The effects of sun exposure and age gradually take their toll on the skin of the face. For mild changes, microdermabrasion, light chemical peels, topical agents, and a good skin care regimen may be sufficient. However, when treatment of the deeper layers of the skin is needed, we use the Venus erbium laser for treatment. This treatment in our dedicated laser room helps restore the youthful appearance of the skin in a safe, reliable procedure.
How it works
Medical lasers produce a short pulse of intense light at a fixed wavelength. Depending on the wavelength, the energy will be absorbed differently by different tissues. The erbium laser uses a wavelength that targets primarily the water present in the cells of your skin. When the energy of the laser strikes these cells they literally vaporize. This allows us to remove the most superficial layers of the skin a layer at a time, stimulating new skin growth and collagen formation. By adjusting the energy of the laser we can either perform a very superficial peel or go deeper, depending on the needs of the patient and their skin type. The result is a more refreshed looking appearance.
The erbium laser is similar to the CO2 laser in its effects. Both are considered “ablative” skin lasers and are used in a similar fashion to resurface the skin. However, the erbium laser tends to produces less heat in the surrounding tissues, typically resulting in less discomfort and redness during and after the procedure.
At your initial consultation we will assess your skin type, discuss previous skin treatments you may have had, and take photographs. If laser resurfacing appears to be the best way to improve your skin, we will discuss the procedure, the depth of peel you may require, the costs (this is considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance) and schedule your treatment.
Laser treatments are performed in our Lawrence office by our physicians or trained aestheticians utilizing a local or topical anesthetic. We will utilize our Venus erbium laser to treat all or part of your face. Treatment times are usually 30 minutes to 1 hour. Following the procedure we will have you cleanse your face and apply a moisturizer several times a day. Redness, healing time, and recovery time all vary depending on the depth of resurfacing performed. In the case of a deep peel, it may be several days or even weeks before the redness of your face has faded. Sun avoidance and/or strong sunscreen is particularly important after this procedure, as the skin will be very sensitive to UV light while it is recovering.
Superficial, Medium, or Deep?
When deciding on laser resurfacing (also called a laser peel) we will spend time with you deciding what depth of treatment is best for you. A lighter peel is easier to perform and has less pain and downtime, but won’t give the amount of improvement seen in a deeper peel. We often initially treat patients with a relatively light or medium peel to see if we can achieve the desired result without using the higher energy and going deeper in the skin. The goal, of course, is to provide the desired improvement with the least amount of pain, recovery time, and side effects to the patient.
Most patients see significant improvement after their first treatment. However, if further improvement is desired, we can use greater laser energy and treat more deeply into the skin with future treatments.
Why we like this procedure
The laser allows us to perform resurfacing by removing the upper layers of the skin with amazing accuracy. Energy levels can be changed during treatment and with subsequent treatments based on the skin’s response to assure that the correct depth of penetration is achieved to produce the result we desire. The treatment can easily be fine tuned to match a patient’s skin needs and schedule.