As we age, fibers in the deeper layers of the skin thin and change. The skin loses its elastic nature, and it begins to sag and wrinkle. When muscles move the skin of the face, they cause lines which eventually become permanent. Exposure to the sun, smoking, alcohol use, and hereditary factors also affect changes in the skin. Wrinkling can be improved by chemical face peels or laser abrasion.
In order to smooth lines or wrinkles, the upper layers of skin must shed or peel to allow new, smooth skin to grow from underneath. For this to happen, some kind of injury to the upper layers of skin must be induced. Chemical peeling or laser abrasion both irritate the skin either with the application of a chemical solution or with laser beams. This results in a superficial reaction with subsequent flaking and peeling of the upper layers of the skin. Whichever tool is used to cause these layers to shed, the healing process is similar. During the first week or so following the procedure, there will be flaking, scabbing, and peeling of the skin. When the new skin emerges, it will be red for a while, gradually getting lighter until it reaches its normal color; it may also be a bit tender and sensitive. This stage may last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the severity of the wrinkles and degree of correction.
Whether a chemical solution is used or laser beams, the result, down time, and types of complications are very much the same. Scarring (although rare), pigment irregularities and prolonged redness may occur. Most of these can usually be treated and will disappear in time. Chemical peeling is done in our office. Laser abrasion is done in the hospital. Because there is some stinging and burning associated with both procedures, some mild intravenous sedation is usually administered. Bleeding and pain are minimal, and the risk of infection is low.
A careful and thorough examination of your skin by your surgeon will determine which method will be of most benefit to you.