Aging, acne scars, the sun, and other factors can contribute to your skin looking less even than you would like it to. Fraxel is a type of laser treatment that resurfaces your skin by gradually removing the damaged areas to expose new, healthy layers of skin. It produces similar results to surgical treatment options without being as invasive, and the healing process is often easier and quicker. Although it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different and responds to treatment differently, your healing process for each treatment session will typically be complete within a week. Here is a general overview of how Fraxel laser treatment can benefit your skin and what the day by day recovery process looks like!
What Is Fraxel Laser?
Fraxel is an innovative type of laser treatment that is used to give the skin on your face a smoother and more even appearance. It minimizes a variety of types of damage to your skin, such as acne scarring, sun damage and discoloration, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, to give you fresher and younger-looking skin. Most patients will start to see results after their first treatment, although 3-5 sessions are generally recommended in order to achieve your desired results.
Typical Fraxel Laser Recovery Process
Because Fraxel’s lasers are extremely efficient at precisely targeting only the desired treatment area, recovery is typically much easier and quicker than it is for surgical cosmetic procedures. Although you should expect to experience some minor discomfort during the first week following each treatment session, you will usually be able to resume your daily routine by the next day with a few simple precautions. While it is important to keep in mind that patients can respond to Fraxel differently and need more time to fully heal, here is a general overview of what to expect during your recovery process.
Immediately following your Fraxel laser treatment, you will likely experience hotness, redness, and swelling that resembles a sunburn. This is because the lasers have a similar effect on your skin to the sun’s rays, but the most significant irritation usually does not last very long. These effects should be treated by using ice, moisturizer, or over-the-counter medications during the rest of this day in order to minimize discomfort and speed up your healing time.
On the first day after your Fraxel laser treatment, you should expect to notice reduced redness and heat, although you are likely to still have some swelling. You will likely also start to feel some similar tightness and dryness to what you might expect the day after getting a sunburn, and you may begin to notice results as the new skin begins to heal.
By the second day following treatment, you should expect the majority of the swelling and redness of your skin to disappear. Using a light moisturizer regularly during the first couple of days is key to making sure you reach this stage and eliminate the minor pain you are likely to experience quickly. You will also continue to see more of the positive results you are anticipating as the imperfections of your skin reach the surface and begin to detach from your skin.
On approximately the third day after treatment, you are likely to experience itching and peeling that is similar to the type of peeling that you might notice as your damaged skin separates from the new skin underneath after a sunburn. Although this peeling may be irritating, it is a necessary element in the process of removing the damaged parts of your skin to create space for new, healthy skin. It is generally a cosmetic part of the healing process that does not physically require you to adjust your daily routine, although you may prefer to plan to stay home on this day for aesthetic reasons if you are able to. Although you will probably want to, you should not exfoliate your skin in an attempt to speed up this process.
By the fourth day, you are likely to notice that the majority of the peeling has passed. Although your skin will not quite be back to normal by this point, it should be much less uncomfortable, and you should be able to go back to your normal routine without feeling self-conscious.
By day five, your skin should be getting close to normal. Although you may still experience minor skin imperfections after reaching this point, your face is likely to look and feel normal by this time. Now that your skin is comfortable again, you will be able to enjoy your smoother and younger-looking skin. At this stage, you will be able to see the full results of your treatment session in order to decide if you are happy with your results or if you would like to add another session. If you decide that you would like another treatment session, you should schedule it for approximately 2-4 weeks from this time.
Tips for Helping Your Skin Heal Effectively
Although everyone’s skin is different and heals on a slightly varying timeline, there are several steps you can take to avoid further irritating your skin and make it more comfortable throughout the healing process. Keeping a light moisturizer on your skin throughout the first week after your Fraxel laser treatment is an important aspect of hydrating and rejuvenating your skin, but you should avoid heavy moisturizers, makeup, and any type of exfoliant to avoid slowing the healing process. You should also plan to avoid spending time in the sun for several months following your treatment, especially during the first week, and use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you do go outside.
