What is Fractional Laser Resurfacing?
We’re born with soft, smooth, evenly colored skin. As we grow and experience life, things happen that can change that. We might suffer from acne during adolescence. Some women may gain stretch marks from pregnancy. Others may incur scars from surgery or injury. And of course, aging takes its toll on the skin as well. The good news is, you don’t have to live with these scars and marks if you don’t want to.
Fractional laser resurfacing, also called non-ablative (non-wounding) laser resurfacing, is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure intended to minimize the appearance of skin imperfections. Whether you’re bothered by acne scars, stretch marks, or the fine lines that come with age, this gentle laser treatment can help you look better, which will help you feel better about yourself.
What Fractional Laser Resurfacing Can Do For You
Fractional laser resurfacing offers numerous benefits, including:
Acne Scar Treatment
Because the fractional laser has the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin’s surface, various degrees of acne scarring and hyperpigmentation can be treated. The depth and type of scarring will be factors in how effective the treatment is. Your aesthetician will discuss this with you during your consultation.
We highly recommend that before coming in for fractional laser resurfacing, you wait until any active breakouts have subsided, or you first pursue laser acne treatment.
Stretch Mark Removal
Fractional laser resurfacing is an effective laser stretch mark removal method because it’s gentle, and treats both the epidermis and dermis. It’s commonly used to minimize the appearance of stretch marks on the breasts, stomach, thighs and arms. It’s important to note that the fractional laser will work best on newer stretch marks, and may not have much effect on older ones.
Again, because the fractional laser is so gentle on the skin, it’s ideal for treating the signs of aging on the face. Fractional laser resurfacing can make a difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture, and large pores. It can also stimulate collagen production, plumping the skin and improving its elasticity.
Fractional laser resurfacing requires no anesthetic, is virtually painless, and requires minimal downtime.
The Best Candidates for Fractional Laser Resurfacing
The skin can be damaged, or its appearance changed by numerous environmental and genetic factors. Sun exposure, acne, hormones, poor diet, and certain repetitive movements can all contribute to damaged, weakened skin.
The best candidates for fractional laser resurfacing are men and women of any age who suffer from or are bothered by any of the conditions below. The treatment isn’t just for the face, but can be applied to stretch marks and scars on other areas of the body including the hands, neck, and chest.
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How Does Fractional Laser Resurfacing Work?
To perform fractional laser resurfacing at Evincy, we use the Fractional Laser Handpiece. This is a gentle, non-ablative laser that transmits a certain laser wavelength into the skin, which is then absorbed by water molecules in the skin.
The energy is converted into heat, which gently breaks down the treated tissue, causing the skin to heal itself by producing collagen and new, smooth, even skin.
It’s this plumping collagen that effectively minimizes scars and pits in the skin by essentially “pushing out” those divots, and evening the skin surface. The fractional laser penetrates the epidermis and dermis, but does not affect the stratum corneum, the skin’s uppermost layer. This makes it safe for all skin types.
Non-Ablative vs. Ablative Laser Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing can be accomplished by two techniques: ablative and non-ablative. Both techniques use lasers tuned to specific wavelengths to reduce or eliminate the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions caused by aging, sun exposure, and other trauma.
When you come in for your initial consultation with our aesthetician, you’ll be able to explore which type of laser skin resurfacing is most appropriate for your skin condition, and your desired results.
Ablative Laser Resurfacing
In ablative laser resurfacing, laser energy heats the uppermost layer of the skin to evaporate both water and tissue, causing new skin growth. It’s ideal for superficial problems, such as fine lines and minor blemishes caused by aging and sun damage. This option is suitable for skin types I – III. Laser skin resurfacing is an example of an ablative laser treatment.
Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing
In non-ablative laser resurfacing, the laser bypasses the uppermost layer of skin, and penetrates both the epidermis and dermis to evaporate water molecules, thereby encouraging both new skin growth and collagen production. It’s idea for deeper skin problems such as scarring or long-term sun damage. This option is suitable for all skin types. Our fractional laser resurfacing treatment performed with the with our device is an example of a non-ablative treatment.
When will I see results?
Because the lasers implement your own body’s ability to rejuvenate itself, it may be up to six months before final results appear.
How long do fractional laser resurfacing results last?
Depending on the treatment, results can last for several years. Sun protection, a healthy diet, and minimizing alcohol and smoking can help you maintain your results for a longer period of time.
Can fractional laser resurfacing be performed year round?
Yes, as long as you wear a sunblock with a minimum 30 SPF, and cover or protect the treated areas from the sun.
How long do fractional laser resurfacing treatments take?
Treatment lasts about 30 minutes for the face. It may be shorter or longer for other areas of the body.
Can numbing be applied?
Yes. A topical numbing agent can be applied 30 minutes before the treatment to help prevent discomfort.
Who performs the fractional laser resurfacing treatment?
You’ll be treated by one of our certified medical aestheticians who have been trained on the laser, and have experience treating all skin types.
How do I prepare for fractional laser resurfacing treatments?
You must stay out of the sun for two weeks prior to treatment. You must also stop stop taking any photosensitive antibiotics, or using any skin care products that contain harsh ingredients such as: retinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and hydroquinone.
How many fractional laser resurfacing sessions will I need?
The number of sessions will vary based on the severity of your skin condition, the area of your body being treated, and your skin type. On average, six to eight sessions are needed to achieve optimal results. Sessions are usually performed three to four weeks apart, based on your skin type. Maintenance sessions may be required in a few years to keep up results.
How long is the healing process?
The recovery period depends on your skin sensitivity level. The treated area is usually red for two to four days, with minor swelling and a “tight” feeling. Usually, as your sessions progress, the laser settings are adjusted higher to give you the most promising results. Therefore, the healing periods for your first and last sessions may be different.
Who is not a good candidate for fractional laser resurfacing?
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, patients who are on certain photosensitive medications, and patients who have a history of poor wound healing may not be considered for any laser resurfacing treatment. If you have further questions about this, please contact us.
If I am tanned, can I have fractional laser resurfacing treatments?
No. You must wait at least two weeks after being intensely exposed to the sun. Also, if you are going to be tanning in the sun after your treatment, make sure to schedule your appointment a minimum of two weeks in advance. Always make sure to wear a minimum 30 SPF, even on days when it is cloudy. Extreme sun exposure and laser treatments are not a good mix.
How can I maintain my results?
Sun protection is crucial to keeping the results of your fractional treatments from diminishing. Also, maintaining a healthy diet, minimizing your alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking will help. It is important to also stay hydrated and to moisturize with medical grade skin care products like the ones we carry.