Today’s Question: I am hearing a lot about the Pearl Fractional laser treatment. What exactly is it and how can it improve my skin? Nicole, Winona Lake
A: That’s a great question, Nicole! There are so many laser treatments available now to treat facial lines, wrinkles and imperfections. It is important to understand the differences between these lasers. If you want an aggressive laser treatment to improve your wrinkles, skin tone and texture, this laser might be for you!
Pearl Fractional is the newest ablative laser available in the United States. It is an FDA-approved volumizing laser treatment designed to treat fine lines and deep wrinkles associated with aging. It is also a very effective treatment for acne scarring. Pearl Fractional can treat the entire face and is uniquely effective in the delicate areas around the eyes and mouth. These areas often show the first signs of aging and can be the most challenging to treat. Pearl Fractional is in the category of resurfacing laser technology. Historically, to receive these deep results, CO2 ablative lasers were used. Unfortunately, this resulted in lengthy recovery periods lasting several weeks and then sometimes patients required a second or third treatment! Today, who has time to take several weeks off work? I don’t know many women who can afford this downtime hiding out at home.
Nicole, look in the mirror. Do you notice lots of wrinkles around your eyes when you smile or lines around your lips that may be bothering you? Even though you don’t smoke, it’s normal to start developing these after the age of 40.
Pearl Fractional offers the best combination of patient experience and rapid recovery time when compared with older laser technology like the CO2 laser. Patients will see immediate improvements in photo damage, tone and texture as well as a noticeably smoother and brighter complexion in just one treatment. Long-term, patients will see continued structural changes in their skin, including increased volume and firmness.
The traditional CO2 lasers completely remove the top layer of skin, hence the long recovery time. Whereas fractional lasers expose only a fraction of the skin to the laser beam in a pattern of tiny dots. During the procedure, the laser pulses place tiny holes in the skin. This process removes columns of damaged tissue and then stimulates the body’s own natural process for creating healthy, new skin, full of fresh collagen greatly reducing the signs of aging. This plumps the skin from below, creating more volume and repairing photo damage and other imperfections. Removing only a small portion, or a “fraction,” of the skin ensures a safe treatment with a rapid recovery. The fractional laser results are comparable to the outdated CO2 lasers, but without the downtime.
Nicole, this is a procedure you will want to plan around your work and social calendar as there are about five to seven days of downtime. After the Pearl Fractional laser treatment, the skin looks sunburned and may be slightly swollen. Patients report little or no discomfort after treatment. After a treatment, patients are instructed to apply ointment to the skin for four to five days and should limit sun exposure. Mineral makeup may be worn five days after your treatment.
Most patients, when they undergo a traditional face lift surgery, will also have an ablative laser treatment done while they are under anesthesia. This results in glowing, perfect skin to complement the perfect face lift. If you are not ready for a surgical treatment, but want something beyond your medical skin care and chemical peels, this laser may be for you. I recommend you talk to your medical skin care specialist, Nicole, and find out if you are a good candidate for the treatment. If Pearl Fractional is right for you, you can expect both immediate and long-term anti-aging benefits.
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, practicing in Warsaw and Ft. Wayne. She is a sought after speaker at medical conferences such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons. Jennifer is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on sclerotherapy.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com.