Posts Tagged fraxel
Facial peels come in many types these days and with the sun exposure of summer here (in the hot orange county sun,) patients are asking what they might plan to diminish the risk of the sun damage they are about to endure. Chemical peels come in different types and strengths [salicylic, glycolic, TCA (trichloroacetic acid) and phenol.] We also have a number of laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices as well as cold lasers. Potential patients are often confused as to what is best. The amount of marketing and misinformation on these things is enormous.
I have been a traditionalist using more chemical peels than laser peels for light and medium duty applications. I save the CO2 laser for my heavy cases. Medium strength TCA peels are a fan favorite as they can usually be done in the office with little or no anesthesia and are good to reduce pigment and mild wrinkles as well as sun damage. The healing is generally complete in about 5 days and they provide a good healthy peel. Avoiding the cost of a laser unit makes them more economical. I put my money where my mouth is by utilizing them myself as well.
The only thing the light treatments probably do better than chemicals is the reduction of small spider veins on the face. To prolong the effects of a peel, sun avoidance, a quality sunscreen and the avoidance of cigarette smoking are all good ideas.
To figure what is best for you, you need to decide how much downtime is OK, what you are looking to improve (wrinkles, pigment, etc) and have your skin type evaluated by a good plastic surgeon. Either that or keep the peel strength light so you don’t damage yourself. Inexperience and deep peels can damage the skin in an irreversible way. Finally, chemical peels are considered cosmetic so don’t be looking to have them covered by health insurance.
If your doctor tries to sell you on Fraxel or IPL ask whether or not he owns the unit. Those who do tend to sell it like their “Blue Plate Special” to pay the additional overhead it represents.
John Di Saia MD
Originally posted 2010-07-16 07:30:23.