Pulses of Light for Rejuvenated Skin

by Dr. Carl W. Soderstrom

Your new, fresh look is only a weekend away…

Everyone would love to keep the soft, unblemished skin of a baby throughout their lives. Unfortunately, gravity, environmental factors, sun exposure, emotional stress and physical damage all play a role in the condition of our skin as we get older. One of the more interesting discoveries over the last 20 years is the use of laser light for the treatment of various skin diseases and skin rejuvenation.

How It Works
LASER stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers work by producing an intense beam of bright light that travels in a single direction. The laser beam can gently vaporize or ablate skin tissue to treat everything from wrinkles and blemishes to age spots and scars.

The wand-like laser will send short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin, removing unwanted, damaged skin in a very precise manner—one layer at a time. The laser beam used in laser resurfacing will remove your outer layer of skin, called the epidermis, and simultaneously heat the underlying skin, called the dermis, which stimulates growth of new collagen fibers. As the treated area heals, the new skin that forms is smoother and firmer.

Laser therapy can treat a number of skin conditions, including fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, frown lines, acne, chickenpox scars, brown spots, sun-damaged skin, birthmarks, melasma, and uneven skin tone and color.

The Results
Facial laser resurfacing is an effective treatment to help remove surface skin imperfections, shrink pores, lighten or remove pigment, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. After the initial healing phase, the skin will be more uniform in color and smoother in texture, and your general complexion will be healthier and more youthful-looking. This regeneration process can continue for up to six months after the initial laser treatment, but in most cases, patients will need just one laser treatment to achieve these results.

The benefits of laser treatment include improved therapeutic results; relatively little, if any bleeding; reduced risk of infection; outpatient treatments; and less downtime—you’re back to work in a couple of days.

Be Informed
As with any elective surgery, there are many factors to take into consideration prior to deciding on whether laser surgery is right for you. Risks, treatment options and cosmetic goals should all be discussed during an initial consultation with your physician.

The Illinois Dermatology Society has worked hard with the state legislature in the past few years to define the rules by which lasers are used in the State of Illinois. These rules require certain expertise—such as physicians being on-call or on the premises—if they are not operating the lasers themselves. In addition, it should be noted there are risks with all treatments, including burns, scars, infections, increased and decreased pigment, and more. Make sure an experienced laser professional is treating your skin. a&s

Carl W. Soderstrom, MD, FACP, FAAD is the founder and medical director of Soderstrom Skin Institute, board certified in dermatology and internal medicine with more than 40 years of experience. For more information, call (888) 970-7546 or visit SoderstromSkinInstitute.com.