Extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) factors contribute to skin aging. Extrinsic aging (photoaging) is caused by exposure to UV radiation, tobacco smoke, air pollutants, digital blue light, and other lifestyle choices. Intrinsic aging (chronologic aging) is influenced primarily by genetic factors. Between the ages of 25-30 years of age, collagen production begins to decrease by approximately 1% to 1.5% annually. Because of this, the skin thins and loses elasticity, leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, and discoloration.
While we can’t control our genetics, lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can reverse the impact of sun exposure and lifestyle choices to boost collagen production, reduce the appearance of capillaries and brown spots, and improve skin texture and tone.
During an IPL treatment, specific parameters are chosen to target redness and pigmentation and stimulate new collagen production. Multiple wavelengths in the visible light spectrum are emitted simultaneously, allowing a range of targets within the skin to be selectively heated and destroyed. Your body will naturally begin the healing process and results are fully realized in approximately six weeks.
Fractional lasers target a small portion of the skin leaving the untreated skin to rejuvenate and repair the treatment area. Many thousands of fractional microchannels are created in the skin to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimize pore size, and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Some downtime is to be expected, including mild redness and swelling and some light flaking after a few days. Typically a long weekend will be more than enough time to return to social activities.
Both IPL and fractional laser treatments can be performed alone. However, combining both therapies during the same treatment session compounds the results and provides a more comprehensive approach to improving the effects of extrinsic aging factors. Typically a series of 3-5 treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart are necessary to achieve the best aesthetic outcome. Once a treatment series is complete, we recommend 1-2 treatments per year to maintain the3 results, as well as a medical grade skin care regimen.
Dr. Deschamps-Braly is a board-certified plastic and craniofacial surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and craniofacial surgery for adults and children. He is also one of the world’s foremost leaders and innovators in facial gender confirmation surgery.