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Lasers and Lights--A Technological Revolution

By: Jeffrey Dover, MD, and Amy Kamin
Posted: June 6, 2008, from the January 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 4 of 6

Intense pulsed light devices. These affect pigmented spots similar to the pulse lasers. They are best suited for treating either individual spots or larger areas, and all of the discolored spots within an area such as the face or the hands.

Fractional rejuvenation. Fractional resurfacing and plasma devices remove the upper layer of skin, the epidermis, and it is replaced with a younger-looking, evenly colored skin.

Wrinkles

With age, the skin loses elasticity and turgor. Wrinkles and sagging are the result. Without lifelong sun exposure, however, less sagging and far less wrinkling occurs, as the sun is the greatest environmental insult to skin.

Types of wrinkles. Dynamic lines include crows feet around the eyes, frown lines on the forehead and in the glabella (between the brows), as well as smile lines on the cheeks. Static lines include crinkles under the eyes, and lines over the cheeks not directly related to dynamic movement of the skin.

Devices to correct wrinkles. A variety of laser and light-based technologies are available to treat sun-induced skin wrinkles. While they are not particularly effective for dynamic lines, where neuromodulators, such as Botox,* are the treatment of choice, they variably are effective for static lines and also for sun-induced skin discoloration. The different technologies are best divided into ablative, where the epidermis is removed, and nonablative, where the epidermis is left intact after treatment.

Nonablative devices