At Dermatology Institute of Southern California, we are proud to offer the most innovative treatments in the field to help our patients improve their skin and boost their self-esteem. If you’re interested in evening out scarring, discoloration, wrinkles, or other imperfections on your skin, Fraxel laser treatment may be the perfect solution. Contact us today to learn more about whether Fraxel may be right for you!
As we prepare to enter the final stretch of the year, the weather begins to cool down, the streets become covered in leaves, and we start to see lots of pumpkin themed products all around. Fall has arrived!
With the change in the environment, certain cosmetic procedures begin to increase in popularity. Treatments that otherwise may have required a bit of extra planning and moving things around schedule-wise now become much easier to accommodate thanks to longer nights, cooler temperatures, and warmer clothing. Additionally, other treatments see a surge in numbers to ensure that our skin heals and looks its absolute best just in time for the holiday season, the beginning of the new year, and other big events composed of large gatherings and constant photo taking and video recordings.
No matter what the reason is, here are the top 4 procedures that are the most popular during the season of Autumn:
No matter what the concern you may have, odds are that there will be a laser available for you that can help. A consultation with a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Daniel Behroozan, will allow you to determine which laser will best help you achieve your skin care goals.
Why treat your skin at this time of year?
Depending on the laser used or the condition treated, the healing process may vary between a couple of days to a couple weeks. One of the most important aspects of the healing phase is to limit sun exposure as much as possible. During the fall, days become shorter while night starts to set in earlier, which makes it a lot easier for some people to keep an eye on the amount of sun exposure they are getting. For example, since the sun starts to set a lot earlier, you may encounter a lot less sunshine while you are driving home from work as opposed to the summer, when the sun stays out quite late and can shine directly on you when you’re in the car. Sunscreen with SPF 30+ should always be worn no matter the time of the year that you receive a laser treatment.
Regardless of the laser or treated condition, the best results require no tanning. Skin should be at its normal complexion, and this is generally more feasible to obtain after the summer is over, as tanning is less prevalent in the fall.
Additionally, some lasers or conditions may require a series of treatments every couple of weeks instead of just one session. Many patients opt to start this process during autumn in order to ensure that the full series has enough time to be performed and healed before the later stages of winter and the holiday season.
Scars and stretch marks are some of the most difficult skin conditions to treat, and thus there are many options available. Lasers, microneedling, and injectable fillers are only some examples of treatment options that can address scars and stretch marks. It is very common for more than one treatment option to be combined in order to obtain the best cosmetic outcome for treating a scar/stretch marks. Multiple sessions over a long period of time are usually needed as well. The treatment plan that is selected varies depending on the kind of scar, the size, location, and how old the scar is. A board-certified physician like Dr. Daniel Behroozan will assist you in selecting the right treatment for you.
Why treat your skin at this time of year?
The earlier scars and stretch marks are treated, the better the results will be in reducing their appearance. As a result, treatment should be started as soon as possible. That being said, fall does have certain benefits that can assist with this. Like lasers, limiting sun exposure is critical – arguably even more so with scars. The decrease in sunlight during the fall and winter helps manage the amount of sun exposure you receive, which is especially important since the healing period can be lengthy depending on the scar/treatment used.
In addition, scars need to stay moisturized as well. It is a common belief that scars should be allowed to air out, but this is not the case. Dried out wounds can cause scabbing which can result in even more scarring. Moisturizing the scar ensures that the skin heals better, and the lower temperatures of the autumn time facilitate this as the skin does not dry out as fast. The warmer clothing that is common in the fall, such as tops with long sleeves and thicker fabrics, also help retain moisture, limit sun exposure, and avoid any outside irritation to the treated area, such as accidental bumping or scratching from objects.
Laser Hair Removal is composed of heat from a laser’s light being targeted onto the region that has unwanted body hair. The hair follicles in this area absorb the light, and the follicles are then destroyed in order to prevent hair from growing. Laser Hair Removal can be performed on almost any part of the body that has unwanted body hair you wish to address.
