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Getting perfect skin — a face that’s free of lines, wrinkles, sun damage and other signs of aging — is a lofty goal, but it’s at the heart of almost every cosmetic procedure from facials to full-scale facelifts. Women in search of perfection and contemplating these procedures typically ask their friends and acquaintances for recommendations before scheduling an appointment. But if we’re considering a brand-new technology, most of us don’t know anyone who’s cutting-edge enough to have that kind of experience.
That’s why a recent study on the new Pixel Perfect laser is such good news: The report was presented by the New Age Skin Research Foundation (www.nasrf.org), a not-for-profit medical organization committed to improving the quality of life of those with skin conditions at the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The report shows that the majority of the women who have tried the Pixel laser loved it and would recommend it to a friend.
“The patients we spoke with confirmed what we already knew,” says Joshua Fox, M.D., founder and president of NASRF and a leading dermatologist who uses the Pixel laser in his practice. “The laser offers the best of both worlds: the dramatic results of a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser with the comfort and convenience of less invasive procedures namely, minimal downtime and risks.”
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) lasers, which have been the gold standard when it comes to nonsurgical rejuvenation, offer patients with moderate to severe signs of aging some of the most dramatic results this side of the scalpel: lessening wrinkles, reducing all sorts of scars, diminishing sun damage and tightening sagging skin through a process with collagen tightening, remodeling and new collagen formation, known as laser resurfacing. Along with erbium YAG lasers, traditional CO2 lasers are what’s known as ablative, meaning they carefully remove a small amount of skin, thus stimulating the skin to heal itself (and repair those lines and wrinkles in the process). However, an ablative laser treatment previously involved a significant amount of discomfort and several weeks of healing time and redness.
The new Pixel Perfect laser is different because it’s fractionated, meaning the laser’s beam is separated into many tiny dots, each of which makes a microscopic hole, called a micro injury, in the top few layers of the skin. The holes are spaced evenly, with areas of untouched skin in between (about 65 percent of the skin in a treated area will be untouched by the laser). As the skin heals, they produce immediate tightening and texture and color improvements. And over the next one to two months, they’ll also trigger new collagen production in the skin, which works to plump up the skin and continue the improvements on the surface.
Because the fractionated laser leaves so much skin untouched, it creates much less injury and allows the skin to help its damaged areas heal much more quickly with minimal risk. “We’re seeing patients recovering in about three to seven days,” Dr. Fox says. “That’s a huge improvement over the months it use to take to get over a traditional ablative laser resurfacing. We have not seen any cases of scarring and the patients are thrilled by the results.”
“Many of my patients told me they had considered laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion or deep chemical peels, but were put off because of the long recovery times,” Dr. Fox says. He notes that a treatment with the Pixel Perfect laser typically takes between less than an hour, requires no intravenous anesthesia, and carries much less risk of scarring or pigmentation irregularities than the traditional CO2 laser does. The new study confirms that the Pixel Perfect laser seems to be the solution for many of these patients, he adds, providing significant changes without the discomfort and downtime of traditional ablative lasers.