By Samantha Gluck
Throughout our lives, environmental pollutants, sun damage, and aging take a toll on our skin. Laser resurfacing is an option to help reduce the visible and non-visible impact they have on our appearance. Depending on the type of laser device, the procedures can resurface the skin to reduce wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, scars, and other imperfections. The process involves directing tiny, highly concentrated beams of light at the problem areas. The light removes small layers of skin, resulting in an even, smooth skin surface.
Medical professionals and aestheticians have a wide variety of laser skin resurfacing systems to choose from, but these are the most popular:
Fractional CO2 Laser
CO2 lasers represent one of the most powerful and effective tools for skin resurfacing and rejuvenation. In addition to removing a small layer of skin cells, the process also stimulates collagen production, which increases volume and firmness of new skin cells. The sessions can take anywhere from 90 minutes to a couple of hours. CO2 lasers are ablative, meaning there is discomfort and you’ll need several days to a couple of weeks to recuperate before returning to normal.
HALO Hybrid Fractional Laser
This system can deliver both ablative and non-ablative wavelengths of light to the same treatment area. This hybrid feature means you get great results with minimal downtime. It works on visibly damaged skin as well as damage you can’t see, deep within the dermis. Most patients report only minimal discomfort from heat during the session.
The Contour TRL (tunable resurfacing laser) treats sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, skin laxity, acne scars, and texture and tone. Like other lasers, it stimulates new cell and collagen growth, but it’s different because it allows specific targeting of problematic lines around the mouth and eyes. Many professionals regard it as the safest and most effective laser in use today.
Broadband Light Therapy
Also called BBL, this system belongs to the new generation of Intense Pulsed Light therapies. Some professionals refer to BBL procedures as a photo rejuvenation or photo facial treatment. It treats sun damage, rosacea, vascular lesions, hyperpigmentation, and active acne. Like the others, it rejuvenates collagen production and improves skin texture.
Sessions take about 30 minutes and some people request numbing cream for the face prior to treatment, but most people don’t think this is necessary. As your skin heals, you’ll see dark patches and dry areas. Just keep moisturizing. Downtime is minimal. The day of the procedure, it’s best if you just chill at home, but after that, feel free to apply makeup as usual.