Laser skin resurfacing, also referred to as fractional skin resurfacing, is a method of skin rejuvenation indicated to improve the appearance of moderate to severe sun damage, lines, wrinkles, and scarring. Typically, fractional skin resurfacing falls into two categories – non-ablative and ablative. At Vitality Dermatology, we have the capability of performing both treatments in order to meet your aesthetic goals while taking into consideration your specific lifestyle, downtime, budget, and overall expectations.
Non-ablative skin resurfacing means when the laser pulse is delivered, it passes through the skin, leaving the top layer of epidermis intact, unaffected by the laser energy. At Vitality, we use the ResurFX™ 1565nm fibre-length laser on our M22 platform to perform this procedure. You can expect a series of 3-6 treatments spaced out 4-6 weeks apart. The advantage of non-ablative skin resurfacing is that this procedure has minimal to no downtime, with only mild redness or swelling 1-2 days after treatment. Most patients can easily have this procedure on Friday and return to work Monday morning. Non-ablative skin resurfacing works by stimulating new collagen in your skin over the course of your treatments. To learn more about non-ablative skin resurfacing with the ResurFX™, please see our Skin Rejuventation page.
Ablative skin resurfacing generates beams of coherent light that are absorbed by the body’s tissue as energy. The energy is delivered through a narrow range of wavelengths, and in the target area, the energy causes temperature elevation which results in tissue evaporation or ablation. Ablative lasers effectively treat a broad range of skin conditions by removing all or part of the skin. The body’s natural healing processes then replace the damaged skin with new and healthy tissue. Although several types of ablative lasers exist, differing mainly by wavelength, CO2 lasers have long been considered the industry’s ‘Gold Standard’ for ablation, delivering an exceptional ratio between ablation and coagulation (heating tissue without evaporating it).
How Does A CO2 Laser Work?
CO2 lasers produce light at a 10,600nm wavelength, which is absorbed by water in the tissue. The laser energy heats up the water until it reaches a boiling point causing the evaporation of the affected tissue. Some heat is absorbed by tissue adjacent to the ablated target area, causing tissue coagulation which induces hemostasis (the cessation of bleeding) as well as thermal stimulation of deep skin layers, which induces fibroblast stimulation and neocollagenesis (the formation of new collagen). The laser beam can also be transmitted through a scanner which is a device used to further control the delivery of energy. The scanner regulates the configuration of energy delivered onto the skin, which can range from covering the entire treatment area or just a fraction of it (leaving the areas in between untreated); (also referred to as fractional ablation). The overall effect of ablation and coagulation, either full or fractional, is the removal of skin and the stimulation of the body to replace it with newer, younger skin.
The Lumenis® UltraPulse®
At Vitality Dermatology, we are proud to offer the Lumenis UltraPulse®. The UltraPulse is an FDA-approved CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser skin resurfacing device that can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions and aesthetic concerns. There are different modalities on the UltraPulse depending on your aesthetic goals. These include ActiveFX™, DeepFX™, TotalFX™ and SCARRFx™.
With DeepFX™ | ActiveFX™ your provider can offer you amazing results on a range of skin aging concerns, from deep wrinkles to fine lines and uneven skin tone and texture. DeepFX™ and ActiveFX™ affect different layers of your skin. Each patient will have an in-depth laser consultation with our laser providers in orders to develop an individualized treatment plan.
The main advantage of DeepFX™ and ActiveFX™ is that results can be visible after one single treatment. As your skin heals following the treatment, you will begin to notice an improvement in wrinkles, fine lines, tone and texture. Typically, you should expect to continue to see improvement for up to 18 months following the procedure.
Compared to other laser treatments, the UltraPulse laser treatment can have a significant more downtime and increased risks compared to other laser procedures. This treatment is not suitable for everyone and this is why the in-depth consultation is important.
What to Expect During Treatment?
To minimize discomfort during deeper treatments, a local and topical anesthetic will be applied to numb your skin. Depending on the treatment area, you can expect the session to last approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour. During the treatment you may feel warm sensations as the laser is applied but you should not feel significant discomfort. Immediately following treatment, your skin will be warm like a sunburn and may be red and swollen, depending on your customized treatment settings. A detailed pre-and post-procedure plan will be given to you at your pre-treatment appointment including a daily skincare routine as your skin heals.
SCAAR FX with UltraPulse
At Vitality Dermatology, we also use the UltraPulse laser to improve the appearance of scars, including traumatic scar and surgical scars. SCAAR FX™ is a new minimally-invasive laser based treatment alternative, offering amazing improvement in severe scars. SCAAR FX™ is a deep fractional resurfacing solution offered as part of the Lumenis UltraPulse® system. With SCAAR FX™ your provider can offer you an effective treatment regime that may address the tone and texture of your scars, as well as their pliability and the pain and itching.
Depending on the characteristics of the scar, it may take 3-5 treatments to achieve major cosmetic and functional improvements. Typically, you should expect to continue to see improvement for up to 18 months following the last procedure. This laser procedure is not suitable for everyone and we encourage a consultation with one of our providers to discuss in detail if this treatment is right for you.
To learn more about the UltraPulse laser and if this treatment could be right for you, please contact us to set up a consultation with one of our providers.