When it comes to facial rejuvenation using anti-aging techniques, there are various surgical and non-surgical procedures to choose from. Some of them are invasive, minimally invasive or non-invasive altogether. Aesthetic procedures such as photofacial and laser resurfacing are highly sought after by those seeking a clearer smoother complexion, firm skin, and a more youthful appearance.
Both photofacial and laser resurfacing are safe and effective and provide some amazing beauty benefits. However, choosing between the two means understanding the procedure used to perform each of them, the unique benefits they offer, and the differences between the two. Whether a client decides on a photofacial or laser resurfacing, it ultimately comes down to selecting a procedure that satisfies their individual cosmetic needs.
What is a Photofacial?
A photofacial, also known as photorejuvenation or IPL Therapy, is a non-surgical beauty procedure that uses a light-based technology known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is a natural protein that fills out the tissues beneath the skin to give a firmer, smoother look. IPL can be applied to affected areas of the face, neck, back, and back of the hands, and is more suitable for lighter complexions. This modern technology has proven effective in producing rejuvenated skin in people with skin conditions such as:
• Sun damaged skin
• Hyperpigmentation (dark patches on the skin)
• Red, blotchy skin
• Age spots
• Freckles, wrinkles, and fine lines
• Enlarged pores
• Uneven skin tone
This gentle dermatological procedure is carried out by a beauty surgeon. It is non-invasive and usually takes less than one hour to complete, with no downtime. The surgeon uses a non-ablative laser to apply high-energy light without damaging or removing the top layer of the skin. Discomfort, if any, is minimal.
While it takes a few weeks to see full results, some patients may notice improvement in the appearance and elasticity of their skin almost immediately. Due to the stimulation of collagen production and new cell growth, the skin appears smoother, radiant, and more youthful. Several follow-up treatments are usually necessary for maximum results. Patients who want to maintain the results for years are required to continue treatment.
What is Laser Resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is also called laser peel or laser skin rejuvenation and is usually done at a surgical facility. It is an ablative or invasive surgical procedure that involves the use of pulsating beams of light to treat the affected skin. This skin rejuvenation technique is often used to treat serious skin problems such as:
• Deep acne scars
• Severe sun damage
• Hyperpigmentation (severe)
• Blemishes and discoloration
• Age spots
• Birthmarks and warts
• Liver spots and sun spots
• Freckles and wrinkles
During the procedure, the epidermis or outer layer of the skin is removed using a laser such as the carbon dioxide (CO2) or the erbium laser. Heat is simultaneously applied to the skin to produce collagen. Skin treated with laser resurfacing often appears smoother and tighter. Clients also see improvement in complexion and a more even skin tone. This is because the treatment encourages skin renewal once the fine layers of the skin are removed.
Differences Between Photofacial and Laser Resurfacing
Both photofacial and laser resurfacing generally offer similar beauty benefits. They are both used to improve the appearance of the skin. Another primary and common benefit is the stimulation of collagen and cell renewal. But their differences in techniques and effects are usually what help a client decide which one is a more suitable procedure.
The major difference between these two cosmetic treatments is that a photofacial is non-invasive while laser resurfacing is an invasive procedure. A photofacial is gentler and does not involve removal or damage of the outer layer of the skin. This reduces the risk of scarring. A photofacial is a more suitable to treat moderate skin conditions. It is convenient, can be done quickly (in less than an hour), and cause minimal discomfort with no downtime.
Laser resurfacing is an intensive or ablative surgery and is more suitable for serious skin problems, such as severe sun damage or deep acne scars. Unlike a photo facial, it requires the removal of the upper layers of the skin. This causes some discomfort and increases the risk of scars.
The process takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete. Even though it offers a more dramatic result, a longer recovery period means patients will experience some downtime. While clients can go back to their daily routine immediately after a photofacial, laser resurfacing requires several weeks of recovery time.
Of the two procedures, laser resurfacing typically costs more, but results can last for years. Patients who underwent a photofacial are required to do multiple treatments, at intervals, before they can see maximum results. Continuous follow-ups are necessary to maintain results for years.
While there are non-ablative forms of laser resurfacing procedures available, they have proven to be less effective.
Choosing the Right Treatment for You
As you may see, beauty enhancement treatments are no one-size-fits-all. Photo rejuvenation or photofacial is regarded as one of the safest light-based skin therapy available. However, and despite the differences in the risks involved, some clients may choose laser resurfacing because it promises a more dramatic and long-term result. For them the benefits outweigh the risks.
But having the guidance of an expert cosmetic surgeon can help you minimize the risks involved. The certified facial rejuvenation surgeons at The Glasgold Group Plastic Surgery, in NJ, place emphasis on these factors. Each patient is assessed based on their own individual needs. In fact, certain individuals should not be treated with either of these procedures. They include people of darker complexion, those with certain active skin conditions or certain health conditions, such as pregnancy.
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