January 10, 2007

Fraxel vs Fractional Skin Resurfacing

We are excited to introduce the Palomar Star Lux system to the Skin Spa this month. Patients may now schedule laser hair removal, photofacials and non ablative skin resurfacing (Fractional Skin Resurfacing) at the Skin Spa. Many patients do not understand the difference between Fraxel and the Palomar 1540 Star Lux treatments. Basically the difference is in the treatment depth and preparation required for treatments.

The 1540 laser by Palomar uses many microchannels to penetrate into the dermis far below the outer most skin layer causing collagen contraction and remodeling. The outer surface of the skin is cooled by the patented sapphire tip eliminating pain and leaving the outermost layer of skin acting as a barrier to the elements while the deeper tissues heal and tighten. There is negligible downtime (1-2 days of slight swelling) and no reason to miss work. Fine lines around the eyes and mouth benefit most from this treatment but it can be used most anywhere.

Fraxel by Reliant also uses microchannels but does not penetrate quite as deeply as the 1540. A BLUE dye is applied to the face prior to the treatment in order for the laser to treat the skin. This dye can be difficult to remove. Additionally, topical anesthetic is required 45 minutes prior to the application of the laser because of the pain associated with the treatment (no cooling tip). There is about 7-10 days of peeling and swelling associated with the treatments.

Several dermatologists I have spoken to feel the histology or microscopic results of the 1540 by Palomar and Fraxel are similar. Both require 2-4 treatments to the best result. I hope to help my many patients with severe peri-oral lip lines with the Palomar 1540 (in conjunction with Botox and Juvederm).