4 New Anti-Aging Laser Procedures

From erasing acne scars to skin tightening and helping deliver medication, lasers and other energy-based based systems are changing the way facial plastic surgeons approach the skin.

“We are experiencing a renaissance in terms of the number of technologies we have to choose from and what they can offer, either alone or in combination with existing therapies,” says Dr. Edward Farrior, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). “The future is now.”

In fact, according to a recent member survey by the AAFPRS, laser skin resurfacing is in the top 5 of most popular surgical treatments in 2013, with 24,467 procedures performed by members.

Here are 4 exciting new uses for laser and energy-based therapies:

  1. Skin Tightening With RF and Ultrasound – Devices use radiofrequency or ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production under the skin. Collagen is the protein that gives skin the supple, elastic qualities most associated with youth. Facial plastic surgeons can now harness this power to tighten skin under the chin and even lift the brow with none of the downtime and risks associated with surgery. “You will look refreshed immediately after treatment, and the collagen stores will build up gradually over a few months, which is when the full aesthetic results will be visible,” says Dr. Farrior.
  2. Fractionated Skin Rejuvenation – Today’s targeted laser and light-based systems can treat fine lines, wrinkles, acne, scarring, pigment, melasma, redness, as well as improve the texture, tone and quality of the skin.  The advent of fractionated lasers means less downtime. Fractionated lasers treat a fraction of the skin’s surface, often 30%, and create a controlled wound-healing environment to help stimulate the development of new collagen, without harming the surrounding skin. Dramatic improvements can be seen with less redness and recovery.
  3. Ablative Resurfacing For Deep-Set Wrinkles – Ablative lasers that blast away the skin’s damaged outer layer are still the gold standard for erasing deep wrinkles, scars, and severe sun damage. “Today, we use these lasers on lower settings, and often in combination with facial surgery for a total rejuvenating effect that is long lasting,” says Dr. Edwin Williams, AAFPRS VP for Public and Regulatory Affairs.
  4. Laser-Assisted Drug Delivery Systems – Fractional lasers predictably disrupt the barrier of the skin creating deep channels that allow the delivery of drug and other materials. This technology is emerging as a new delivery system for drugs versus other routes. Laser assisted delivery enables physicians to uniformly distribute medications and other substances in microscopic channels to the desired depth, and is potentially safer, faster and less costly.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the world’s largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery.  It represents more than 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS has two humanitarian programs: The FACE TO FACE program offers pro bono facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to domestic violence survivors to repair injuries on the face, head and neck caused by an intimate partner or spouse. FACES OF HONOR connects soldiers injured in the line of duty with facial plastic surgeons who provide pro bono services.  The AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in any area by visiting the AAFPRS web site,