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Laser Treatments for Ageing Skin

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 20 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Laser Skin Treatment Anti Ageing Skin

One of the most effective weapons in the fight against ageing skin is laser skin treatment. Laser resurfacing is an anti ageing skin treatment in which a laser “vaporises” the top layer of facial skin in a very controlled procedure, revealing the newer, fresher skin beneath.

This anti ageing skin treatment has overtaken the surgical facelift in popularity as the anti ageing skin treatment of choice. It can help in reducing the wrinkles and fine lines caused by sun exposure and general wear and tear of facial muscles, as well as remove acne scars and smooth out the folds and creases around the mouth and nose. In many cases, it is also used to treat benign and pre-cancerous superficial growths.

Benefits of Using Lasers

Lasers offer a host of benefits in cosmetic surgery: unlike knives, they do not cause excessive bleeding and can actually help to stop bleeding by coagulating the tissues. Furthermore, in the hands of an experienced plastic surgeon they can reach many internal areas more easily than a scalpel while the wavelengths unique to the laser light enables the surgeon to selectively treat different types of tissues, without affecting others nearby.

Laser also has the ability to stimulate new collagen formation. Since collagen plays a crucial role in the skin’s connective tissue and in maintaining its elastic texture, few collagen production following laser treatment gives the skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.

In fact, laser skin treatment can enable a patient to look up to 20 years younger, with results lasting for up to a decade. It is small wonder that this anti-ageing skin treatment is so popular!

Risks of Laser Skin Treatment

Despite its benefits, laser skin treatments also come with certain risks. Some of the side-effects and complications of laser resurfacing are usually temporary, such as skin redness, tenderness, pigmentation changes and easy flushing. However, other complications may be permanent, such as the risk of hypo-pigmentation – a lightening of the skin – and discolouration of the face.

In addition, in about 2% of cases, post-treatment scarring may occur – although this is usually due to poor care after the treatment and a resulting infection. Alternatively, an inexperience surgeon may apply the laser inappropriately during the procedure and penetrate too deep into the skin, burning a “wound” which cannot be repaired and covered with smooth, renewed skin.

Is Laser Skin Treatment Right for You?

Certain individuals make better candidates for laser skin treatment. For example, those with sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate the lubricants and medications required during the recovery period; others who have darker skin may find that the risk of discolouration is too great or too unpredictable. An experienced, qualified plastic surgeon should be able to assess your suitability and discuss your options.

In addition, your mental attitude and expectations are important. This is not an “instant-results” procedure and there can be considerable swelling and bruising following the laser treatment. Most patients will have to remain indoors for up to 10 days and endure skin on the face which may be oozing, scabbed, bruised, raw or crusty-looking.

Make-up most not be applied until at least 10 days of healing has passed and a rigorous post-treatment care regime must be adhered to, which includes applications of skin lubricant, proper skin cleansing and the frequent dressing changes.

And while results are good and generally deliver an improvement of 50% or greater in appearance, laser skin treatment does not guarantee flawless skin. Nor can it tackle ageing issues such as sagging skin, jowls and neck. These require traditional surgical methods to lift and tighten the skin.

Finally, like all cosmetic surgery procedures, skin laser treatment will not prevent further ageing and it is important for all patients to avoid sun exposure and use sunblock to prevent further sun damage and ageing of their skin.

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