We were intrigued by a recent article in the NY Times Fashion & Style section that says, when it comes to treating aging skin around the eyes, your best bet is laser resurfacing. It's even better than surgery.
Dr. Michael McGuire, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon and president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons told the NY Times this: “If the skin is mildly wrinkled and/or pigmented, the laser can be a good option,” he said, adding that he frequently gives laser treatments to patients in their 40s to defer face-lifts.
Laser resurfacing sounds simple enough. An intense beam of light treats the damaged surface of the skin. And then younger skin grows in its place.
But what we have heard, is that laser resurfacing is no 'walk in the park.' It's painful and you certainly need some down time, at least a week or two. We have had acquaintances tell us that this procedure felt like big, thick elastics being snapped across their face. Another told us, her face felt like raw meat directly afterwards. And these women both say they couldn't be seen out in public for about a week following the treatment.
Despite some of the nightmares about laser resurfacing, most patients feel the pain is very much worth it in the long run. Laser resurfacing can zap wrinkles, acne scars, facial lines, age spots, sun damage, and more.
The question looms. Do you treat the entire facial surface or just zero in on selected areas?
The NY Times article had some answers:
"The debate surrounding laser treatments is whether to go fractional or cover the entire surface of the treated area. Fractional lasers, like the Fraxel, burn tiny holes into the skin to stimulate collagen production. Because much of the skin remains untouched, recuperation time is minimal, but multiple treatments are necessary.
Regular laser resurfacing, on the other hand, destroys entire outer skin layers in the targeted area and requires at least a week of recovery. But it is a single treatment and produces arguably more dramatic results."
Dr. McGuire suggests treating the entire skin surface for the most benefits. "Any laser treatment that leaves some skin ‘islands’ will be less effective at achieving skin tightening and pigmentation removal simply because the entire surface is not treated.".
The average cost of laser resurfacing is about $2,500. And many patients report seeing immediate results after the uncomfortable downtime of red, puffy, and sometimes crusty skin.
And although laser resurfacing can last for years, wrinkles and expression lines eventually pop up again as skin ages. Repeat procedures may be necessary. Ouch.