There are several procedures that are used to rejuvenate the outer layers of the facial skin including chemical peels, dermabrasion and CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Based on nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Yellin’s technique of choice remains CO2 laser skin resurfacing.
While this procedure is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, cheeks and forehead, it also is effective in treating precancerous sun damaged skin, acne scars, and uneven pigmentation.
Laser resurfacing can be safely performed in conjunction with other facial surgical procedures; most frequently around the eyes and mouth at the time of a facelift. However, in the interest of patient safety, Dr. Yellin does not perform laser resurfacing on the skin of the cheeks at the time of a facelift since the skin in this area has been lifted. If the patient requires both procedures they will be staged, typically 3-6 months apart. The exception is the forehead, which can be lifted and resurfaced at the same time, due to the robust nature of the blood supply and thickness of the tissues in this area.
After the procedure, the skin sheds for about one week after which time it is red for several weeks and back to normal color in several months. The patient must avoid the sun until the skin is normal in color or risk unwanted hyperpigmentation. During the procedure, the laser safely removes damaged skin layer by layer. The laser penetrates to a precise, controlled depth, reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation problems. During the healing process, new cells form, producing a smoother, younger-looking skin surface.
Another option is Fractional CO2 laser which allows for a reduced healing time. Dr. Yellin performs fractionated CO2 laser treatments in the office under local anesthesia as opposed to CO2 laser resurfacing, which must be done under general anesthesia in the operating room. However, fractionated CO2 laser treatments may require several treatments to achieve similar results when compared to a single CO2 laser resurfacing procedure.