Laser Resurfacing is among the most preferred of non-invasive skin treatments used for eradicating signs of aging. Laser resurfacing can be either ablative or non-ablative. Conventional or ablative laser resurfacing is mostly limited to the outer/epidermal layer of skin. Non-ablative laser resurfacing is more penetrative. People who are contemplating laser resurfacing treatment should be aware about similar treatments and alternatives to make a more informed decision.
Chemical peels can be understood as chemical resurfacing. As the name suggests, instead of using laser beams, certain chemicals are used for treating the skin. Chemical peels act like effective scrubbers on the skin’s outer surface wherein the outermost, hardened layers of skin cells are effectively removed. Chemical peels are preferred by people who are looking to instantly revive their skin since soon after the treatment, the skin develops a distinctly, refreshed appearance. Chemical peels are effective in neutralizing the effects of sun damage along with reducing pigmented marks and hardened acne scars. Common chemicals used for chemical peeling include glycolic acid, TCA or Trichloroacetic acid, and salicylic acid.
Just like laser resurfacing, chemical peels become effective through the concept of inducing a ‘controlled injury’ upon the skin. As a result, a process of skin rejuvenation is initiated. Here, the new skin cells are formed with renewed vigor to replace the peeled-away cells. Newer tissue formation helps to tighten the skin and improve vascular supply of tissues, helping to improve the overall skin tone.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing methods are more comprehensive than chemical peeling since the laser beams are able to penetrate the skin. Here, the process of skin rejuvenation induced upon the skin’s outer layers is further strengthened by stimulation of internal skin cells by the laser-induced heat. The extreme heating promotes better circulation of nutrients within the skin along with initiating the synthesis of skin proteins like elastin and collagen. Thus, laser resurfacing results usually tends to outlast chemical peeling results.
People who are apprehensive about laser treatments can opt for IPL or Intense Pulsed Light treatment. These are undemanding, outpatient procedures that usually take between 30 and 45 minutes. Both IPL and non-ablative laser resurfacing use the concept of heating the internal layers of the skin for promoting skin rejuvenation that is sustainable for a long time. Both the treatments are performed by cosmetologists who have certifications and experience in handling laser and laser-like cosmetic treatments. The cosmetologist can precisely direct the light upon selected areas on the face. Thus, both the treatments can be used for spot treatment.
Both ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing methods induce some degree of superficial treatment of the skin where the outermost, epidermal layer of skin is minimally vaporized. However, all forms of IPL treatment are limited to acting upon the dermis or the underlying tissue only.
IPL treatment is generally regarded a bit more progressive than laser resurfacing. This is largely because instead of using laser beams of similar wavelength, IPL uses broad-spectrum light pulses of varying wavelengths. Thus, in IPL, the degree of penetration of the light can be customized. The cosmetologist can control the internal heating of the skin to a greater extent. Various forms of IPL are aimed at treating different treatment demands.
For instance, the PhotoDerm VL is aimed at treating spider veins and birthmarks because it uses deeper-penetrating light pulses. Such categorization and specialization of laser resurfacing methods does not exist though different laser resurfacing technologies have evolved.