Can new laser treatments really keep your skin looking fresh as it ages?
By Christopher Turner
A lot of us are uncomfortable in our aging skin—at least the appearance of it. Even if you’re not there yet, don’t get too comfortable: genetics, various life factors and environmental elements will inevitably cause those dreaded fine lines that etch into the face. That’s probably why, year over year, there’s an ever-increasing lineup of men and women seeking advice from cosmetic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists on how to improve their appearance. Is there hope?
There’s no shortage of skin rejuvenation treatments, of course, and customized facials and microdermabrasion procedures, and products that promise to eliminate scarring and to help improve the appearance of your skin. And Botox and dermal fillers are nothing new: millions seek out the line-erasing options every year in an attempt to stop the hands of time. In fact, of the $15 billion that Americans spent on surgical and non-surgical procedures last year, 44 per cent went to non-surgical procedures like Botox, and laser- and light-based therapies, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
But now newer laser skin treatments seem to be delivering noticeable results, and with no real downtime.
“Most men and women who are interested in anti-aging use Botox, and that’s about it. Botox is great for lines and wrinkles, but young-looking skin isn’t just wrinkle-free—it’s firm, evenly pigmented with unnoticeable pores and great texture,” says Dr. Stephen Mulholland of SpaMedica in Toronto. “That’s where Picofacials, the rejuvenating treatment we developed using the PicoSure laser, comes into play.”
PicoSure is a laser technology (approved by both the US FDA and Health Canada) that originally gained fame as one of the safest, fastest and most affordable methods of removing unwanted tattoos. When it was first introduced, doctors and patients raved that tired tattoos could be lightened or removed entirely in less than half the time of past methods—and with minimal discomfort. Today, doctors are using the laser treatment to help improve general pigmentation on the faces of their patients. Dr. Mulholland says PicoSure has quickly proven itself as very efficient in reducing wrinkles, especially when used in combination with other services.
“The PicoSure laser and its ultra-short pulse duration stimulate skin through a photo acoustic [sound wave] rather than the usual heating laser mechanism,” says Dr. Mulholland. “This non-thermal mechanical effect creates elastin, collagen and supportive skin elements.”
Think of it as skin rejuvenation. The bursts of energy actually activate the body’s own collagen and elastin production mechanisms, which in turn helps with the disappearance of acne scars and age spots, and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the face. The patient sees benefits almost immediately. In fact, most patients notice a considerable change in the appearance of their skin after three sessions. (Individual PicoSure sessions are generally spread two weeks apart to ensure proper healing of the skin.)
The treatments are relatively painless, with most patients comparing the quick laser pulses to the light snap of a thin rubber band on the skin. Those who are feeling nervous about the procedure can ask to have a numbing cream applied to the face before a treatment, but it’s not really necessary. Patients wear protective goggles and individual treatments generally take about 15 to 20 minutes.
PicoSure laser treatments are also much less invasive and expensive than seeking out surgical options.
Of course, as with most skin rejuvenation treatments, some patients may see temporary redness on the face or minor swelling, but the majority can typically resume their normal activities immediately following a treatment. In fact, most lunch-hour patients won’t show any signs of redness by the time they arrive back at the office.
Dr. Mulholland does, however, advise patients to lay off the gym for the remainder of the day, and drink plenty of water. But you’re already drinking your recommended eight glasses of water a day…
CHRISTOPHER TURNER acted as guest editor for this issue of IN magazine. He is a Toronto-based writer, editor and lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.