TREATMENT PLAN: With pigment-specific lasers, Anolik says that while one treatment will usually yield great results, sometimes three or four may be needed. Results are permanent, but further sun exposure can cause problem spots to resurface, so future touch-ups may be required.
BURN DEGREE: If you can tolerate a Brazilian bikini wax, this will be no problem—it’s more annoying (think repeated rubber band snaps) than painful.
RECOVERY: Expect a little flat scab to form at the site of the spot. Anolik recommends applying Aquaphor to the area twice daily to nudge healing along.
TREATMENT PLAN: With Fraxel 1927, Wechsler usually likes to do two treatments per area at least one month apart. And although C+B has been studied and deemed safe for weekly use, Anolik says most of his patients will do a few in one month and then sporadically after that (a few times a year) to keep skin looking fresh.
BURN DEGREE: Best done over Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday (depending on the laser), when you’re out of office. In the new year, claim a sunburn from that “trip to Tulum.”
RECOVERY: Expect skin after treatment to appear as if it’s been peppered. “All the pigmentation comes to the surface as tiny brown dots that look almost like coffee grounds,” says Wechsler. Recovery time varies depending on the intensity of the laser. “With C+B I expect them to be pink for about five hours and feeling dry the next day, while with Fraxel Dual usually people are pink and puffy for two or three days then dry and flaky on the third, fourth, and fifth,” says Anolik. With Fraxel Repair, which should be reserved for only the most serious sun damage, downtime is longer. “It’s a carbon dioxide laser, which means it superficially wounds the skin in a controlled way, so there can be scabbing and significant swelling for a week and people can be pinkish for a month.”
TREATMENT PLAN: Wechsler says that with Regenlite patients can expect to come in about three times. For scarring, she favors five or six treatments with Fraxel 1550. Anolik recommends that his acne sufferers come in monthly for Isolaz and keep up a skin-care regimen with the appropriate prescription products (his go-to’s: Differin, tretinoin, Acanya gel, and Duac).
BURN DEGREE: Party-ready by nightfall.
RECOVERY: “The good news is neither of the lasers requires any downtime,” says Wechsler. Although, as with any such treatment, you should treat your skin to extra TLC post-appointments.
TREATMENT PLAN: You’ll need a series of treatments to see an improvement in redness, and typically need to come in for maintenance visits two to three times a year.
BURN DEGREE: More rubber band snaps—i.e., unpleasant but bearable.
RECOVERY: Expect to look flushed for a few hours after treatment, but there shouldn’t be any dryness or flakiness.
TREATMENT PLAN: In either case, multiple visits are recommended (plan on at least five or six) in order to see a noticeable improvement.
BURN DEGREE: Summertime in Savannah. For Fraxel, you’ll be slathered with topical numbing cream to dull the sensation to a rolling prickling heat, but it’s still painless enough to do without popping a pre-appointment Percocet.
RECOVERY: With V-beam, there will likely be a few days of bruising, Anolik says. Fraxel “can leave skin pink and dry for about a week or two, while Picosure leaves it pink for just a few hours.”
He advises using gentle cleansers by brands like Neutrogena or Cetaphil and a soothing, ceramide-rich (“the ingredients help relieve the inflammation”) moisturizer like CeraVe. And last fall, Chanel released Solution 10, a treatment that Wechsler was instrumental in helping to develop, designed especially for sensitized skin. Formulated with only ten ingredients, including rare Silver Needle Tea, it has powerful antioxidant properties and is extraordinarily soothing. “I’ve been using it on all my patients post Fraxel and it’s awesome,” she says.
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