Resurfacing is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of therapeutic modalities. Included among these are chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Each may be used on the entire face, albeit with exception. These procedures, performed alone or in concert with other rejuvenative procedures, provide significant and long-lasting improvement of sun damaged, unevenly pigmented or coarsely wrinkled facial skin.
Chemical peels may be of superficial, medium or deeper depth depending upon your skin's needs. Glycolic acid is one of a larger group of alpha hydroxy acids, derived from natural sources such as fruit and milk. It is used in varying concentrations as a superficial but prescription-strength peeling solution. Typically administered as a series of peels, glycolic acid preparations work beneath the skin's surface to help loosen and eliminate damaged skin cells, unclog pores and impart a healthier glow. The result is a reduction in the visible signs of aging and sun damage. Chemical peels containing trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or phenol are used for purposes of medium and deep peels, respectively. Unlike deeper peels, superficial peels require no anesthetic and permit immediate return to work or other activities.
Dermabrasion entails the use of a small, rapidly spinning wheel with a roughened surface to abrade the skin removing its upper layers. This resurfacing technique is well suited for the treatment of facial scars or vertical wrinkles around the mouth.
Laser resurfacing is another popular technique. Using a beam of precisely focused light, the laser removes the outer, often damaged layer of skin. It is highly effective in treating fine lines, uneven pigmentation and superficial scarring leaving a smoother, younger look. The laser also has a mild tightening effect on the skin, particularly in the lower eyelid area. There are several lasers in use today though the most widely known are the carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Here, the erbium laser maintains a clear advantage. Greater precision over depth and extent of procedure translate to greater control over how gentle or aggressive the procedure is. In addition, the erbium laser does not portend the risk of scarring and delayed hypopigmentation, or loss of pigmentation, that the carbon dioxide laser does.