Skin discoloration from sun exposure and fine lines and wrinkles add years to your face and neck which can be greatly improved with a fractional resurfacing treatment. These laser devices send columns of light to the skin, damaging a portion of the epidermis but also leaving areas of undamaged skin between them, greatly improving the skin's ability to heal following the treatment.
New York Dermatologist Dr. Heidi Waldorf uses the Fraxel re:store Dual, one of the newest devices for skin resurfacing. She uses the Fraxel to treat sun damaged skin, but also says that those actively tanning are not good candidates for a fractional resurfacing treatment. "I wont treat someone with any fractionated laser if they are actively tanning because those patients have a high risk of hypo- and hyperpigmentation afterwards - less than they did in the traditional co2 laser technology, but they still may have difficulties and those patients who have more of an old tan will need to be prepped with topical agents such as retinoids and hydroquinones before having a treatment of this nature. It is a great treatment for patients with light or medium tones skin and can be used carefully in patients with darker toned skin."
Many fractional resurfacing devices also offer a skin tightening effect as the heat stimulates new collagen growth. The results are impressive, though not as dramatic as the results patients see from skin tightening technologies like Thermage and Reaction by Viora. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff says that when she uses the SmartSkin laser from Cynosure, "I get considerable skin tightening. It would not be the treatment of choice for someone who has jowls, or tremendous laxity, but I think when you have this crinkled appearance, it can just give a smoothing out or a pressing that is quite extraordinary."
Both devices can be used with facial fillers for an even more dramatic effect, and can be used with additional skin tightening treatments for an all over improvement. Healing is relatively quick with many patients returning to work the next day, though the face is red for about a week or so. Discuss whether or not a laser therapy is right for you with your physician.