Fractional lasers can be used to turn back the hands of time when it comes to the skin of your face, neck, chest, and hands. Capable of amazing precision, fractional lasers can be used to target specific areas of the skin or may over larger surfaces to completely rejuvenate a treated area.
Fractional lasers may be used to treat a variety of skin imperfections including:
- Fine lines
- Sun spots, age spots, hyperpigmentation
- Uneven skin tone
- Surgical Scars, Acne scars
- Stretch marks
- Keloids and atrophic scars
- Enlarged pores
- Poikiloderma of Civatte
How do Fractional Lasers Work?
Fractional lasers are a non-invasive form of laser skin resurfacing in which the laser is divided into thousands of pixels to scatter light energy across the surface of the skin. Fractional lasers work in both the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin to resurface, stimulate collagen production, and create a more youthful, fresh, radiant complexion.
As with other laser skin resurfacing treatments, the laser targets water in the dermis, gently heating it to cause controlled thermal tissue damage. It does this by delivering a laser beam that is divided into thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment into the skin. These are called microthermal treatment zones (MTZs). Within each MTZ old epidermal pigmented cells are expelled and penetration of collagen in the dermis causes a reaction that leads to collagen remodeling and new collagen formation.
By using MTZs, the laser targets and treats intensively within the zone whilst surrounding healthy tissue remain intact and unaffected and helps heal the wound. This fractional treatment results in a faster healing process than if all tissue in the treatment area was exposed to the laser. However, because the laser can only target a fraction of the patient's skin at a time, more treatments are typically required at 2 to 4 week intervals for the best outcomes.
As we age, collagen production begins to slow down allowing the skin to become thinner, resulting in more visible lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Fractional lasers not only work to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen, providing greater volume and restore a youthful firmness, they also remove the outermost layer of skin to reveal smooth, glowing skin.
What’s the difference between ablative fractional lasers and non-ablative fractional lasers?
Non-ablative fractional lasers typically need 4-6 visits at monthly intervals to give the same results that usually one ablative fractional laser needs. Downtimes vary — from 1-2 days with non-ablative fractional lasers to 5-10 days with ablative fractional lasers, depending on how aggressive one is.
Laser Skin Treatments for Darker Skin
For those with darker skin tones, the facial laser with the least risk of hyperpigmentation for those with genetic predisposition to hyperpigmentation, we recommend Fractora. In our experience we find radio frequency energy is the preferred alternative for skin types which can express excess pigmentation activity following laser-type treatments. A consultation to discuss your concerns and a determination of skin type helps us select the right treatment choice.
What Should I Expect?
Treatments with most all fractional laser begins with topical numbing cream. (If you are only having treatment on a small area, numbing cream is usually not required.) Pronox can also be used. Once the cream has taken effect, you will have protective goggles placed over your eyes. The sensation can be compared to what you might feel if you were to flick your fingernails against your skin along with a sensation of heat.
The laser handpiece is held against the skin, the microscopic beams penetrate the skin, the handpiece is lifted and moved to the next section of skin and the process is repeated. The procedure is very quick, surprising most people with the absence of expected discomfort.
What are the side effects and complications of fractional laser treatment?
Fractional laser treatments appear to be well tolerated by most patients. Shaving or application of mineral make-up can be applied after treatment. In most cases, patients can return to work directly after treatments or the following day, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.
Some of the side effects and complications that may occur after aggressive or ablative fractional laser treatments, particularly on neck skin, include:
- Excessive desquamation (scaling, peeling) and some crusting
- Swelling for up to one week after treatment – this can be helped by applying an ice pack at 10-minute intervals for the first 24 hours.
- Post inflammatory pigmentation – occurs more commonly in patients with a history of melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (more common in patients of darker skin types)
- Acneiform eruptions, herpes simplex, bacterial and candida infections
- Contact dermatitis
Post-treatment and Recovery
Patients may experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour after the procedure. Swelling is usually minimal and should resolve in 2–3 days. The skin will have a pinkish tone for 1–5 days.
Within 24 hours new epidermal skin develops and the skin will have a bronze appearance that can last between 3-14 days. Flaking of the skin may also occur as new skin replaces dead skin tissue. This can be treated with a moisturizing cream.
During the healing phase and for several months after treatment, it is recommended that the treatment area be protected using a moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50+. Protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats should also be used to protect the skin from sun exposure.
Four to five treatments with the fractional lasers are required, depending on the energy level used and the condition of the treated skin. These are spaced one month apart. The results are not immediate and are progressive, with optimal improvement visible over a three to four month period. This timeframe and treatment regimen allows for complete healing and replacement of damaged tissue with new collagen and elastin, and viable healthy skin cell growth.
Why Choose Fractional Laser Resurfacing?
As opposed to more invasive methods, Dr. Kaado's laser skin resurfacing can be performed in a matter of minutes and requires very little downtime. Most patients who choose fractional laser resurfacing will experience very few side effects other than mild redness and swelling.
The best reason to choose fractional laser resurfacing is that it is incredibly effective at reducing the signs of aging and the appearance of sun damage. Schedule your consultation* with Dr. Kaado to see if fractional laser resurfacing is the best option to help you achieve radiant, supple skin. You're just a few minutes away from a fresher, more radiant glow.
- Length: 15-45 minutes depending on the area treated
- Treatments needed: 4-6 one month apart
- Anesthesia: Topical, or Pronox
- Side Effects: Temporary swelling ( 2-3 days) , redness ( 1-5 days),
- Risks: Excessive desquamation (scaling, peeling), some crusting, swelling, post-inflammatory pigmentation , Acneiform eruptions, herpes simplex, bacterial and candida infections, contact dermatitis, prolonged redness
- Recovery: Back to work the same day
- Final Appearance: 3-4 months
- Duration of Results: few years depending on post-laser skin care program. Always follow aftercare instructions to achieve optimal results.
Schedule a consultation with us, and discover a clinic where achieving true beauty defines how we perform every treatment.
Mon - Sat: 10am - 7pm
1860 Laskin Road Suite 110, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
* $75 consultation fees for butt augmentation, bodytite, vaser liposuction and high definition liposuction.
If patient decides to go ahead with the treatment, that $75 will be credited towards the procedure.