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Laser Peel for Healthy Skin?

Posted on: May 29th, 2015 by California Skin Institute

If you’re dealing with problems like acne scars, wrinkles or hyperpigmentation, you may have heard of a procedure commonly referred to as a laser peel.* This is a general term used to describe a variety of laser treatments that are also referred to as laser resurfacing; a treatment that removes the upper-most layers of the skin with the purpose of exfoliating dead skin cells.* However, these procedures are often referred to as ‘peels’ because although the technology behind them is based on special light wavelengths, the patient often experiences effects similar to a chemical peel, including flaking and peeling of the skin.*

How Does a Laser Peel Work?

Firstly, keep in mind that there are many different laser procedures that fit under this category. Just like the term ‘chemical peel’ is used to describe many different peel options, laser peels can also be performed in a variety of ways.

The main idea behind a laser peel is to use focused light beams to target cells on the surface of the skin.* The effects of the treatment depend directly on the wavelength of the light, with stronger treatments causing blistering and peeling of the upper most skin layers – in much the same way as a chemical peel.*

However, laser peels can achieve much more than just the peeling of the skin. For example, fractional laser technology can be used to resurface the skin at the uppermost layers, while stimulating collagen production at deeper levels.* This provides patients with a two-fold effect; short term improvements from the removal of dull skin and hyperpigmentation, and skin tightening in the longer term to reduce the appearance of deeper wrinkles.*

Laser Peel Technology

Here at California Skin Institute we’ve built a full service laser treatment department with a large variety of lasers that allow us to perform many different types of procedures.* We did this because over the last few decades laser technology has become very versatile, placing many treatment options at the fingertips of our providers, and we wanted to give our patients as many options as possible.*

For example, our providers can use the YAG laser to target deep scars, birthmarks, and even tattoos.* To treat sunspots, wrinkles and blotchy skin, your provider may suggest using the Fraxel Dual laser instead, as this technology is much better suited for these types of skin problems.*

Or, your provider may opt for the Ultrapulse CO2 laser, which is highly effective for resurfacing purposes.* In fact, California Skin Institute has been using CO2 technology for over two decades, and Dr. Morganroth was one of the first doctors to use this technology to perform full-face resurfacing and has trained many other doctors in Northern California to perform laser peels.*

How is a Laser Peel Performed?

Laser peels are usually performed on an outpatient basis.* Your medical provider will place protection over your eyes to ensure that the light beams don’t damage your vision.* Your skin may also be treated with a topical anesthetic or a cooling gel, to reduce any potential discomfort – depending on the specific laser being used.*

If you are treating specific trouble areas, like a birthmark or sunspots, your provider will focus the treatment on that specific part of the face.* On the other hand, if you’re getting a full face resurfacing procedure, the provider will start the treatment on one part of the face and move step by step to cover the entire surface area of your face.*

Because our providers have such deep experience with laser peels, they place significant focus on covering the entire treatment area evenly.* For example, it’s important to guide the wand across the treatment area with even strokes.* This is because the speed with which the wand is moved will impact how much laser energy is delivered to the treatment site.* If this was to be performed in a haphazard manner, the results would be uneven.*

Secondly, in many cases it’s important to approach the treatment area from different angles, as this provides better delivery of the light to the skin.* To do this, California Skin Institute providers will move the laser peel wand in a variety of directions.* For example, they may first treat the area in vertical strokes, then treat the area in horizontal strokes, and then in diagonal movements.* This helps ensure an even application of the light beams, which creates a better outcome in the long term.*

After the Laser Peel

After your laser peel is complete you will experience a sensation that feels very much like a sunburn.* Your skin will feel a little sore and will be red. In a few days, you will begin to notice some blistering and peeling of the skin, which is very similar to the effects of a chemical peel.* Of course, every patient is unique, and your experience will depend on the specific laser peel that was performed, and the sensitivity of your skin.*

Also, it’s important to remember that laser peels temporarily weaken the natural defenses of your skin against sun damage.* Therefore, it’s vital to wear full spectrum sunscreen for several weeks after the procedure and to limit sun exposure as much as possible.* Of course, your provider will give you complete instructions when you come in for a consultation.

If you’d like to learn more about laser peels and to see if this procedure is right for you, please contact a California Skin Institute near you, or click the link below to set up your consultation!

*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.