If you’ve been thinking about getting facial rejuvenation with cosmetic laser treatments, reading about these procedures can leave you feeling like you’re learning a foreign language. Today we’re decoding laser lingo so you can understand what your options are and what kind of laser works best for your skin problems.
Cosmetic laser treatment
Laser is short for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation – simply put, it means using a single-wavelength, high-energy beam of light, which can be focused on a small area of the skin. The process works like this – the light from the laser device generates heat in the skin. The heat selectively breaks down skin cells in the target area, whether they are undesirable brown spots or unsightly broken capillaries. There are hundreds of lasers on the market. The main difference between them is the wavelength or color of light that the lasers emit, which determines what skin conditions they can treat.
To understand how lasers work, you need a basic understanding of skin structure. The skin is made up of three layers – the uppermost epidermis, the middle dermis, and the lower subcutis or fat layer. Melanocytes, cells that give the skin its color, are found in the epidermis. Collagen and elastin fibers which give the skin its strength and elasticity, are found in the dermis. Over time and with age, the epidermis thins, and blemishes like brown spots and red spots become more visible. At the same time, the amount of collagen in the dermis decreases, leading to problems like sagging, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Ablative and non-ablative lasers
The two basic types of lasers used for cosmetic treatments are ablative and non-ablative. The difference is in the layers of skin they act on. Ablative lasers work superficially and treat damage in the epidermis (top layers of skin). Non-ablative lasers act on deeper layers in the skin, specifically the mid-layer or dermis, without damaging or harming the top layers. As a result, non-ablative laser technology is gentler. Non-ablative lasers don’t require any real downtime for patients because the surface skin cells are not damaged during the treatment. Here at Pittman Plastic Surgery, we have invested in the MOXI system from Sciton, which is a non-ablative laser platform. Read on to find out more about our laser system.
A fractional laser bridges the gap between ablative and non-ablative lasers. It works at both the epidermis and dermis levels. The laser device divides the target area into thousands of microscopic treatment zones. So, the laser essentially targets a “fraction” of the skin at a time. Each treatment zone consists of a tiny but deep column of skin. A fractional laser, therefore, treats pigmented cells in the epidermis and also stimulates new collagen formation in the dermis. Because the laser targets a highly selective treatment zone, the surrounding tissue remains intact. Fractionated laser treatments allow procedures with faster healing times compared to devices that expose larger areas of the skin to the laser beam.
Fractional laser treatment is used to treat things like rhytids (fine lines and wrinkles), sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and acne scarring. A fractional laser can be used on any part of the body but is especially useful on the face, neck, chest, and hands.
MOXI is a revolutionary fractional laser from Sciton. It revitalizes skin by reducing pigmentation and improving the tone and texture of aging skin. This makes MOXI ideal for patients who have the initial signs of aging and are just starting out with cosmetic skin care. It is also a good choice for those who are looking for touch-ups to maintain youthful-looking skin. For example, MOXI can be used for long-term maintenance in patients who have had more invasive laser procedures.
MOXI is a low-to-no-downtime procedure, which is why it is often called a “lunchtime” laser. It works great on all skin types in both men and women. Because of the gentleness of the MOXI laser, it is ideal for regular skin maintenance. Meaning, you can rely on MOXI to look flawless and fabulous for years.
How does MOXI laser treatment work?
MOXI laser delivers microscopic pulses of laser energy to selective areas of the skin, causing controlled damage. The body responds to this by removing the damaged skin cells and replacing them with healthy cells. The result is brighter, fresher, younger-looking skin. Most patients tolerate MOXI well.
How soon will I see results? How long will they last?
The results from a MOXI laser treatment vary from person to person. In general, the skin surface cells slough off over several days, revealing noticeably improved skin underneath. Over the next several weeks, collagen production is stimulated in the skin, leading to a more hydrated, plumper-looking skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles and a more even tone and texture. The full effect of the corrective treatment can take up to 3 months to be visible. The number of treatments you need will depend on the level of correction necessary. Most patients undergo 3 treatments spaced one month apart and then quarterly maintenance treatments. Your aesthetician will discuss your treatment goals with you and advise you on a maintenance schedule.
Do I need to take time off work for a MOXI laser treatment?
Most people don’t need to take time off work for MOXI laser treatments. On the day of your treatment and the next day, your skin may appear slightly red, like a mild sunburn. You may also see small dots in the treated area where the MOXI laser was applied. As these microscopic treatment zones heal, your skin will feel slightly rough. Within 3-5 days, the surface skin cells will slough off, revealing revitalized new skin beneath. Because MOXI is a non-ablative fractional laser treatment, the aftercare is simple. You have to wear a moisturizer and sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible. You can wear makeup after 24 hours.
MOXI is a powerful tool that treats your skin gently. It’s a great option for people looking to correct sun damage and skin aging with a minimal-downtime procedure that works on all skin types. What’s more, MOXI is also beneficial in staving off signs of aging before they appear. Talk to our aesthetician, Tabatha, today about what MOXI can do for you.