Why treat your skin at this time of year?
Laser Hair removal requires a series of treatments that will need to spaced out every few weeks. On the average, 4-6 treatments will be needed, but this varies depending on the treated area, amount of hair, skin tone, and other factors. Lots of patients prefer to start the treatment after summer in order to ensure that the entire session is completed in its entirety in time for the next spring season, and before shorter clothing starts to come back around.
While we’re on the subject of clothing – like the previous procedures mentioned above, the recovery process requires limited sun exposure as well. This is even easier to accommodate with Laser Hair Removal thanks to the cooler temperatures bringing about warmer clothing and outfits that expose less skin. A Laser Hair Removal series can be completed in its entirety without anyone ever knowing!
A Blood Facial is a microneedling treatment that has been combined with PRP (platelet rich plasma). This procedure starts off with your own blood being drawn from your body. The platelet rich plasma is then separated from the rest of the drawn blood using a centrifuge, and is then injected into areas of your face. Then, microneedling is performed on your face, which is composed of many tiny needles puncturing the skin. The Blood Facial helps rejuvenate the skin on the face, and can treat a multitude of conditions such fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, age spots, skin tone evenness, and much more. The Blood Facial also has no downtime.
Why treat your skin at this time of year?
Like the other 3 procedures mentioned above, limiting sun exposure is vital during the aftercare of a Blood Facial. The autumn and winter seasons are great times for the Blood Facial due to the change in factors that allow for less sun exposure to the face (eg: most people do not go to the beach as frequently during this time, the sun begins to set by the time you get off work, etc). As always, sunscreen should always be worn no matter what time of year you receive any of these treatments.
Because this procedure is minimally invasive, the Blood Facial is a favorite of many patients since it allows one to obtain great results in a shorter time frame. This treatment becomes very popular right before the holiday season as well, as many patients report their skin having a bright, radiant, and glowing complexion after a Blood Facial. This makes the Blood Facial perfect to receive before the large family gatherings and end of the year work events that frequently take place at this time of year.
Speaking of holidays – there is a certain holiday that takes place in the autumn that is extremely popular. This particular holiday involves lots of pumpkins, candy, and people dressing up in costumes of scary figures like ghosts, zombies, and vampires.
Because of this holiday and its close connections with vampires, numerous patients who enjoy this particular October event LOVE to receive the Blood Facial during autumn to really get in the holiday spirit during this time (in addition to all the benefits this treatment provides, of course!)
All 4 of these procedures are offered by Dr. Behroozan at the Dermatology Institute of Southern California. You can select from one of two convenient locations in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and our team is always available to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have in regards to your skin care goals. We are just a quick message or phone call away!
As we get older, undereye circles are an extremely common occurrence among most people. This scenario is one that we all wish to correct, and is one of the main focal points of any skin care routine. However, the term “undereye circles” is often used as a catch-all phrase that is used to refer to specific variations that appear under the eyes. Those variations include:
Natural Pigmentation: Extra pigmentation around the eyes is very common, and is often a result of genetics and the natural aging process. This is especially common among individuals with darker skin tones compared to those with more fair complexions. One way to determine if dark circles are due to naturally occurring pigmentation is to take a finger and move the skin below the eye. If the color stays the same while the skin is moving, this is a sign of natural pigmentation. Inflammatory conditions such as rosacea and eczema can also cause extra pigmentation around the eyes even when these conditions are under control.
Puffy Eyelids: At times, the eyelids can get puffy and swollen, which then leads to the appearance of shadows under the eyes as a result. Reducing the swelling of the eyelids restores them to their natural size and thus diminishes the appearance of shadows. Structural puffiness can be a combination of fat herniation and skin laxity.
Bags Under Eyes: Sagging skin under the eyes can be often mistaken for skin pigmentation or puffy eyes. As we approach our late 20’s and early 30’s the production of collagen begins to slow down and the skin elasticity starts to diminish; as a result, the skin becomes looser and begins to hang. Certain treatments can tighten the skin in this area and restore some of the lost elasticity over time.
