Fractional Laser Resurfacing

Many people start to see the first signs of aging at an early age: in their late twenties or early thirties. While it might seem like you are too young to consider cosmetic treatments, starting minimally-invasive anti-aging regimes early on can help slow down the aging process and keep you looking younger longer.

Some minimally invasive treatments, like fractional laser resurfacing, provide anti-aging results, without the long amounts of time devoted to recovery, as with ablative laser surgery. So what is fractional laser resurfacing, and how does it compare to more aggressive ablative laser treatments, such as carbon dioxide lasers?

Non-Ablative Laser Rejuvenation

Instead of destroying the dull and damaged outer layers of skin, fractional laser rejuvenation involves the use of a gentler laser that penetrates beneath the top layers of skin to heat the tissues below. This initiates the body's natural processes, producing collagen (the essential connective protein that give the skin structure and youth) and other anti-aging compounds. As the treatment is gentle, there is much less recovery involved than with traditional ablative lasers, and the skin should not peel. These treatments are usually repeated several times, at three to six week intervals, to produce the best results. Fractional laser resurfacing can treat problems such as:

  • Poor skin tone
  • Sun damage
  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Minor wrinkles
  • Large pores

Palomar Starlux 500®

There are many different non-ablative laser models on the market. At the Emory Aesthetic Center, we use the Palomar Starlux 500®laser, as we believe this is one of the best options we can offer our patients for non-ablative fractional laser treatments.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing Consultation

If you would like to learn more about cosmetic skin treatments like fractional laser resurfacing, then your first step will be scheduling a consultation with one of the Emory Aesthetic Center's cosmetic surgeons or licensed aestheticians. As everyone's skin and rate of aging is different, you will need a professional evaluation to determine which procedure (or procedures) will be most helpful in reaching your goals.

During your consultation, you will get a chance to get to know our doctors and aestheticians and learn more about the procedures we offer, including fractional laser resurfacing. Our team will carefully evaluate your skin and recommend the procedures that can achieve the desired results. You will get a chance to ask questions about fractional laser resurfacing, and we encourage you to use to this time to start planning a course of treatment with one of our surgeons.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing Candidates

While fractional laser resurfacing is a low-risk treatment that is safe for most potential patients, it may not be the right option for you. During your consultation, our experts will assess your candidacy for the procedure. They can help you determine if the treatment will be safe for you, and if so, can create a personalized treatment plan.

Good candidates for non-ablative laser treatments are adult men and women looking to refresh and rejuvenate the skin with a minimally invasive treatment. Fractional laser treatments are not optimal for patients with significant facial aging, as the results will not be as dramatic as most patients with deep wrinkles and sagging skin normally desire. However, even if fractional laser treatments are not right for you, our cosmetic surgeons and aestheticians will work with you to find the right solutions for your needs.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing Procedure

The treatment area will be cooled before treatment, but for additional comfort, a numbing agent will also be applied one hour prior to the procedure. The aesthetician will use a special hand piece to direct the concentrated laser light at the skin. The laser targets the epidermis and dermis, which leaves healthy tissues intact and minimizes downtime. Once the area or areas have been treated, the patient can usually head immediately home.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing Recovery

Fractional laser resurfacing is a gentle procedure, with very little downtime. Some patients prefer to take it easy for 24-48 hours, but side effects should be mild. When they occur, they can include redness, swelling, and tightness. This will subside in the days following treatment, and you should be looking normal in about five days. Many patients opt for a series of treatments for optimal results, which are scheduled at three to six week intervals. The skin will gradually improve in the weeks following each treatment.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing FAQs

What areas of the body can be treated using fractional laser treatments?

Fractional laser treatments are safe and gentle, and can be used on many different areas of the body. While the face is the most commonly treated area, many patients are also interested in having their chest, arms, and/or hands treated.

Why do I have to wait so long between treatments?

The results of fractional laser resurfacing are not instantaneous. Once the treatment is complete, the body's natural processes rejuvenate the skin, which happens gradually. You will start to see the results within a few weeks, and it's important to give the procedure time to work before scheduling the next treatment.

Will fractional laser treatments fix my wrinkles?

Non-ablative laser resurfacing does have the ability to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles. However, fractional resurfacing is a gentler treatment than traditional laser procedures, and the results will not be as dramatic as those from ablative lasers. It is important to understand your goals and the limitations of each procedure before you make a decision, in order to avoid disappointment.

Can laser treatments be combined with other procedures?

Yes. Fractional laser treatments are gentle, and can be combined with other treatments such as fillers or Botox. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss your goals and decide on a treatment plan that works for you.

Can I wear makeup to cover the redness after my treatment?

Generally yes; patients can apply oxygentix makeup immediately after treatment. This special, high quality makeup is available from the treatment team at Emory Aesthetic Center. During the first 48 hours, however, you should not let your skin be exposed to sunlight at all, since you should not use sunscreen.

How long will the results of laser treatments last?

Fractional laser resurfacing is a gradual process that continues to improve the skin for several weeks or months. After this, a combination of a healthy lifestyle and occasional touch up procedures can help preserve the results of the treatment, which are usually long-lasting. Ask your surgeon or aesthetician for more specific estimates so you can decide if the treatment is right for you.

How much will the laser tighten my skin?

While the treatment can produce some skin-tightening effects, this is not its main benefit, and patients who are mostly interested in improving sagging skin should consider other treatments. Laser resurfacing can also be combined with other procedures for achieving the desired results.

Should I choose fractional laser resurfacing or a chemical peel?

There are many different cosmetic skin treatments available, and the right procedure for you will depend on your skin type, goals, and ability to devote time to recovery. You will want to go over all the different options with an expert before you make a final decision.

Are there side effects of fractional laser resurfacing?

Fractional laser resurfacing is a gentle procedure, but as with any treatment, there are some side effects that can occur. Following the treatment, patients can expect some redness, swelling, and tightness, which is temporary. More serious complications are rare.

How long will I need to protect my skin from the sun after treatment?

While you should be taking precautions to protect your skin from the sun at all times, it is especially important to avoid sun exposure after cosmetic skin treatments. Sunscreen and protective clothing/hats should be used diligently during the first 6 months following the last fractional laser treatment to help prevent hyperpigmentation (brown discoloration).

How Can We Help You Today?

Need help? We will be delighted to assist you today, so please call us at 404-778-6880. We look forward to hearing from you.