So, for example, the patient will start with a good skin care program that includes a good moisturizer with sun protection, toners, and perhaps incorporating tretinoin to get the skin to rejuvenate from underneath, and then will combine this with light chemical peels. Once they’re on that program and doing well, said Dr. Papel, they may need to do something a little more aggressive and then you might be using intermediate peels. According to Dr. Papel, lasers are more aggressive and used later on. They’ve kind of lost favor over the past several years because of the good results with using peels and skin care, he said, adding that skin care and peels can even be better than lasers.
Explore This IssueAugust 2006
Consider Recovery Time
A shared characteristic of both chemical peels and lasers, according to Dr. Fedok, is that they both have a long track record. However, both may require some recovery time depending on how deeply they penetrate the skin. The deeper one affects the skin, the more pronounced the result, he said, but the trade-off is that the more dramatic the positive effect, the longer the down time will be.
According to Dr. Fedok, it is hoped that the newer nonablative resurfacing technologies, such as plasma energy or thermage (or radiofrequency), will have quicker healing times. The jury is not completely out on that hope, he said, referring to plasma technology. More time as well, is needed to evaluate the efficacy of thermage. The results at this time are relatively new and, as expressed, are still being evaluated, he said.
The deeper one affects the skin, the more pronounced the result, but the trade-off is that the more dramatic the positive effect, the longer the down time will be. – Fred G. Fedok, MD
Experts Critical of New Technology
Dr. Papel is more direct in his view and experience of these newer technologies. Thermage is a radiofrequency that stimulates collagen production in the dermis part of the skin, he said. The problem with it is that it doesn’t work. Part of the problem with this technology, he added, is that there is no long-term or scientific data on efficacy.
This is similar to plasma energy technology. Plasma energy is supposed to do the same thing as thermage, to stimulate the collagen growth to make the skin thicker with less wrinkles, he said. However, he added, neither he nor the company selling it has any long-term data on its efficacy.