what’s new in skin
treatments? by Beth Lertzman, M.D.
The fractionated laser, the latest and greatest in skin rejuvenation technology, hit the marketplace about a year ago. This type of laser delivers amazing results with minimal downtime. Most importantly, it affords patients rapid recovery with little risk or complication. Fractionated lasers are unique in that they create a grid or dot-to-dot pattern on the treatment area. This is what allows for speedy healing.
Fractionated lasers are one of the many lasers and light sources that can dramatically improve skin and deliver a more youthful appearance. They can erase wrinkles up to 80%, and they can also decrease acne scars. They can quickly remove age spots and warts, as well as treat discoloration like melasma, a tan discoloration of a woman’s face associated with pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives In combination with vascular and q-switched lasers, this latest technology can improve the appearance of veins and brown spots, restoring the skin and making it look younger. Your dermatologist is uniquely trained to help restore the skin’s beauty and health with the help of these lasers and light sources.
The use of these devices is not limited to the face. They work extremely well to rejuvenate the skin of the neck, upper chest, and hands. These are all areas that are commonly viewed as being able to give away age.
There are essentially two types of fractionated lasers, ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers break the skin and cause a wound. Non-ablative lasers do not cause a wound. Each type has its own advantages. Your dermatologist can discuss each type of treatment with you to determine how they can best benefit your skin.
Of course lasers are still the gold standard for hair and tattoo removal. Sometimes several treatments can be required to achieve the desired results. Lasers are also excellent at removing blood vessels and red spots, especially on the face, and brown or “liver” spots on the face and hands. Birthmarks, scars, and stretch marks are also significantly improved with the use of lasers. Sometimes a combination of lasers or light sources works best.
People often wonder about the pain associated with a laser treatment.
In most cases, cool compresses
can alleviate the pain. Sometimes topical anesthesia (like prescription creams) is all that is needed, and sometimes your physician will recommend shots of anesthesia or even regional blocks. But most pain is minimal, short-lived, and well-tolerated.
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There is other exciting news in dermatology. Another new treatment, recently approved by the FDA and showing great promise, is cryolipolysis. Lipolysis is the attempt to “dissolve” fat cells by nonsurgical means. This modality is used to simply and non-invasively remove fat. Yes that’s right.... remove fat. The device works by crystallizing the fat cells in trouble areas.
great for love handles, and can reduce fat by 20% within about one to four months after the procedure. It appears primarily applicable for limited discrete fat bulges. With the small number of patients treated, clinical data remain scarce, thus it is not known how long the treatment effect will last, or when and if later treatments would be necessary to maintain the result.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Lertzman, MD, is a board- certified dermatologist who has practiced in the Rochester area for 15 years. She has been published in leading dermatology journals and is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery. She specializes in all treatments of the skin, including skin rejuvenation and laser surgery. She currently practices at the Genesee Valley Laser Centre.
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