Age and exposure to the elements bring changes to the quality of your skin. Age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles occur as a result of diminished muscle tone, loss of collagen, and sun exposure. Some people accept these aging signs gracefully, others do what they can to slow down or halt the aging process. If you are in the latter category, chemical peels and laser resurfacing are non-surgical options that help refresh your skin and restore a youthful glow.
Chemical peels exfoliate the top layers of skin to reveal the younger, more radiant layers of skin below. These non-surgical treatments are great for revitalizing dull skin, removing acne and acne scars, tightening loose skin, and improving the appearance of age spots.
Start with a consultation with your facial plastic surgeon. During this consultation, you will discuss the problem areas and learn about the various strengths that range from light peels to deep peels. The strength of the peel determines both the final outcome and the healing times.
Light chemical peels are ideal for any skin tone, but it’s not good to use a light chemical peel if you are taking Accutane for your acne. The light peel treatment lasts anywhere from half an hour to an hour. During this procedure, your skin is cleansed with alcohol, and then the peel is applied and allowed to sit for a specified amount of time before it is removed. At the end of the process, you may look like you have a mild sunburn, but it’s not so bad that you have to hide at home. A mild peel uses a stronger chemical solution to help exfoliate the skin and aid in collagen production. It’s stronger than a light chemical peel but slightly less intense than the medium peel.
Medium peels are more intense and require sedatives or pain relief prior to the application. The procedure requires you to have someone else drive you home, and you stay home for approximately a week following the peel. You need to wash your face in water six times a day and apply a protective ointment to keep the skin from drying out while it heals. After a few days, the skin stiffens and flakes off naturally. After five to seven days, your skin will be red, but you should be comfortable returning to work.
Deep chemical peels are the most intense of the peels. They are designed for more serious problems with the skin, such as age spots, scars, and wrinkles. You are given a sedative and local anesthesia or local anesthesia for this procedure. This peel is not meant for people with heart issues, freckles, or dark skin. Following a deep peel, your skin will look severely sunburned and oozing. Expect a minimum of one week before the stiffened skin has flaked off. Redness can last a few months. Read more about chemical peels.
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is a popular method for reversing the signs of aging, including crow’s feet, frown lines, lip wrinkles, and wrinkles on the cheeks. It’s also helpful for tightening skin on the eyelids and removing age spots. Collagen production increases after the treatment and helps maintain skin health months later. Before a carbon dioxide laser treatment, patients may receive a sedative or general anesthesia depending on the depth of treatment. Your doctor will discuss the best option based on the amount of laser work that is required.
Erbium lasers are best for mild to moderate wrinkles and age spots. This form of laser also helps alleviate the appearance of acne scars. The Erbium laser works by evaporating the water within the skin. At the same time, it helps boost collagen production. Erbium laser treatments take up to 90 minutes, depending on the areas being treated. You should plan to stay home for at least four or five days, but a full week is ideal if you can afford it.
Following either laser treatment, there may be some itching, pain, and swelling. As the skin heals, it may feel tight, much like a sunburn, and appear very red. While the face looks sunburned, you need to avoid sun exposure and keep the skin moisturized with the lotion suggested or given to you by your facial plastic surgeon.
View before and after skin resurfacing pictures to see the excellent results that can be achieved. Your skin can look this great again. Call (703) 481-0002 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak at The Naderi Center for Cosmetic Surgery & Skin Care in Reston, Virginia. Dr. Kulak is a Virginia facial plastic surgeon who specializes in aging faces.