As a person ages, one of the first places that sustains damage is the skin. The skin on the face, neck, and upper body, such as the arms and shoulders, are often the areas that show the most damage.
Exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants such as free radicals and air pollution are some of the factors that accelerate aging of the skin. The skin on the face, neck, and upper body tend to sustain the most sun damage. This is when some patients may opt to use full field resurfacing to help them regain their skin's youthful appearance.
What is Full Field Resurfacing?
Full field resurfacing involves a laser treatment, in which an entire layer of the skin is removed with the laser to reveal the younger layer beneath. As people age, sun damage often reveals itself on the skin of the face and neck, often in the form of hyperpigmentation, freckle, or wrinkles.
With full field resurfacing, the top layer of skin, which is the most visibly damaged, is removed. The treatment is often focused on the brows or brow bone, the cheeks, and the area around the mouth.
Ablative vs. Non-ablative laser treatment
There are two types of laser treatments available for full field resurfacing-ablative, in which the skin is literally blasted off with the laser, and non-ablative, in which the skin layer is not removed, so much as it may simply be resurfaced .
Ablative laser treatments are used on deep wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and severely sun-damaged skin, in which the top layer of skin is removed and the laser is used to heat the underlay layer. The heat helps speed collagen production, which results in finer texture and smoother appearance. Some redness may occur, and this type of treatment results in a little bit of downtime in regard to regular activities.
Individuals often see results very quickly with ablative procedures, and this may be the preferred method for those who have suffered from severe acne or have severe sun damage or deep wrinkles.
Non-ablative laser treatments are used to treat fine lines, freckles, and mild acne. Non-ablative treatments are less "instant" and must be built up over time. Non-ablative treatment requires more treatment visits as compared to ablative treatment options. With the non-ablative treatment, the patient may feel as though they are suffering from mild sunburn and the down-time is less than one day. Most patients are able to return to their regular activities after a day or so with non-ablative treatments.
As with any sort of laser treatment there may be some downtime involved in these two procedures. Patients are encouraged to drink plenty of water to increase hydration and help with the healing process, as well as stay out of direct sunlight and use a sunscreen with a high SPF or cover the treated area.