Sunken Skin: The skin located around the eyes is the thinnest on the body. As we get older, the skin gets thinner and causes the blood vessels in the area to become more visible, which can lead to blue and purple veins showing. Additionally, the volume loss can create a noticeable discrepancy between the skin connecting the eyes and the cheeks. Treatments that restore lose volume can create a more uniform appearance of the skin in this region.
Being able to address the main causes of this appearance is the key to treating it effectively. Otherwise, this can lead to actions that are counterproductive, and can be a waste of time, money, and energy. One example is using too much makeup to cover it, which leads to a caked on appearance, looks fake, and does very little to address the root of the problem. Here are 9 tips you can use to combat the appearance of undereye circles.
#1: Get Enough Sleep
One of the most common complaints about undereye circles is having a fatigued look and comments that you may look tired. This is because we actually ARE tired due to a lack of sleep. Not receiving enough sleep can cause venous congestion – or a collection of pooled up blood in the blood vessels around the eyes – and causes a puffy appearance. External factors such as times of stress, smoking, and natural genetics can exacerbate this even more. Ensuring that enough sleep is received the night before prevents the blood from pooling up in these areas, thus reducing the appearance of puffy eyes. They do call it “beauty sleep” for a reason!
One thing to note is that oversleeping can cause the appearance of puffy eyes as well. Achieving between 7-9 hours of sleep a night is recommended.
#2: No Eye Rubbing!
As tempting as it can be sometimes, rubbing your eyes is one of the worst things you can do. Because the skin in this area is thin, frequent rubbing of the eyes can cause the skin to become thicker and darker due to the body’s natural defense system. In addition to this, constant rubbing can cause other issues affecting this region such as bruising. It can be a tough habit to break, but rubbing eyes should be avoided. In the event of itchy or dry eyes, gentler methods such as eye drops are a less aggressive alternative.
#3: Stay Hydrated
Being dehydrated has multiple effects on the appearance of the skin around the eyes. Because the body is not receiving enough water, it leads to water retention which can cause swelling of the eyelids. This is usually at its worst in the morning after waking up and typically resolves around the afternoon thanks to the fluid draining with gravity and time. Additionally, the lack of hydration causes the skin to appear thinner and more hollow due to the lack of tissue between the skin and bone. This can cause the blood vessels below the skin to become more visible, and lead to a darker appearance in these areas. Hydrated skin is thicker and decreases visibility of the blood vessels, while also limiting swelling from water retention.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day ensures that the skin is adequately hydrated. Eating foods with too much salt or consuming high amounts of alcohol can also cause dehydration. Limiting consumption of salty snacks and alcohol and drinking water before going to bed will help limit water retention in the morning. In the event that there is swelling in the eyes after waking up, applying a cold compress for 10 minutes can reduce the swelling buildup.
#4: Dermal Fillers
Injectable fillers are an excellent way to counteract sagginess. The fillers elevate the surrounding skin to match the skin levels in other areas, thus providing a smooth and uniform appearance. Sunken skin in the undereye region is plumped up, and can last many months to a couple years depending on the type used.
Some fillers such as Restylane contain hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that keeps the eye area hydrated and volumized. They are gradually absorbed by the body over time, but they are also reversible and can be dissolved by a special solution in certain situations. Dermal fillers are frequently used with a numbing agent in order to maximize comfort.
Fillers are not universal, and each person will require different amounts or types. Choosing the right type of filler with the right amount requires a board certified physician with an adequate understanding of the facial anatomy, and proper analysis of your unique facial structure and facial movements. Fillers injected by someone without the adequate experience can lead to unfavorable results, and possibly other serious complications.
Dermal fillers are frequently combined with certain laser procedures, which can help dramatically improve the appearance of visible blood vessels that are showing through the skin. In addition, lasers can help the formation of new collagen, and lighten the skin tone to provide an even complexion across the face.
