Fractional Skin Resurfacing
Learn About the Palomar Laser in Albuquerque
The Palomar laser, available for fractional skin resurfacing at Albuquerque's Western Dermatology Consultants, offers laser skin treatment that improves color, smooths lines and wrinkles, and provides a mild degree of skin tightening. By only treating 20 to 25 percent of the skin at one time (i.e. a "fractional" amount), it encourages the untreated skin to drive healing. This means that the redness and irritation often associated with many other skin resurfacing methods is much less likely to occur – and if it does, it is only temporary and in mild amounts.
The revolutionary fractional skin resurfacing technology can be applied to your face, neck, chest, and hands. Patients enjoy a diminishing of lines and wrinkles, as well as brown spots, surgical and acne scars, and pore size. Because it is a relatively gentle approach, and the Palomar laser bypasses the outer layer of skin, it allows patients to go about their daily lives almost immediately. No one needs to know that you've received fractional skin resurfacing.
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What is Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is a treatment performed to improve the texture, tone, pigmentation issues, and other concerns in the skin. It is a comprehensive way to address multiple forms of skin damage at once, and an adequate amount of well-performed treatment sessions should leave patients' skin looking healthier, fresher, and more uniform.
The laser emits pulses of light energy that the water and chromophores (i.e. atoms responsible for the color of a compound) in the skin absorb. The light energy is then converted into heat energy that vaporizes thin sections or layers of skin at a time, creating the gentle process that facilities the shedding of dead surface cells.
As these areas heal over the following months, new skin cells replace the old, damaged ones that were vaporized away by the laser and neocollagenesis (the formation of new collagen in the skin) will begin to occur, and your skin will start to take on a more youthful appearance. Along with hyaluronic acid and elastin, collagen is one of the fundamental building blocks of the skin, providing a supportive framework that keeps it smooth and supple.
Older forms of laser skin resurfacing performed on the neck, chest, or hands did not heal as well, and there was a possibility of skin thickening and scarring as a result. But fractional skin resurfacing, one of its newer forms, more precisely targets microscopic rows and leaves minimal damage in surrounding areas, leaving the skin visibly improved without much bleeding, scabbing, or other such0 undesirable side effects.
In order for this fractional skin resurfacing to be truly successful, the Palomar laser should be administered in a series of appropriately spaced-out treatment sessions by a licensed and experienced laser technician. A complete outcome will take longer to achieve, but you do not have to deal with the downtime of more aggressive treatments. Many of our clients have achieve their treatment goals within five sessions, with two to four weeks in between each.
What to Expect from a Fractional Skin Resurfacing Treatment Session
Fractional laser skin resurfacing is considered to be a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure, and is performed in office under the supervision of our board-certified dermatologists. The duration of each treatment session depends on the number and size of areas to be treated, as well as the number of laser passes to be made over each.
Once the areas for treatment are established, they are cleaned and marked to ensure that freshly treated or adjacent areas are not accidentally exposed to the laser. A topical local anesthetic may be applied to minimize any discomfort. We may also provide you with glasses to protect your eyes from the laser.
As the laser is passed over the skin, it will emit pulses that each last a fraction of a second. Most of our patients compare the feeling of the laser pulses to the snapping of a rubber band to the skin. Between passes, the skin may be wiped with a water or saltwater solution to cool the skin and remove any surface tissue the laser has vaporized.
The total number of passes performed depends on the type of skin and depth of damage to be corrected in the area. Fewer passes should be performed on thinner skin, such as that around the eyes. Thicker skin, such as areas with severe lesions or scar tissue, may require more passes.
Once the treatment session is over, we clean up the area and may apply an ointment to soothe treated skin.
Recovery & Results from Fractional Skin Resurfacing
Recovery from fractional skin resurfacing can vary from patient to patient, as no two cases are identical and healing rates can differ. Generally, the smaller the treatment area, the quicker the recovery.
Immediately following a fractional skin resurfacing treatment, skin may feel warm, red, and/or slightly swollen. These side effects are temporary and tend to resolve within the first week following a treatment session.
In addition to these, there may also be some crusting, scabbing, darkened areas, or mild blisters, and these can take about two weeks after treatment to subside. Note that freckles, age or sun spots, and other pigmentation concerns can appear to be darker before they start to fade.
About two to three weeks following fractional skin resurfacing, treated skin will look and feel smoother with a more even tone and refined pores, and final results start to become visible roughly four weeks after the final skin resurfacing treatment session.
To maintain their results long term, many of our patients choose to receive two to three skin resurfacing treatment sessions each year following their initial set, and/or choose other treatment methods such as the Cutera laser, Intense Pulsed Light (i.e. photofacial) or spa-style skin rejuvenation with chemical peels or microdermabrasion.
Even with minor treatments such as facials, the high standards and expertise that only a dermatologist supervised facility such as ours can maintain will ensure that patients or clients receive the best possible results in the safest possible manner - and skin resurfacing is no exception to this. Even if you do not choose to receive your treatment from us, we urge you to seek it out at a location supervised by a licensed medical practitioner.
Provided by licensed and experienced hands, fractional laser skin resurfacing treatments can be a thorough and effective way to improve the quality of your skin and correct sun and age-related damage in a safe and controlled manner. To learn more about skin resurfacing and determine whether it may be right for you, contact our practice online or by phone at 505-855-9267.