I’d love to put a smile on your face. But, as a dermatologist , I have to tell you that making you smile too much can cause some wrinkles. But don’t fret…there are new ways to help keep those signs of aging at bay.
In simple terms, here is why you get wrinkles as you age: Collagen and the elastic fibers of the skin break down faster than they are replaced as you age. The cumulative effect of sun exposure over time makes it worse by activating enzymes in the skin that makes the collagen break down even more. Add to that all the smiling, frowning and other facial expressions can deepen lines and wrinkles.
Now the good news! There are several laser treatments available that can resurface the skin and correct imperfections with minimal or short healing time. Two in particular have become popular because they have proven safe and effective: 1) the Fraxel laser, which is performed in a series of 3-5 treatments and 2) the Fractional CO2 laser, done in a single treatment.
A quick comparison between the two:
1) Fraxel laser helps rejuvenate the skin from the inside out by stimulating new collagen. It is effective for fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, scarring from acne or other causes, and pigmentation or age spots. The treatment is done in the office using a topical skin anesthetic or numbing cream applied for an hour. Prior to treatment, the numbing cream is removed and a special gel is applied to the skin to allow the doctor to slide the laser hand piece over the skin. The hand piece has a “smart” scanner that allows the laser beams to penetrate the skin while ensuring maximal safety. Each treatment takes 30-45 minutes. Healing time is quick, 2-3 days, and easily managed with your normal routine. The results are gradual and natural over the course of 4-5 treatments.
2) The Fractional CO2 laser is another option that offers more dramatic results in one treatment session. This laser also is done with topical numbing cream in the office and is an easy, comfortable procedure. The CO2 laser stimulates new collage and resurfaces the top skin layer. The healing time is about 1 week requiring some time off of work and outdoor activities. This laser can improve fine and deeper lines, age spots, acne scars and can achieve some skin tightening. It works best for patients over 55 with more significant aging changes. It is a good option for those wanting more immediate results.
Both lasers can be used for improving aging changes of the neck, chest and hands. These treatments are safe for men and women and most skin types. If you are unhappy about acne scars, age spots, fine lines- one of these treatments is an option to transform your appearance. I would be happy to advise you as to which might be the best solution for you. But meanwhile, keep smiling!