IPL, BBL, CO2 – shopping for skin treatments today can make you feel like you need a glossary to even get started. With all these complex terms (and new ones popping up all the time), it’s difficult to get a handle on your options and figure out which one will give you the results you want. To lend a hand, our licensed and experienced aestheticians are breaking down the differences between two often confused treatments – fractionated laser skin resurfacing and photo rejuvenation.
The original forms of laser skin resurfacing used a CO2 laser to essentially remove damaged surface skin throughout the face. The problem is that this had a risk of scarring, left a clear line between treated and untreated skin, and required weeks of recovery time before a patient could return to work or most other activities.
Fractionated skin resurfacing, though, only uses tiny columns of laser light to treat spots of skin while leaving untreated skin between. This has the same effect of helping your body slough off damaged skin, but it’s a much gentler method and it dramatically reduces the healing time. Because this is a type of “ablative” laser (which means it breaks through the skin), it can address fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, sun damage, sagging skin, and more issues.
Photo rejuvenation (sometimes called a photofacial) uses light energy, but it’s not a true laser treatment because the light isn’t concentrated into a high-powered beam. Instead, photo rejuvenation uses pulses of intense light to reach the deeper layers of the skin. This treatment, which is also called Intense Pulsed Light or IPL, breaks down excess pigment like sun damage, hyperpigmented acne scars, and freckles, and it can improve some fine lines as well. It’s also attracted to the pigment of spider veins, so it breaks down these unwanted veins without harming the veins your body actually needs.
Photo rejuvenation is a non-ablative treatment, meaning it doesn’t break the skin at all. While it takes a series of four to six treatments for most patients to see their best results, this gentle procedure doesn’t require any recovery time. Patients typically just have temporary redness and possibly mild swelling immediately after their procedure, and some targeted spots may get darker before they fade.
How to Decide Between Fractionated Laser Skin Resurfacing and Photo Rejuvenation
There are several key differences that can help you decide which treatment is right for you. First of all, take a look at the list of cosmetic issues that each one addresses. If you want to treat deep wrinkles or skin texture issues, for instance, photo rejuvenation won’t be able to produce strong enough results so you should opt for fractionated laser resurfacing instead. If the issue you want to treat is on both lists, it comes down to recovery time. Laser skin resurfacing will give you more comprehensive results and it only takes one treatment (possibly two depending on how much progress you want to make), but it does require downtime to recover while photo rejuvenation doesn’t.
Rather than deciding for yourself, though, we recommend scheduling a free consultation with our licensed and experienced medical staff. We’ll be able to take you through your options and help you find the best course of action based on your wants and priorities along with our medical expertise. If you’re ready to take that step, call Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center to schedule your complimentary consultation. In the meantime, stay on top of our special offers and upcoming events and read more skin care tips when you follow Laser Lights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.