What is Fractional Laser Skin Rejuvenation?
Fractional laser with the Palomar Icon system is a non-invasive treatment that delivers a laser beam divided into thousands of microscopic treatment zones to target a fraction of the skin at a time. Also known as fractional skin resurfacing, it is very similar to enhancing a photographic imagine pixel by pixel.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing Technology
The Palomar Icon 1540 XD/XF is the most advanced and customizable Fractional Laser skin resurfacing treatment system available, providing amazing results for treatment of pigmented and depressed acne scars, unsightly stretched or darkened surgical scars, and drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The Palomar Icon 1540 provides innovative treatments which bridge the gap between the ablative and non-ablative laser techniques. It is also used to treat sun-damaged and aging skin using the Icon’s IPL system hand piece. While ablative laser treatments work mainly on the epidermis (surface skin cells) and the non-ablative treatments work solely on the dermal collagen (mid-layer of skin), fractional laser treatments work at both the epidermal and dermal layer of the skin.
What areas does Fractional Laser Resurfacing treat?
Fractional laser treats:
- Facial lines and wrinkles
- Skin pigmentation associated with photo-aging
- Surgical scars
- Acne scars
- Stretch marks
- Melasma (Mask of pregnancy)
* It can be used on any part of the body, but is particularly useful on the face, neck, chest and hands.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing for fine lines and wrinkles:
Fine lines and wrinkles begin to form as a result of reduced collagen production, a natural part of the aging process. There are many ways to stimulate your body to increase production of collagen, including: skin care products, certain dermal fillers, and many types of lasers. Skin care products are the least effective of these treatments, and most patients do not find adequate results from using these products alone. Dermal fillers can create a temporary solution for lines and wrinkles, but do not address tone and texture the way lasers can, and the results from laser skin resurfacing can last much longer than the other options.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing for acne scars, injury or surgical scars
Surgical or injury scars:
Sunlight, abrasion, pressure, and pulling on wounds during the healing process can result in abnormal and unsightly scarring. Pink, raised, even rippled scarring can be lessened in appearance from laser skin resurfacing. Through promotion of cellular re-organization within scarred tissue, and new collagen growth, the Palomar Icon 1540 is able to create permanent scar treatments in safe, quick sessions. Most patients see full results after only one session.
Acne scars form as the skin heals over once large and inflamed pimples, sometimes resulting in hyper-pigmentation and texture irregularities. There are several different types of acne scars:
- Ice Pick scars / depressed fibrotic scars- The more severe scarring and pitting on the skin is called “ice pick” scarring, or more commonly known as craters or divots. They can be jagged, shallow, or deep- like ice pick stabs on the skin. This type of scarring is a result of tissue loss beneath the skin from deep, nodular acne. At the first sign of this type of acne, prompt treatment can help minimize damage and scarring on the skin. Depressed fibrotic scars are generally very large, steep and sharp. Ice pick scars can develop into depressed fibrotic scars in time.
- Atrophic macules- These scars are soft and sometimes wrinkled. They can turn blue in appearance because of the blood vessels lying directly under the new skin.
- Follicular macular atrophy- These types of scars are small, soft, white lesions that look like tiny whiteheads just under the surface of the skin. These usually appear on the back and chest.
- Soft scars- These scars have sloping or rolling edges that seem to merge with normal skin. Most often they are small and circular, or linear.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing to treat stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when underlying tissue in an area grows faster than the skin can stretch to accommodate, creating tears in the underlying structure and scarring the skin. Stretch marks can be worsened by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, hormone replacement therapy, or other changes in hormone levels. Dark purple or reddish in tone, stretch marks will usually fade somewhat over time.
Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing works to repair the tears and scar tissue of stretch marks, as well as to fade their surface color. There is no perfect treatment for stretch marks that will completely remove all marks. With Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing for stretch marks, you can expect to see a 50-75% improvement over 3-5 sessions spaced every 2 months, with full results 3-4 months after the last treatment.
Melasma (Mask of pregnancy)
Melasma, sometimes called the “Mask of pregnancy,” is a hormonally-caused pigmentation, usually occurring on the face. Melasma can be caused by any type of hormonal inbalance – pregnancy, menopause, use of hormonal birth control, side effects of medicines, or vitamins.
However, not all causes are unavoidable, and Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing with the Palomar Icon XD/XF can provide a good resolution of Melasma for those with persistent pigmentation. Fractional Skin Resurfacing works by directing arrays of light at the skin in precise increments, to create columns of coagulated tissue within the dermis and epidermis. In simpler terms, Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing works by creating precisely controlled micro-damage to the tissue, which causes your body to replace that tissue with new tissue. Part of your body’s immune response to this micro-damage will be to generate new collagen, in addition to new skin cells. Melasma may require several laser sessions, spaced at 2 month intervals, to see best results.
What can I expect?
Typically three treatments are required, depending on the energy level used in each treatment. Treatments are spaced one month apart. The results are not immediate and are slowly progressive, with optimal improvement visible over a three to four month period. This time frame and treatment regimen allows for complete healing and replacement of damaged tissue with new collagen and elastin, and viable healthy skin cell growth. The gradual and natural results you’ll see from your very first treatment will leave you looking powerfully rejuvenated over time, so it will not be obvious that you had a major treatment done.
Most patients experience few side-effects from treatment, and shaving or application of make-up can be done soon afterward. In most cases, patients return to work directly after their treatment, or on the following day, depending on their skin condition and treatment.
Some side effects that may occur after aggressive or high-level treatment include:
- Excessive desquamation (scaling, peeling) and some crusting
- Swelling for up to a few days after treatment – this can be helped by applying an ice pack at 10-minute intervals for the first 24 hours.
- Post-inflammatory pigmentation – occurs more commonly in patients with a history of melasma or post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (more common in patients of darker skin types)
Fractional Laser Resurfacing Technology
Westside Head & Neck owns and utilizes the Palomar Icon Aesthetic System, which is the next generation of platform technology. It also includes the only FDA-cleared melanin reader. This system provides fast treatments with excellent outcomes, and a comfortable patient experience. It’s perfect for treating wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, spider veins, and more.
By allowing for more user control, the Palomar Icon 1540 XD/XF Laser Skin Resurfacing System provides our Board Certified physicians with a tool that can be tailored to the individual, rather than providing a one-size-fits-all treatment, in alignment with our commitment to individualized, comprehensive care.