#5: Sun Protection
Unprotected sun exposure over time not only leads to sun damage, possible skin cancer, and discoloration, but can speed up the formation of wrinkles as well. Because the skin around the eyes is very thin, this area is more susceptible to wrinkles and damage from the sun. Limiting sun exposure to this area by wearing sunglasses is one of the best ways to protect the delicate skin around the eyes. Additionally, the use of sunscreen can help block the harmful effects from the sun’s UV rays as well. Wearing sunscreen with a SPF 30 or higher while outside, especially between the hours of 10AM and 4PM, is critical. Be sure to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours as well.
#6: Chemical Peels
Light chemical peels that contain hydroquinone, retinoic acid, or glycolic acid, can be used to slightly brighten up the dark pigments under the eyes. While natural pigmentation around the eye region is normal, a light chemical peel can diminish the variance in color to provide a more consistent complexion across the face.
#7: Eye Serums & Creams
Overnight skin care is imperative, and must be done consistently on a nightly basis in order to yield results. Applying these before bedtime helps keep eyes moisturized while sleeping. This can minimize the discolorations that are associated with tired eyes. These products are often also mixed with peptides and antioxidants to reduce puffiness and reduce the amount of pooled blood around the eyes.
An effective skin care regimen should include special topical creams specially designed for application around the undereye region. Regular moisturizer for general use around the face is a bit too strong for the undereyes due to the skin’s thinness, and this region can only absorb a certain amount of the product. The excess product then sits and can potentially get into the eye via the blinking of the eyelashes. This can lead to irritation, puffiness, and swelling. Eye moisturizers are lighter and are designed to be absorbed fully.
As you may know, there are tons of products on the market. Many are designed to treat specific issues, and others are simply not as effective as others. It can be overwhelming for those who are new, but is totally manageable as long as you know what types of products you are looking for.
Applying products with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides facilitate hydration, and stimulate collagen/elastin production
Vasoconstriction from products with caffeine can reduce puffiness, and cooling products can help reduce inflammation and promote blood flow
Finally, how you apply the products is just as important as the kind of products you purchase. To apply these with the least amount of pressure to the eyes – use the ring finger (this finger is the weakest of the others), and dot the product starting from the inner corner of the eye and moving outwards toward the temple area.
Seasonal allergies trigger the release of histamines. These can cause swelling and inflamed blood vessels and can lead to other indirect issues such as rubbing the eyes due to itching and dryness. The simple use of over the counter antihistamine medications can help manage the dark circles that appear under the eyes, in addition to directly treating the allergy symptoms.
#9: Cucumber Slices
Placing cucumber slices over the eyes is a beauty technique that has been used for centuries. Multiple studies have been performed over the years, and they have shown that the juice of the cucumber can reduce swelling, relieve skin that has been damaged, and increase the level of antioxidant activity. In addition, cucumbers are naturally rich in Vitamin C which helps the development of new cells. Due to the high amount of water content in cucumbers, it also helps serve as a moisturizer for the eyes.
Before placing these over the eyes, be sure to chill the cucumbers in the refrigerator ahead of time. The skin should be clean and dry before application. The cucumber slices should be about half an inch thick, and it is advised to peel the skin off of the cucumber first to remove any pesticides.
Lasers are astounding. They are essentially devices that emit beams of light, and have no shortage of applications in the real world. From serving as a harmless toy for cats, to cutting through thick sheets of metal, it comes as no surprise that lasers have many practical applications in the medical field as well.
Some of the medical applications of lasers include correcting vision via eye surgery, destroying cancerous tumors, and breaking up kidney stones. Lasers are also extremely beneficial when it comes to skin care as well, being used to treat conditions such as acne, wrinkles, hair removal, and even body fat reduction. In 2017, laser-based medical procedures grew over 17% according to the ASDS, and have been consistently increasing in popularity for many years. These procedures are clearly in high demand – but there are also a few misconceptions about these procedures that you may not be aware of. Here are 4 common myths about laser treatments:
Myth #1: All Lasers are the Same
The concept of lasers for skin treatments is simple – use the beam of light to improve the skin and remove things we don’t want. You’ve probably heard of many different lasers that all say they can reduce wrinkles or brighten up your skin tone; however, this does not mean that lasers are a “one size fits all” deal.
