We’re not going to lie—the thought of skin lasers makes us
a little skittish. But after hearing that these treatments are the driving
Jennifer Aniston and
Kim Kardashian’s flawless complexions, we were intrigued. With a long list of questions,
we called up Dr. Robert Anolik, a dermatologist from
Dr. Brandt Dermatology Associates, to find out what the deal is with these raved-about in-office procedures.
Turns out lasers are not only an effective way to improve the surface
and tone of your skin—if you can afford them—they’re
also not as scary as you think. Thankfully there are less pricey alternatives, too.
What are the benefits of laser treatments?
Lasers tackle some of the frustrating skin problems that many of us suffer
from, including sun damage, age spots, and even ruddiness, quickly and
effectively with minimal recovery time. According to Dr. Anolik, they
can also minimize the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars.
What do lasers actually
Most skin resurfacing treatments are performed with one of two popular
Clear + Brilliant Laser, a gentle one great for routine maintenance and brightening, and the
Fraxel Dual Laser, a more aggressive variation used to correct skin issues like deep lines
and acne scars. Other lasers include the VBeam, which is used to target
broken blood vessels, and Ruby, which concentrates on skin pigment molecules
to treat hyperpigmentation.
During a resurfacing treatment, lasers are set to a specific wavelength
safe for your skin type and applied to the face in a grid-like pattern.
As the laser heats up small water particles on the layer of skin called
the dermis, they trigger a healing response in the surrounding collagen
fibers, which leads to the creation of new, healthier collagen. The result:
brighter, more youthful looking skin.
Does it hurt?
The Clear + Brilliant Laser can cause a bit of discomfort, which is why
half of Dr. Anolik’s patients choose to apply a numbing cream 15
minutes before their treatment. For the Fraxel Dual Laser, which is more
aggressive, patients are required to wear a numbing cream for an hour
before sitting down for treatment.
What’s the recovery process like?
When the laser’s heat is absorbed into your skin, it triggers a healing
response. The great news is that this leads to new, healthy cells. The
bad news is that this will result in some inflammation, meaning pink,
sensitive skin. “[Inflammation] is often an indication that the
response that we want is happening,” explains Dr. Anolik. So if
you emerge from your derm looking a little red, don’t panic. For
the Clear + Brilliant treatment, patients should expect five hours of
recovery before heading back out into the world. The Fraxel Dual treatment
leaves patients with dry, irritated skin for up to five days.
So, what are the risks?
“The risks are extraordinarily low when these procedures are done
properly,” says Dr. Anolik, who stresses that anyone interested
in laser treatments should seek out a board-certified dermatologist, who
will be able to select the correct laser and wavelength for your skin
type and specific issues.
How much does it cost?
The short answer is a lot. For a full face treatment, the Clear + Brilliant
will run you $1,000, and the Fraxel Dual treatment costs about $1,250.
Treating smaller areas like the forehead will cost $500 to $800. For maintenance
and mild brightening, Dr. Anolik advises seeing your dermatologist three
to four times a year. For those addressing more serious conditions like
scarring, he says, some patients opt for monthly treatments.
Are there other ways to get similar results?
If you can’t afford (or don’t want to go) the laser route,
the next best option is an effective at-home treatment designed to target
your problem areas. Dr. Anolik recommends using a targeted serum from
Dr. Brandt’s Laser FX series, an antioxidant-rich moisturizer like the
xyy face cream, and SPF on a daily basis. The Laser FX products, released this year,
include three different serums that target common issues treated with
lasers in the office:
Bright addresses dark spots and dull skin with Vitamin C,
Perfecttargets wrinkles and fine lines by boosting collagen production, and
Lift helps to firm sagging skin by strengthening collagen fibers.
Original article featured on BirchBox.com from Maura M. Lynch