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08 June 2011

Laser skin resurfacing

A new generation of treatments would not look out of place on an episode of Star Trek, but the experts warn that you should be very careful...

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A new generation of treatments would not look out of place on an episode of Star Trek, but the experts warn that you should be very careful...

Laser skin resurfacing

Specifically for fine lines and wrinkles, and skin scarred by acne, pigmentation, injury or ageing. The top layer of skin is removed to reveal healthy skin underneath, usually by carbon dioxide lasers which use heat to vapourise the skin surface, one layer of cells at a time, at depths determined by the energy transmitted.

Do not entrust  anyone unqualified, as it can entail general anaesthetic and a hospital admission. It is a painful procedure and demands a recovery time of around 10 days. ‘Laser skin resurfacing can be wonderful, but it comes with risks,’ warns Dr Halley-Stott. ‘Choose an experienced operator. 

Darker skins are generally unsuitable for deeper laser treatments. Laser is not a suitable treatment for pigmentation problems which may in fact become far worse. Consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for a supervised four to six month course of prescribed hydroquinone cream that generally delivers a 50 percent improvement,’ he notes.  

New generation lasers

These include the Cutera Titan and Laser Genesis procedures, Intense Pulsed Light or IPL lasers (available at some beauty salons), and the long pulsed Nd Yag laser.

Generally used to target specific lines on the face, sun spots, stretch marks, dull complexion, acne scars and sagging skin, but several cosmetic surgeons warn about their having only minor benefits, with far greater results achieved through other means, and what’s more: they’re extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

Dr Adams agrees, ‘Approach with caution, particularly if you are concerned about skin pigmentation problems.’

Radio Frequency (RF) treatments

Available at ‘medi-spas’ and salons, they include Accent, TriPollar, Thermage, ThermaLift and ThermaCool. They claim an immediate tightening effect with collagen stimulation.

Dr Adams warns that they can cause problems and should never be embraced without a proper  consultation with an adequately trained dermatologist or suitable specialist.

(This is an edited version of an article that originally appears in the August issue of Elle Magazine. The current edition is on sale now.)(This is an edited version of an article that originally appears in the August issue of Elle Magazine.)

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