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Laser Skin Rejuvenation

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Cosmetic / Laser Skin Rejuvenation

"A New Light on an Old Wrinkle"

When we think of alligator skin, we picture dark lines and creases. This look is great for the big lizard. However, when the skin around your eyes and lips take on that wrinkled old leathery look, it is not so great!

Why do we get that look? Heredity, age, sun exposure, and smoking contribute in varying proportions. First, let's consider heredity. We cannot do much about our genes, but we can learn from our ancestors and relatives. If old Uncle Joe has enough baggy, weather-beaten facial skin to remind you of a bulldog, take heed! Minimize the impact of your density by avoiding the agents you control like sun exposure and smoking.

The second contributor is age. Now just a minute, consider the alternative! Your continued progression down life's pathway is caused for quiet celebration. No matter how many birthdays you have experienced, you're still in the survivor's group. Appreciate those years and plan for many years. Avoid factors that you control like excessive sun and smoking.

The results of excessive sun exposure should be a surprise to no one. Skin cancers are the bad news, but lines and creases that develop after years of heavy tanning are hardly good news. The chief culprit in sunlight is the unseen ultraviolet (UV) ray that damages the bonds linking the collagen and elastic fibers deep within the skin. When we begin life, those fibers endow our skin with an orderly framework covered with a smooth outer layer (epidermis). The toll of years of sun induced UV damage helps to create wrinkles and creases. Before you realize what has happened, your face can look like a bad road in drastic need of repair!

Finally, while the exact role that smoking plays in this process is still to be precisely defined, there seems little doubt that smoking contributes heavily to the formation of wrinkles, creases, and lines. If you are a smoker and need one more good reason to quit, consider this one to be it! The small blood vessels that nourish the deep layers of the skin are the ones primarily affected by smoking. When the delegate terminal branches of these vessels are constricted or destroyed, the collagen and elastic fibers of the deep skin breakdown into irregular patterns. The damage to the deep framework causes wrinkles and creases to appear on the surface. Finely tooled leather looks great on a handbag, but not so great on your face!

Ok...now you are in your 40's or more, and you never got the message about sun exposure when you were in your teens and 20's. You only recently realized your ancestors wore bonnets for a reason. Now that you have quit smoking, and do feel better, is there any way to look better, short of finding the fountain of youth?

Cosmetics offer the simplest solution, but also produce the least effect because they only cover up wrinkles. Externally applied rejuvenating creams will temporarily help to some extent by hydrating the normally dry external skin. The best home remedies and secret “Our Asian Hospital, Clinic’s beauty formulas" usually fall into the hydration group.

A variety of medical injection procedures from collagen to fat will help, although subsequent treatments to maintain the effect may be required. Traditional resurfacing procedures range from acid peels of varying strengths to mechanical abrasion by a grinding wheel. In skilled hands, these procedures provide acceptable results, but the surgery as well as the recovery period can sometime be time consuming and painful.

A new laser resurfacing procedure has shown a tremendous promise. Medical use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) laser has been available for over twenty years. Considerable experience has been gained in using this laser as a scalpel for surgeries such as upper eyelid blepharoplasty to remove excessive overlapping skin. Lower eyelid surgery to remove bulging bags that cast unflattering shadows can be done with a CO2 laser from inside the lower lid and leaves no scars. The exciting new use of the CO2 laser is to vaporize just enough of the outer layer of old wrinkled skin in a precisely controlled fashion. The entire procedure can be directly observed so that the surgeon can vaporize just enough of the outer skin to reach the base of the wrinkles. For example, the tough, thick skin that heaps up next to a wrinkle to form a crow's foot is removed to the depth of the wrinkle. The deep structures of the facial skin will respond by laying down new collagen and elastic fibers to create a smooth and regular deep framework. The outer layer of skin, or epidermis, re-forms over the framework to create a less wrinkled and more youthful appearance. These resurfacing techniques can also be applied to the lines in the lower skin of the lower eyelids, to forehead wrinkles, and upper lid creases. The technique is especially helpful on the lip to eliminate the fine vertical lines that cause lipstick to "feather."

The entire surgery causes little discomfort, but there are special post-operative considerations. Most people require only minimal pain medication because laser resurfacing seals the nerves as the tissues are vaporized. There is no bleeding. Minimal to moderate post-operative swelling will occur which usually requires frequent ice packs for one to two days. The skin will be "raw" and weeping for three to seven days, depending on how deep the wrinkles were originally. Dressings that look like large bandages cover the treated areas and speed the healing process. While using these dressings, most people choose to stay out of the public. When the new skin forms it will be as pink as a baby's skin! That pink color will take a month or so to fade, so protect that new skin with sunscreens. Full-face laser resurfacing procedures are done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.




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