As we age, we all suffer from skin problems. Most of us keep our bodies covered, but the face is out there for the world to see. Recent advancements in skin care have led to the development of fractional resurfacing technologies that help to restore skin's beauty. There are many different devices available to perform this treatment, and the Matrix IR from Syneron is among them. American Health & Beauty Editor Keith Veseleny recently spoke to Dr. Etai Funk of the Bressler Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX about the Matrix IR and what it means for patients.
Beauty Tech Review: Fractional Resurfacing Devices
"The Matrix IR actually has a diode laser combined with radio frequency." says Dr. Funk. "[It] initially sends off the light energy, it provides a heat medium, for which the radio frequency and electrical energy is actually going to work." These two energies, laser and radio frequency (RF), "work synergistically to provide the effect... but in a safer way than you would with regular fractional lasers."
Like other fractional treatments, the Matrix IR is used mainly on the face. "Face and the neck is where we're using the Matrix IR, and we'll frequently use it in a combined treatment, what they call the Trinity treatment. Wth photofacial, or facial rejuvenation for the reds and browns.... Then you have skin tightening, and that's basically remodeling that uses infrared light combined with the radio frequency.... Followed by the Matrix IR." Dr Funk says that the Matrix IR provides the final tough as it is, "useful for your fine wrinkling, for the texture of your skin ultimately."
Actual Before and After Results of Dr. Shalini Grover, After One Treatment, Photos Courtesy of Syneron
Dr. Funk says there are two main differences between the Matrix IR and other older technologies. "When you're dealing with traditional lasers, even fractional lasers of any sort, you're going to be dealing with hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation in your patients who have Fitzpatrick Scales of 4 plus." The Fitzpatrick Scale is a method of classifying skin which is based on skin's ability to absorb light. A 1 refers to those who are very pale and a 6 refers to those who are very dark. Accorcding to Dr. Funk, with the Matrix IR, "You're using mainly electrical energy in this case it's colorblind basically. You can use it on African Americans where you can dial down the setting, or you can use it in your Hispanic community, your Asian community and not have to worry as much about the side effects that you may have with your traditional fractional lasers or traditional lasers for that matter." Dr. Funk says that the ability to use this machine with many different skin types is very helpful to his practice in particular because he is in the Houston area, which is home to a large Hispanic and African American population who he can now service thanks to the Matrix IR.
The second difference between the IR and other machines is that it's, "really a safe system that we're comfortable letting our aesthetician use." Dr. Funk says that it can be used, "without worrying about having scattering, without worrying about causing these side effects that you may see with traditional lasers."
Dr. Funk says that the ideal patient for this procedure is someone who's "starting to notice some texture issues in terms of their skin, their pore size things of that sort." He's quick to point out though that most patients don't have only those issues, rather, they interested in treating multiple elements. "They typically have photodamage at the same time," he says. "They typically have a little rosacea, some telangiectasias some dilated blood vessels, and they typically have some descent. So I tell those patients, you need Trinity. You need all 3 applications - you need the photofacial for your browns and reds, you need the Refirme for tightening of the cheeks... and then you need the Matrix IR to finish things off."
Actual Before and After Results of Dr. John Shieh, Photos Courtesy of Syneron
Dr. Funk speaks about what he calls the three D's of skincare. "Number 1 is descent, and you're going to have a lot of descent in life, as you grow older. We're talking about the cheeks, the jaw line, the brows descending, and these are things that are corrected with surgery.... Number 2, is deflation. We're losing collagen, we're losing elastin, we're losing fat. With fat injection, with volume fillers - we can achieve those rounder, more youthful looking cheeks, and we can achieve, along the jaw line, right in front of the jowl area, to kind of efface that fold through there in terms of using volume.... The last one is skin deterioration, and that's where you use the Syneron platform." He says that surgery can correct the descent and the deflation, "but we have to put on the polish at the end, we've got to do the paint job at the end basically and that's where the Syneron platform comes and works really well."
In his practice, patients usually have a microdermabrasion performed prior to the Matrix IR to prepare their skin. Dr. Funk says that his aesthetician, "will bring them in, she will do the microdermabrasion session to prepare their skin for the treatment itself, she'll apply the ultrasound gel itself, and then place the goggles over the eyes, and then she'll begin the treatment session with them. The first step is, you want to test the impedance on that patient's skin, so you want to do a test pulse." The aesthetician does a test pulse on the cheek to test the skin's tolerance for the Matrix IR treatment. "You hear about all these people who go to these skin spas or just go to a spa and say I didn't see any result afterwards because that aesthetician or whoever was working there was just too cautious, just too conservative, that's the beauty in this system is that it can test." During treatment, no anesthetic is necessary and patients tolerate the Matrix IR very well.
Dr. Funk says that downtime is only a day or two, but that many patients return to work the next day. The main post treatment instructions are to keep the face clean and to avoid sun damage for those first couple days. Further, the redness is not as severe as seen with traditional skin resurfacing, and that it's easily managed with makeup.
After receiving his B.S. from Tulane University, Dr. Etai Funk returned to Houston to pursue a medical education that would prepare him for his career as a facial plastic surgeon. After graduating in the top one percent of his class and obtaining his medical degree, he completed residency in Otolaryngology �Head and Neck Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Throughout his prestigious career, Dr. Funk continuously sharpens his aesthetic eye by understanding the subtleties of the field and refining his surgical techniques. A member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Dr. Funk is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Dr. Etai Funk
American Health and Beauty, in an effort to provide the most up-to-date information to our readers, presents the Beauty Tech Review. Our first installment in this ongoing series discusses Fractional Resurfacing technology. Join American Health and Beauty editor, Keith Veseleny, as he speaks with leading physicians who share their knowledge on each laser platform.
The Beauty Tech Review: Fractional Resurfacing - will include: Dr. Heidi Waldorf on Fraxel Restore Dual, Dr. Etai Funk on Matrix IR, Dr. Michael Kaminer on ProFractional, Dr. Janee Steinberg on Sandstone Matrix, Dr. Lori Brightman on eMatrix, Dr. Deborah Sarnoff on SmartSkin, Dr. Christopher Zachary on Fraxel Repair, and Dr. Bill Johnson on SmartXide DOT Therapy.