QUESTION: Dr. Herzog, I have fine lines, some sun damage (spots and discoloration), as well as a little bit of sagging. Would products and filler be my best bet, or should I look into something like laser? I want to get the biggest bang for my beauty buck. Thanks so much – A Family Savvy reader.
ANSWER: Your question of laser is a good one, but you must choose the right laser if you want a reasonable amount of improvement. Since you are also complaining of sun damage, I am assuming that you are fairly lightly complected.
There are many lasers, and there are laser type machines around such as radio-frequency devices and other light devices that are not true lasers. From the explanation of your needs, I think that the Fractional CO 2 laser would be a good choice.
The beauty of this laser is that this it can be set on as aggressive a setting as you and your physician choose. This type of laser should give you some improvement with fine lines and sun damage, and it even does a small amount of tightening. The tightening continues to take place for a few months after the procedure. This laser has many other uses, and another one of our favorites is for acne scarring.
The procedure is slightly uncomfortable, but not enough that many patients choose to take any medication prior to the treatment. Most physicians offer mild sedating medicines if patients wish to have them (provided they have a driver to take them home).
Anesthetic cream is applied prior to the procedure, and this usually is sufficient. The procedure is done in the office. The amount of time it takes depends on areas treated and number of times the laser is passed over each area. You will be swollen and will probably want to stay home for a day or two after the procedure. You will have redness for a week or two. There will be some mild discomfort (like a bad sunburn) for a day or two. You can apply makeup after 72 hours if you wish.
The cost of this laser varies from office to office and area to area. In my office, we charge $1,500 for a full face. With this, my patients also receive a post-treament kit.
The Fractional CO2 laser is one of my favorite procedures because my patients get very excited over their results. It reduces fine lines and sun damage and does some of the tightening that you are desiring. However, if you have deep folds, you might need some fillers as well.
Hope this answers some of your questions. Please write to us if you have any others.