When it comes to cosmetic facial resurfacing, carbon dioxide lasers (CO2) have been considered the best option for many years. This is because CO2 lasers offer dramatic reduction in wrinkling and facial aging while improving skin problems like scarring, pigmentation issues, and overall skin tone. There are some downsides to the treatment, however, namely its invasive nature and lengthy recovery period. Because of this, patients are always looking for effective alternatives, and new technologies are always in the works to meet demand. One of these technologies is the innovative plasma skin-resurfacing technique, which is emerging as a competitor to the traditional laser peel. But how does it work, and is it a good alternative to traditional skin rejuvenation methods?
What Is Plasma Resurfacing?
Plasma is the fourth state of matter, and plasma resurfacing procedures utilize the energy of this electrified gas to heat the deep layers of skin, much like a laser would. However, the plasma allows for a less invasive procedure while offering great anti-aging results. It is a gentler treatment than laser resurfacing, involving fewer risks and lower complication rates.
Unlike laser treatments, plasma resurfacing requires little preparation, and can be done as an outpatient procedure under local or topical anesthesia. A nitrogen plasma spray is used to heat the layers of skin and trigger natural anti-aging responses from the body. Patients may elect to receive a series of gentle treatments, or one in-depth procedure.
Recovery and Results
Recovery from plasma resurfacing follows similar stages as other “peel” treatments, in which the old skin peels off to reveal new, rejuvenated skin beneath, but recovery is mostly complete after day 10, and peeling typically completes within only a few days following treatment. Discoloration present after peeling can often be disguised with makeup, and patients start to enjoy the results of the treatment as this fades.
Plasma resurfacing stimulates natural collagen production, a protein that lends the skin its lift, elasticity, and youthful qualities. The new collagen helps improve the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and discoloration, while leaving the skin tighter, healthier, brighter (often brighter than after laser treatment), and rejuvenated. Collagen production can continue for up to a year, providing long-term results and skin tightening.
Is It a Good Alternative?
While laser skin-resurfacing still offers patients the most comprehensive anti-aging results without true surgery, plasma skin-resurfacing can produce great results with less downtime and discomfort, which allows the procedure to fit into more patients’ lifestyles. It all depends on the desired level of results and the amount of recovery time that can be taken. For younger patients with mild to moderate signs of aging, a milder treatment such as plasma resurfacing may be all that is needed for good results. Plasma is a good alternative to carbon-dioxide lasers for many patients, but for those who want the most dramatic results, the classic laser-resurfacing treatment may still be best.
Is Plasma Resurfacing Right for You?
If you are intrigued by the possibility of a less invasive procedure and want a brighter, more youthful complexion, then plasma resurfacing might be a good choice for you. The only way to determine the procedure that is right for you, however, is to meet with an expert, and discuss your goals and candidacy. A board certified facial plastic surgeon can advise you based on your budget, lifestyle, needs, and desired results.
Choosing a Provider
Because plasma resurfacing is a new technology, many facial plastic surgeons have not yet acquired the tools or expertise necessary to provide plasma resurfacing services. However, patients will still need to do research into a prospective provider’s qualifications before moving forward with treatment. It is only safe to undergo plasma resurfacing with an experienced, board certified facial plastic surgeon, so you may have to travel a bit to get the results you expect.
Dr. Stuart Bentkover offers his award-winning skills and the cutting edge of plasma resurfacing technology with Portrait PSR3 Plasma Skin Rejuvenation at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery and Laser Center in Worcester (508-363-6500) and Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA. Dr. Bentkover is board certified, highly experienced in skin treatments, and has been providing patients with innovative anti-aging solutions for over 30 years. For more information, and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentkover, call either location today.