Light and heat are important tools for skin rejuvenation, and they have been for years. Laser treatments have become very popular for their versatility and ability to dramatically improve skin’s youthfulness, tone, and texture. However, not all lasers are as patient-friendly as others. Older, more intense lasers have always relied on high heat energy to encourage the formation of new skin and collagen production. Unfortunately, while these lasers can produce impressive skin rejuvenation results, the treatments often result in significant discomfort, redness, and down time. The FDA-approved picosecond laser treatment called PicoSure changes that. It uses a gentler type of energy with a very short pulse duration to stimulate the body’s natural anti-aging response to produce incredible skin rejuvenation results. Our team at Hillelson-Whipple Clinic offers patients PicoSure in Richmond, VA, as part of an exciting lineup of minimally-invasive skin treatments.
What is PicoSure?
The PicoSure laser is one of the most advanced lasers available for skin rejuvenation to date. Instead of using a constant beam of intense heat, PicoSure uses short bursts of energy, which minimizes damage to the skin overall while targeting problem areas of the skin. PicoSure can be used to treat a wide variety of skin issues, including freckles and brown pigmentation, acne scars, and wrinkling. It is a non-surgical and non-invasive treatment that fits easily into busy lifestyles.
The Benefits of PicoSure
PicoSure is often used as a highly effective tattoo removal treatment because it is so precise and effective in targeting unwanted pigment. However, its skin rejuvenation and anti-aging effects are just as impressive and can help patients look and feel more youthful and refreshed by harnessing the body’s natural healing processes.
Pigmentation changes often become an issue with age due to a lifetime of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. PicoSure can target the excess melanin (brown pigment) in the skin, destroying it and encouraging the body to create new cells. This reduces unwanted pigmentation in the skin for a more even complexion. The laser can also target benign pigmented lesions.
As we age, collagen and elastin start to break down. These important components in the skin are what keep it looking firm, youthful, and supple. As the supply of collagen and elastin starts to decline, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. Collagen is also important for healing injuries to the skin, which is why we get acne scarring. When severe acne damages the skin, the healing is uneven, resulting in pitting and scarring. Using PicoSure treatments, the body’s collagen production can be increased, rejuvenating the face as a whole and smoothing the tone and texture of the skin gradually as the collagen begins to increase. Over time, the gentle treatments can fill in acne scars, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and improve the look of the skin overall, producing fresher, healthier skin.
Who is a Candidate?
Good candidates for PicoSure are adults in generally good health who are struggling with uneven pigmentation, large pores, fine and deep lines or those acne scars. Because PicoSure is a gentle and safe laser treatment, most people who want to improve their skin’s tone, texture, and color should be eligible to undergo the treatment. Patients should have realistic expectations for the procedure, however, and understand that it may take several treatments to see a significant difference in skin quality. Prospective patients will need to avoid tanning and sun exposure prior to the procedure as the laser targets melanin in the skin.
Your PicoSure Consultation
Before you can schedule your PicoSure appointment at Hillelson-Whipple Clinic, you will need to meet with Dr. Ruth Hillelson for a consultation in Richmond. This is both to ensure you are a good candidate for the treatments and to give you more information about the procedure itself and what you can expect. You will discuss your goals with her so that she can create a custom treatment plan that meets your individual needs. During the consultation, you will also get to know the talented professionals who will be involved in all elements of your care and have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how PicoSure works. DR. Hillelson will be administering all of your Pico Sure treatments.
The PicoSure Procedure
One of the reasons PicoSure is becoming so popular is because of its ease and convenience. Most treatments don’t take much more than 20-25 minutes, and discomfort during the procedure is typically minimal. Most patients describe the sensation as similar to a sunburn, which is better tolerated by some than others. A numbing gel is always available to help make the procedure more comfortable, if necessary.
