July must be my month for trying exciting, new, technologically advanced treatments, because last year at this time I was about to embark upon a novel journey to lose inches through a series of Zerona Laser Treatments.
Yesterday, I visited the office of Dr. Amy Wechsler and Dr. Gervaise Gerstener, board-certified dermatologists with offices in Manhattan (3 East 69th Street), to began a new journey: an opportunity to try Fraxel Laser Treatments that can literally resurface skin and make it look smoother and more toned. The treatment is called “fractional” because only a small part of the skin is treated, leaving the remainder of the skin to speed the healing process. The laser is cleared for skin resurfacing by the FDA for a number of dermatological procedures such as the removal of reduction of acne scars, sun/age spots, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, melasma, and off-face skin resurfacing such as hands and chest.
Most of us associate lasers with light shows and science fiction movies, but they here today. All sorts of cosmetics treatments are done every single day with different lasers. You can’t really see them, but they can work miracles, from laser vision correction, to hair removal, to skin treatments, to weight loss. The word LASER is simply an acronym for: “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation. They seem space-age-y but in actuality, the first laser was built by Theodore Maiman in 1960 at Hughes Research Labs (light therapy has been around much longer than that).
There are two types of lasers, hot and cold. Cold lasers treat the surface of the skin and use a lower grade of light than hot lasers and encourage the natural healing properties of your cells. Hot lasers go deeper, and actually make tiny cuts or burns that then stimulate new skin during the healing process. They also feel hot where they touch your skin. When it comes to skin resurfacing, Thermage is the premier solution for skin tightening and contouring (learn more at Thermage.com); Fraxel is the premier solution for skin resurfacing. (learn more at Fraxel.com ) and Isolaz is the premier solution for acne and deep pore purification (learn more at Isolaz.com ).
Using lasers as a cosmetic skin treatment sounds intimidating, but in qualified hands, it’s perfectly safe. The Fraxel Laser is a hot laser that uses different frequencies and strengths to resurface your skin. The treatments are minimally invasive, and the results can be lasting (done in a gradual series) over a number of months. What makes the Fraxel more sensible for many people is that, unlike a deep chemical peel done in one treatment, the Fraxel won’t leave you with seriously raw skin that is not just scary to look at, it can be prone to infection and pain. The Fraxel Laser doesn’t try to get it all done in a day, so the treatment is more gentle and gradual. Like lunchtime lipo, you can go right back to being in the public view after the treatment and not raise any eyebrows. However, it takesw days to weeks to show results. (I will report back on this). The initial treatment without any additional ones will only last about a month. With additional Fraxel treatments, however, the results will be not just be even better, they will be permanent as your own body produces new skin.
When you go for a consultation or treatment, your doctor will choose one a combo of fractional lasers that will create the best treatment (or combination of treatments) to help you “turn back the hands of time. Fraxel re:fine™ offers gentle but effective skin rejuvenation and resurfacing. Fraxel re:store™ is the gold standard for non-ablative skin resurfacing and rejuvenation, and Fraxel re:pair®is a CO2 laser that offers an aggressive treatment for moderate to severe photo damage. Using the different frequencies in combinations help balance a good effect, with patient downtime and discomfort. I have fair skin and freckles, and burn easily. To make matters worse, my family and I were out on the water in our sailboat every weekend, all day long. I never wore a hat or sunglasses, and rarely, sunscreen. As a result, my skin has a lot of sun damage. Dr. Gerstner planned to use the 1550 frequency laser on my skin to remove scars and lines, and later in the Summer, when I’m not in the sun so much, the 1550 laser to remove brown spots and freckles.
Dr. Gerstner looked at my face, including my freckles, lines, and overall condition of my skin, and asked me what troubled me most. As you can see from this less than glamorous shot of my forehead, I have natural freckles, sun damage, and a few tiny scars and wrinkles. A realistic goal is to make my overall complexion look less damaged. Dr. Gerstner said some people only need the 1550 laser that goes deeper into the skin and reduces scars and so forth, while the 1927 laser deals with brown spots. I was prepared for the deeper treatment with the 1550 laser.
What was the actual Fraxel laser treatment like? Was it uncomfortable? Did people stare at me in the street and subway on the way home? How does my skin look now? CLICK HERE to read Part Two: my personal first experience with the Fraxel laser.