for two weeks may not be necessary. For a deeper peel antibiotics and anti viral medication will be prescribed prophylactically 2 days before treatment and continued for one week. For patients at risk of post inflammatory pigmentation you will be given a skin lightening cream such as Luminesce which must be applied to the entire face daily for ten to 14 days before the peeling process can begin. This down regulates 6 enzyme pathways that produces melanin and will prevent the possibility of post inflammatory pigmentation PIH that can occur after laser treatment.
With any laser treatment pain is always an understandable concern shared by our patients. The anaesthesia for the treatment will depend on the level of treatment. For lighter treatments, a topical anaesthetic agent may be used without any other forms of anaesthesia. We use a specially compounded topical anaesthetic called ’24/7′. This will need to be applied at least 30 minutes prior to the onset of the procedure. For stronger treatments, it may be necessary to combine a topical anaesthetic with local injections to temporarily block the nerves. Really strong treatments requiring deep sedation is not available here. For the particularly anxious, we can prescribe a short course of diazepam and prescription analgesia prior to undergoing the procedure.
What is involved in after laser care?
Immediately after the procedure you will be given Vaseline to apply on your skin and then 3 times a day for 3-7 days, depending on whether you had a light or deep treatment. It is important to restore the moisture content in the skin and prevent it from drying out. It is necessary to take precautions against exposure to sunlight as the skin will be very sensitive. We suggest using at least factor 30 mineral based sunscreen and wear large rimmed hat if you need to go out. You can apply foundation after day 3 to conceal the redness and peeling. It is our policy at Vincentia Laser and Skin Clinic to review all our Co2 laser resurfacing patients the following day and then again 7 days later.
What to expect from laser resurfacing?
For all patients there will be some degree of discomfort during treatment but usually there is no pain after the treatment. With our lighter treatment the downtime is relatively short, usually just 2-3 days and you will be ready to go back to work. There may be some mild redness and peeling which can be hidden with mineral foundation. After a deeper peel you will experience an intense burning sensation, mild to moderate swelling, redness and acute sensitivity to sunlight. The next day the redness will become more pronounced due to the inflammatory response and there may be some crusting as well. Rest assured that this response is perfectly normal and is actually a desired outcome. Peeling and formation of skin will take about 3 – 5 days with normal resolution of activities returning in about 3-10 days, depending on the depth of treatment
i'm interested, where do I find more information about CO2 laser resurfacing?
Is CO2 laser resurfacing a safe procedure?
As the CO2 laser is very powerful, the discomfort and subsequent down time from this procedure is greater than with other dermatological lasers, however this can be easily minimised with a top anaesthetic or local injection. Fractional Co2 laser resurfacing is significantly safer compared to traditional laser resurfacing which was popular in the early 90s where the entire epidermis of the treated area was vaporised. Nonetheless there is still a small risk of infections and cold sores appearing with fractional resurfacing – hence the need for prophylactic medication. We recommend patients with darker skin types not to have this laser treatment. Likewise, anyone pregnant, breast-feeding, under the age of 21, prone to keloid scars, and those who have taken Accutane in the past 6 months to avoid having this treatment done.
A full skin consultation with Dr White is absolutely vital in order to discuss indications and contra-indications and to assess the patient’s skin. Following aftercare instructions is very important to ensure a successful treatment.