During the procedure, a specialized handpiece is used to deliver picosecond laser energy to the areas of the skin that require rejuvenation. Damage to healthy skin is minimal since the laser uses short bursts of energy and can be precisely targeted to treat problems like brown spots and acne scarring. Once the laser has been passed over all affected skin, the treatment is complete.
PicoSure is a gentle treatment that involves very little downtime and few side effects. Immediately after the procedure, the skin may feel slightly sunburned, and patients may notice minor redness temporarily. However, these side effects are minor and should subside quickly, allowing patients to carry on with all normal activities. While it is safe to go back to work and other activities right away, it is a good idea to refrain from strenuous activity for about 48 hours. Following treatment, patients will need to protect their sensitive skin from the harmful rays of the sun, which could cause hyperpigmentation. PicoSure treatments should be spaced 2-4 weeks apart, depending upon the site. Face, neck, hands chest, and arms may be treated.
How many treatments will I need?
Every case is different, so it’s difficult to generalize how many treatments will be needed. The number of treatments needed will largely depend on the type and severity of problem being addressed. During your consultation, you may be able to get an estimate of how many treatments will be necessary, but that number could change as treatment progresses.
Should PicoSure be combined with other treatments?
It depends on what your goals are. PicoSure is an extremely versatile laser treatment that can be used to treat a range of skin problems. However, if you have some goals the procedure can’t address, you may want to combine treatments for comprehensive results. This is something you should discuss during your PicoSure consultation.
Are there any risks with PicoSure?
All procedures have risks, but PicoSure is overall a very safe procedure. The fast pulses and wavelengths minimize skin injury, making scarring and other complications exceedingly rare.
Does the treatment hurt?
Most patients find the discomfort involved with PicoSure treatments to be mild and tolerable without anesthesia or numbing. However, if you are nervous or sensitive to pain, you should ask for a topical numbing agent to be applied prior to the treatment. This can reduce unpleasant sensations and make the treatment more comfortable.
Why do I need to avoid the sun before my treatments?
The PicoSure laser targets melanin (brown pigment) in the skin, and tanning can make it more difficult for the laser to distinguish the unwanted pigmentation. Patients should take care to protect their skin from the sun before and after treatment for optimal results and to prevent uneven pigmentation.
How long will my results last?
Improvement to acne scarring is typically permanent. Anti-aging and rejuvenating effects are long lasting, but patients age at different rates and lifestyle can have a big impact on the longevity of PicoSure results. After the initial round of treatments, many patients undergo touch-up treatments every six months to maintain results.
When will I start seeing the results?
Patients may see some improvement immediately after treatment, but because much of the skin’s rejuvenation will rely on increased collagen production stimulated by the laser, it may take several weeks for signs of improvement to appear. Additionally, multiple treatments will be needed to achieve the expected results, and patients should be prepared for improvement to come gradually.
What areas can be treated?
Because PicoSure is safe and gentle, it can be used on many sensitive areas of the body, including the face, chest, hands, legs, and more. Your provider will be able to tell you which areas can be safely treated, and which cannot.
Can PicoSure completely get rid of acne scars?
As with any cosmetic treatment, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Although PicoSure can produce dramatic reduction in acne scarring, it may not be able to erase all scarring entirely. Patients should have realistic expectations, and realize that results vary from person to person. With that said, many patients have regained their confidence and self-esteem, thanks to a massive reduction in acne scarring after PicoSure treatments.
Is PicoSure safe for any skin type?
In the past, many lasers were not safe for patients with dark skin, as they often produced changes in pigmentation, causing uneven skin color. New lasers like PicoSure are safer for all skin types, but it’s still a good idea to address this concern with your plastic surgeon before scheduling your first treatment.
PicoSure is truly patient-friendly rejuvenation. If you’ve found yourself wishing your freckles or acne scars would go away, PicoSure might be the ideal solution! To learn more about skin rejuvenation with this revolutionary laser, call the Hillelson-Whipple Clinic at 804.290.0060 to set up your consultation today.