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Aging and the Skin

By Alan Levy, MD

As fall begins, changes in the scenery outside mimic the changes we see in the skin after a summer in the sun, as well as the ongoing aging process occurring within us all. As people live longer, healthier lives, many feel significantly younger than how they look. Enter the field of anti-aging! I am consistently asked by my patients what can be done to make skin look younger, more radiant, and healthy, without significant downtime or surgery.

The Broadband Light device from Sciton (known as BBL) provides pulses of visible light that have been filtered to a particular wavelength that is specifically absorbed by photodamaged skin. The absorption of this intense pulse of light leads to rapid destruction of the sun-damaged skin, including brown spots, dilated vessels, and damaged collagen, resulting in a healthy glow, an evening of the skin tone, and an improved appearance. There is limited to no downtime, and most individuals have post-treatment redness that lasts only a few hours. Activity can resume as normal, and results are often seen in as little as one week. A course of four to six treatments spaced four weeks apart provides optimal skin-rejuvenating results, but as seen in the image, beautiful results can occur with even one treatment.

The Microlaser Peel (MLP) uses a laser to remove micro layers of the skin to improve the texture, decrease pore size, and smoothen the skin. It can resurface as little as the dead skin layer, or deeper into the skin depending on the amount of sun damage present, treatment goals, and available downtime of the patient. For lighter peels there is no downtime. For deeper peels downtime can approach one week.

Another low downtime procedure is the fractionated resurfacing laser that uses the same laser as the MLP, but instead of removing layers of the skin, it “pokes” tiny holes in the skin to generate rejuvenated skin. If MLP is like mowing the grass, then the Profractional XC laser treatments are like aerating it. Its primary advantage over BBL and MLP is that it can penetrate into the deeper part of the skin to kickstart the rejuvenation process.

My personal favorite is a combination of these modalities known as the Restore Peel. It uses a BBL followed by a MLP of 20 microns in depth with the option of a 75-150 micron Profractional XC treatment. This is a “weekend peel” (meaning it takes about a weekend for the redness to go away) that effectively reverses long-term sun damage in one treatment. Downtime is minimal. You can expect a mild sunburn-like redness and stinging the first day, followed by coffee-ground-like darkening of the brown spots the second and third days, and peeling during the third to fifth day. This is a phenomenal way to accomplish a skin “do-over” and reset the clock for your skin.

 

Hands Before Restore Peel Treatment

After Restore Peel Treatment

In summary, the use of BBL and MLP can effectively reverse the signs of solar damage. These treatments have minimal downtime, but there is an art to the procedure, so it’s important that your operator has experience with these devices. Risks of any light and laser procedures include, but are not limited to, pigment changes, burns, prolonged redness, and even scarring. The BBL and MLP treatments are quite safe and effective when performed by an experienced and skilled operator.

Dr. Alan Levy is a Dermatologist and President of Levy Dermatology, PC. For a consultation or more information call (901) 624-3333 or visit LevyDermatology.com.

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