Non-Surgical Options: Laser Therapy for Wrinkles
Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Amiya Prasad makes use of a microfractional CO2 laser to smooth out wrinkles, lines and crow’s feet. This, combined with experienced artistic technique, can dramatically improve the texture and smoothness of the skin around the eyes and face.
This type of laser delivers a precise matrix of micro spots that penetrate skin and stimulates the production of collagen and shrinks damaged tissue. This process generally results in not only less wrinkles, but also faster healing times and less pain. Laser therapy for wrinkles usually requires only one treatment session.
Patients can usually return to normal activities within a week of laser therapy, and the appearance of their skin will only continue to improve with time. No longer do people have to deal with unpleasant redness and long periods of healing thanks to Dr. Prasad’s innovative laser treatment for wrinkles.
This 58-year old man enjoyed sailing his boat and did not wear sunblock. He was concerned that the wrinkles around his eyes were becoming deep and bothersome. He underwent Erbium laser skin resurfacing in addition to his cosmetic eyelid surgery, giving his eyes a smoother, less wrinkled appearance. It is common to have laser skin resurfacing around the eyes to enhance the results of cosmetic eyelid surgery.
This 35-year old woman was very concerned about the dark circles and wrinkles under her eyes, which appeared to be the result of sun exposure causing discolorations. Although she was diligent about using sunblock, she did not usually apply anything to her eyes. To treat the discolorations, she had Erbium laser skin resurfacing, which resulted in her having lighter and smoother skin under her eyes.
Benefits of Laser Therapy for Wrinkles
- Immediate tightening of skin due to contraction of collagen fibers.
- Noticeable improvement on loose skin.
- Textural irregularities (pigmentation problems, enlarged pores, acne scars, etc.) are diminished or removed.
- Sun damage and aging discoloration, including certain skin lesions (actinic keratoses) are addressed.
Caution of Overuse of Thermal Energy Devices
Thermal devices such as fractional C02 laser and radiofrequency devices like Pelleve are indeed instrumental in stimulating new collagen production to reduce wrinkles. However, there is a limit to the amount of new collagen they can stimulate. Beyond a certain point, any thermal or laser resurfacing of the skin can damage the skin, especially eyelid skin which is the thinnest in the body.
Overuse of thermal devices, especially when a patient goes from one doctor to another for the latest thermal treatment, will thin the eyelid skin and literally “cook” the beneficial layer of fat that gives skin its youthful fullness. In addition, this fat layer also appears to interact with the skin to keep it supple and healthy.
Thermal Devices Do Not Replace Surgery
One of the biggest problems facing patients today is that they are convinced through marketing, price points, and non-surgical physicians that thermal devices can replace cosmetic surgery such as facelifts and eyelifts, and can turn wrinkled skin porcelain-smooth. Frankly, there is no such thing as a device that can do all these things, and attempting to will make things worse. You can improve wrinkles from limited use of heating devices, but attempting to do more with more treatments will cook the important layer of fat beneath the skin and damage your visible layer of skin by making it thinner. Thinned skin will eventually result in even more wrinkles, a hollow face, and unhealthy skin texture, so trying to look too young will actually result in looking even older.
To treat sagging in the face, the skin and underlying tissue needs to be lifted. While laser and heat treatments can tighten the skin, they cannot tighten the skin to the point where it s lifted. Heat and radiofrequency devices also do not tighten the soft tissue that supports the face as they cannot penetrate that deeply without doing damage. Heating devices do have their role, but that role is not to replace facelifts.
In cosmetic eye surgery (blepharoplasty) the most common problems are hooded eyes and puffy eye bags. Hooded eyes are caused by excess or stretched skin of the eyelid. Non-surgical doctors have tried to use thermal devices to treat hooded eyes, but thermal devices cannot tighten delicate eyelid skin to the point where it contracts and no longer sags. This not only damages the very thin eyelid skin, but risk the eye being exposed to concentrated heat and light.
Puffy eye bags are caused by fat normally around the eyes that have pushed forward. As for treatment in eye bags, a cauterizing laser can be used in eye bag surgery where fat is removed and sculpted from the inside of the eyelid (transconjunctival blepharoplasty) but this a surgical use of a laser. As eye bags are caused by fat behind the skin, a non-surgical use of a laser on the surface of the skin will not remove or reduce eye bags. The fractional CO2 laser can used in conjunction with eye bag removal surgery to improve the appearance of wrinkles on lower eyelids.