Laser and Intense Pulsed Light Treatment
Skin like „milk and honey“ - who wouldn't want to have such a complexion? But life leaves its marks on our skin. Lines and wrinkles are not the only signs of skin aging. In addition, the pores become larger, small vessels appear on the cheeks and nose and the pigmentation becomes irregular, especially in light-exposed areas like the face, décolleté and back of the hands.
The modern tools of fractionated laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy make it possible to remove the traces of aging in a gentle and safe manner. After a series of treatments, the skin displays a finer texture and more uniform color.
How does a fractionated laser treatment work?
For non-ablative (non-destructive or gentle) skin treatment, I use the Palomar StarLux® 1540 with a 1 cm² or 1.5 cm² handpiece. This is a non-ablative fractionated erbium: glass laser which emits lights with a wavelength of 1540 nm. The laser energy is administered as tiny dots or points of energy - the origin of the term fractionated. It passes through the outer layers of the skin without causing changes but creates microscopic tiny thin injury columns in the collagen fibers of the deeper layers. Each area receives multiple passes (exposures) in a session. The treatment initiates synthesis of collagen and elimination of melanin pigment. Since the outer layer of the skin is not damaged, there are no erosions or scabs. Usually 2-3 additional sessions at monthly intervals are needed to achieve maximum results. The skin continues to improve after treatment has concluded as the production of new collagen continues for around 6 months. The skin surface can be numbed with a topical anesthetic cream prior to laser therapy to make the experience more comfortable.
How does intense pulsed light therapy work?
I use a Palomar StarLux® device with a LuxG handpiece for intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. Here both visible and non-visible light with wavelengths from 400 - 1200 nm is directed into the tissue. The targets of the light energy are melanin (the skin's dark pigment) and hemoglobin (the main component of blood) which identifies small vessels. These structures are heated, destroyed and then degraded. The pigment is eliminated, while the small vessels are glued together and closed. In addition, production of collagen is stimulated which improves the structure of the skin. Usually 3-4 treatments at intervals of 2-4 weeks are recommended for the best results. The treatment is relatively painless; anesthesia is not needed.
What happens afterwards?
After fractionated laser therapy, both redness and swelling can appear for 2-3 days. Tiny pieces of treated skin begin to separate away at 3-4 days, but there is no dramatic peeling as was seen in the past with more destructive laser methods. The non-ablative fractionated approach makes the healing process almost unnoticeable.
After IPL therapy, redness is normal but swelling unusual. Both disappear by the next day. Pigment may be lost as tiny dark crusts, resembling perhaps finely ground pepper.
Maximum light protection is needed after both methods in order to avoid post-treatment pigmentation changes. Thus it is wiser to perform this type of therapy in the winter months and not in the sunny summer.
Which combinations are reasonable?
Regular skin booster therapy with hyaluronic acid helps correct the gradual loss of moisture and elasticity in the skin and thus delays the aging process. Similarly, regular treatments with botulinum toxin produce a permanent smoothening of facial skin so that fine dynamic wrinkles cannot develop or become more prominent - botulinum prophylaxis. Fillers and autologous fat can be used to treat static wrinkles, such as in the nasolabial folds, or to restore volume to the corners of the mouth and cheeks.
What else can one do?
A healthy life style also has a positive influence on the skin. Too little sleep, lots of stress, and too much sun exposure, as well as alcohol and nicotine, all accelerate skin aging and should be avoided as much as possible. In addition good skin care is absolutely essential.
In a personalized consultation, I will be happy to discuss with you which laser and IPL techniques are most appropriate for you. If you wish, I will be happy to show you examples of before and after pictures from other patients I have helped.