Sun damage, also known as photo-damage, is a major problem for skin health that most people experience to some degree. Some of the long-term effects of too much sun include: wrinkles and lines, dark spots, mottled skin, and skin cancer. Different methods exist to treat sun damaged skin, including options that use single wavelength laser light, mixtures of different wavelengths of light, and radio frequency energy.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Syneron Candela CO2RE is a fractional CO2 system that allows precise targeting to effectively treat damage done to the skin. Even if a patient has major sun damage, resurfacing with a CO2 laser can offer a dramatic difference in skin appearance. Sun damage repair by CO2 laser resurfacing actually stimulates new collagen and elastic fiber synthesis, too, making the skin look younger.
Serious Sun Damage Repair
The C02RE Fractional Laser Resurfacing can also remove sun spots and is usually more successful with deeper wrinkles and other, more severe, changes from sun exposure. This innovative method of skin resurfacing utilizes fractional CO2 lasers offer precise targeting of skin layers. Treatments are not limited to the face and are also used on the chest, arms, and legs, though the chance of scarring in these areas is higher.
Other considerations apply to those who will benefit from CO2 laser treatment and those who will not. Generally, CO2 lasers are not useful for treating redness, especially when caused by dilated blood vessels. Some physicians feel that the best candidates for treatment are those from their late 40s to their early 70s, with moderate or worse sun damage, wrinkling, or acne scarring.
What to Expect
Compared to other kinds of lasers for skin treatment, there may be more downtime with a CO2 laser, so patients having their faces treated may need to schedule time away from work. Even if your appearance isn’t an issue, healing takes some time. Three to five healing days for lighter treatments and seven to 10 days for more aggressive treatments is a common time frame. Prior use of some kinds of drugs or treatments can exclude patients from CO2 laser treatment, including anticoagulants, chemotherapy, or anything that increases photosensitivity. Also problematic are patients who have difficulty healing, have a history of bleeding or scarring, and any who are pregnant.
Laser Treatment Alternatives
Do you have to use a laser to treat sun damage? Of course not, there are other, even milder, alternatives. One of them is intense pulsed light (IPL). Unlike a laser, which emits light of the same wavelength, IPL is a mixture of different wavelengths. Many of the same kinds of sun damage treated with lasers can also be treated with IPL. One advantage of IPL is less downtime and less pain than some kinds of laser treatment. Even if results are good, however, additional yearly treatments are recommended for maintenance.
For more information about sun damage repair options, reach out to the experienced professionals at Southern Cosmetic Laser.