The laser being used must match your exact skin type, color, and condition. A laser that works for one person does NOT mean that it will work for a second person, even if they are both getting the exact same condition treated. Different lasers must be used in order to treat the huge variety of skin types that are available, as well as the severity of the treated condition. Even if two people are receiving the same exact laser, the settings can differ as well. For instance, one person may require a stronger pulse while the other may require a wider beam that is less aggressive. Looking at many before and after photos of a laser can give you an idea of whether or not that device may be suitable for you.
While it is true that lasers can be used as weaponry, and are a favorite of many comic book superheroes and popular movie villains, a correctly performed laser treatment should not be painful. During treatment, many patients report a slight feeling that is comparable to a rubber band being snapped against the skin. Many of these same patients also report getting used to this feeling within a few minutes and not feeling it as much anymore. Other patients even report that the sensation may feel a bit cool and tingly as well.
For lasers that contain a bit more strength, or when being used on sensitive skin areas, topical anesthetic can be applied, and is also available per patient request as well. Laser procedures from an experienced physician that are being correctly performed should NOT involve any burning or intense levels of pain during treatment. This leads us into the third misconception…
Myth #3: All Laser Providers are Experienced
When it comes to laser treatments, the person behind the device is more important than the laser itself. Lasers are variable, and need to be adjusted to match your exact skin type, texture, and condition that are all unique to you.
Additionally, it is also a matter of patient safety. While medical spas and other locations without a licensed physician on site may offer laser treatments for a lower price, the staff may have less experience with these lasers and/or skin variations. When used incorrectly, lasers can cause lasting harm such as scarring, burning, and permanent nerve damage. Unfortunately, botched laser procedures do happen, and almost always involves a person performing the treatment without the adequate knowledge that’s required.
A licensed physician who has had extensive experience with many different skin variations, and who understands the techniques of the laser being used, will give you the best chance of obtaining your desired result. Receiving your treatment from a properly certified physician also ensures that you are being safely treated at all times. When it comes to your health and safety, would you want to risk permanent damage only to save a small amount of money?
Myth #4: The Latest Device is the Best Device
Lasers have come a long way since their initial conception in 1960. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, especially during our era, and lasers are no exception. Existing lasers are being improved upon, and brand new ones continue to enter the market. It may be tempting to opt for the latest device that is constantly being advertised your way, but remember that like most new things, it has not had the benefit of time yet.
While it is true that new devices are thoroughly tested and inspected before being publically available, the sample size is much smaller when compared to the mass public. Certain side effects or varied results may appear when applied to public use that did not manifest during testing due to the smaller sample size. On the other hand, a laser that has been available for a longer time has treated hundreds of thousands of patients, and has extensive documentation and reviews available for you to research.
Additionally, because that laser is brand new, this means that the person conducting the treatment is also new to the device. Lasers are NOT universal, and being well experienced in one laser does not necessarily translate to another device. Proper training and experience with using the selected device is still required in order to ensure best results, as well as safety – both of which can only develop after having spent a lot of time with said device.
The purpose of this information is not to scare you away from receiving your desired treatment – but simply to ensure that you are well informed. Knowing what to look for when choosing your provider for your laser treatment helps ensure that you will reach your skin goals easily and to their full potential. Instead of trying to decide which specific laser to get for yourself, try to focus on what your intended goals are, and which laser is the best candidate for you. For even more information about laser skin treatments, click here.
Dr. Behroozan has a number of lasers available to treat many different conditions at the Dermatology Institute of Southern California, and is always available to discuss what your options are to meet your needs. Our dermatology team is excited to help you on your skin care journey, and contacting us is just one click away!
You know every lump, bump, and crevice on your body. You should, after all, you've spent a lifetime inside your skin. Most adults have one, two, or more moles somewhere on their bodies.
In many cases, moles appear in out-of-the-way spots, such as th...