Picture this; you’re at the tail end of another gloomy Winter season and you cannot wait to feel the warm embrace of Summer on your skin. But wait, what’s this? Your skin is already radiant and glowing, your tone is so even, and it feels so healthy and hydrated – you’re actually already Summer-ready. All your friends ask you what your secret was; was it collagen? Was it Botox? Was it a skin-transplant? And you answer is, “No – I was just prepared.”
There is no question that Laser Resurfacing is a leading medical-grade treatment for more youthful and healthier, glowing skin. Often though, it is considered as a “one-and-done” treatment, and this isn’t always the case. As everyone’s skin is different, it is ideal to develop a customized approach that is not only tailored to our personal areas of concern, but also tailored to your skin type, tone and any pre-existing damage. While Laser Resurfacing can be utilized and customized to get your skin where it needs to be, the ideal thing to combine with Laser Resurfacing treatments is preparation. And on that note, let’s dive into Laser Resurfacing, the importance of a consult, and why you should “Plan Now, Laser Later”.
For those who are new to the idea of using lasers to treat and resurface your skin, it may seem like a bit of a baffling idea that people use a laser to remove wrinkles, sun spots, scars and more. Thanks in no small part to Pop Culture, when we hear the word “laser” we may think of a weapon, a superpower, a laser light show, or maybe even the electronic dance trio, Major Lazer. Whatever and however you think of lasers, they have been an important part of not only Pop Culture, but an absolute revolution for science and medicine.
Lasers are essentially a form of light; while ordinary light, such as that from a lamp, has many wavelengths and spreads in all directions, a laser light has a very specific wavelength and is focussed in an extremely narrow beam. When used in cosmetic scenarios, such as with Laser Resurfacing, light is harnessed and customized in such a microscopic way that it can create what are called “micro-channels” within very specific depths (aka wavelengths) of the skin. These micro-channels are what stimulates the body’s natural healing response, and results in an increased production of collagen and elastin (the body’s building blocks), as well as an accelerated cellular turnover rate. Laser Resurfacing is essentially helping the body to build new skin from the ground up while simultaneously removing damaged skin from the surface levels.
At 8 West Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Clinic, we currently offer 4 different laser and light therapies; Broadband Light (BBL), Halo Fractional Laser, ProFractional Laser, and TRL Contouring. These top-of-the-line machines can be used individually, or in collaboration with one another, to target the most specific of skin conditions; acne scars, wrinkles and lines, hyper pigmentation (melasma, sunspots), stretch marks, discolouration, large pores, crepey skin, and more. As should be evident by now, treatment plans with Laser Resurfacing are all unique, patient-to-patient, and may even incorporate some non-laser related therapies to provide the ideal results. This is where the importance of speaking with a skin and laser specialist comes in, as you can discuss not only your skin conditions and goals, but also your timeline.
Someone who is thinking about booking an appointment to see a skin specialist may be just looking to treat some wrinkles and fine lines, and their first thought about what treatment they want is to Google it. There is a lot of information out there on the internet, and with some research, someone may be able to come to a strong conclusion that ProFractional Laser Resurfacing is the best option for them! While Google is a great resource for information gathering, it isn’t able to assess your skin for you, and often this kind of research requires you to do your own skin-assessment. While we can be aware of a few different qualities of our skin, such as having oily skin, or that our skin is sensitive to certain products, it is almost impossible to know the complete ins-and-outs of our skin without extensive education and experience in this field.
For example, this same person looking to treat their wrinkles and lines may have quite thin, sensitive skin (which is why they react poorly to some products), in which case resurfacing that straight away may actually cause more harm than good. A specialist may add some other, lighter steps to strengthen and prepare their skin for this treatment; so that it responds to the treatment in the best way possible. There are also some skincare products and medications (such as Retinol or Roaccutane) that require a period of disuse before any laser treatments can be performed.
These are just a few examples of how a person may underestimate their skin needs when thinking about Laser Resurfacing, and why speaking to a specialist is invaluable. Many cosmetic skin clinics provide complimentary consultations, so you can be provided with a thorough explanation of not only a treatment plan for your concerns, but so you can understand your skin, right down to the dermis.
So, now that we have researched lasers, we have researched our skin concerns, and now we want to book our consultation and start treatment! Summer is 3 months away, and we cannot wait to look and feel like we are walking on sunshine. Well, this may not be possible in just 3-months. While most laser treatments have a 2-week downtime, this doesn’t mean your skin will be at its brightest by the end of this period. Again, as everyone’s skin is different, and there are different levels of the skin that certain conditions lie within; and this means that the skill will show results throughout different periods on a timeline. For example, if a person has some deeper age lines and wrinkles, but also has some poor skin texture, or larger pores, Laser Resurfacing will target these at different levels. After a few weeks or so, the poor skin texture will improve, and pore size will reduce, as the uppermost layers of the skin are resurfaced. Meanwhile, where deeper conditions have been treated (wrinkles and lines), and collagen and elastin production has been stimulated, it will take time for this to build up in the deeper layers of the skin. It’s like filling up a bubble bath, after a minute you will start to see the lovely, fluffy bubbles – but it takes time for the water to fill up underneath and for the bath to be ready.
There are also those who may require multiple treatments, just as a result of more mature signs of aging, deeper acne scars, or pronounced volume loss. Herein lies the importance of planning and preparation, so that expectations have been set, options provided, and you can move forward with a comfortable timeline that suits your goals and skin needs.
Our skin specialists at 8 West Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Clinic suggest that people who are interested in laser treatments should look at booking their consultations in August/September. This is so a treatment plan can be devised, and we can start treatment in late September/October (as we will not perform laser treatments in warmer months). This provides plenty of time to ensure that we not only have time for any and all necessary treatments, but so that you can have your best results showing and glowing for Summer.