Today facial rejuvenation is increasingly being done with fractional photothermolysis. Unlike the older lasers, selective photothermolysis only treats the selected damaged areas of the skin, thus reducing the incidence of major side effects.
Fractional Photothermolysis or Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing allows for treatment to the minutest area of the skin without damaging the nearby normal skin.
Only the minute selected areas of the skin are treated with fractional therapy. This type of selected therapy allows for improved results, faster healing of the skin and a lesser incidence of complications.
Fractional laser therapy can be done with either ablative laser or non-ablative laser treatment, using the various different wavelengths of lasers available.
Current data indicate that this fractional approach can achieve comparable skin improvements as obtained with conventional ablative laser resurfacing with an Er: YAG or CO2 laser. In addition the fractional lasers have minimal side effects and little or no downtime.
Once fractional laser skin resurfacing has been done, the results are not immediate. The majority of individuals notice an improvement after a period of 2-3 months. With time, the skin tightening continues to occur and the skin shape and eventually the skin contour appear fresh, smoother and younger looking.
Fractional laser skin resurfacing is not a permanent procedure. The results last anywhere from a 3-9 months. As aging continues, the skin reverts back to its original state.
Further, exposure to sun and smoking can hasten the aging of the skin.
The first fractional laser skin rejuvenation system was the Fraxel SR laser. It is currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of:
- skin resurfacing
- pigmented lesions
- acne scars
- Aging spots
- Sun damaged skin
Although the Fraxel? device dominates the cosmetic industry, other manufacturers are rapidly expanding their product ranges in this niche area to meet the growing demand to reverse the signs of an aging skin.