Laser Skin Resurfacing and Fraxel Treatment in Palo Alto

Also serving San Jose and the Bay Area

At the state-of-the-art offices of Dr. Jill L. Hessler, patients are offered an extensive array of minimally invasive and non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures. As an accomplished San Jose / Palo Alto facial cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Hessler is especially proud to offer several sophisticated laser resurfacing treatments. She is an expert in laser skin resurfacing, and her office is equipped with the latest devices available in laser technology. Dr. Hessler uses these devices to perform customized treatments for her San Jose and Palo Alto laser skin resurfacing patients. In addition, Dr. Hessler’s expertise has been recognized by her colleagues who frequently invite her to lecture at national meetings of the topic of laser resurfacing.


Skin Damage: Aging and Environmental Factors

The goal of laser skin resurfacing is to erase some of the skin damage that occurs as a result of aging and exposure to various environmental factors. Over the years, we are exposed to sun, wind and temperature changes, we experience stress, do not get enough sleep and do not follow nutritionally balanced diets. As a result of these factors and genetics, the skin begins to show visible signs of aging such as fine lines and a dull appearance to the skin. Over the years, the generation of elastin and collagen – two basic building blocks of the skin – diminishes. This means that our skin cannot repair itself as it did when we were children. Fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots become more prominent, and facial skin begins to look saggy.

These unwelcome changes can be lessened by making changes in your lifestyle. Quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke, and wearing sunscreen on a daily basis are some of the more important steps. However, these precautions cannot reverse the damage that has already been done. This is where laser skin resurfacing can help. Laser treatments are very beneficial for skin that is showing the first signs of aging, such as discolorations and static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are the lines in the skin that are present at all times – even when you are not talking or smiling. They are caused by intrinsic changes in the skin due to damage. Static wrinkles are different from dynamic wrinkles – the lines that appear only when you smile, talk or show facial expressions. Depending on the location, dynamic wrinkles are generally best treated with Botox, Dysport or similar neuromodulator treatments. For static wrinkles and discolorations, a more comprehensive approach is needed, which is why Dr. Hessler often recommends laser skin resurfacing.

Laser Skin Resurfacing: What Is It?

Laser skin resurfacing works by inflicting tiny wounds on the facial skin. As the tiny wounds heal, fibroblasts, the cells that make collagen for beautiful smooth skin, are recruited to the area. These cells deposit new collagen and new skin cells are formed. These cells are healthy and undamaged, which means that the imperfections are gone and skin appears healthier and smoother.

As a leading Palo Alto / San Jose laser skin resurfacing provider, Dr. Jill Hessler uses several types of lasers depending on the individual needs of the patient. She is particularly pleased to offer fractional laser treatments. Unlike the traditional CO2 laser that mechanically removes the entire top layer of skin, fractional laser works by delivering very precise microbeams of heat to the area leaving intervening skin intact. The entire face is treated, however, the microbeams allow the surrounding skin tissues to remain intact. This means that the skin regenerates faster, and the procedure is much safer for all skin types. As a result, patients with increased pigmentation, including Hispanic, Indian and Asian patients, can receive laser treatments more safely. Previously, laser treatments for Asian patients were to be avoided. Now, by treating a fraction of the skin with the laser, Asian patients can achieve excellent results.

Fractional laser resurfacing is known by various names, such as Fraxel, Active Fx, and Deep Fx, and all of these laser treatments are based on the same general principles. Dr. Hessler uses these lasers to rejuvenate skin and promote the generation of collagen and elastin.

Laser Skin Resurfacing in Palo Alto / San Jose: The Procedure

Before laser skin resurfacing, Dr. Jill Hessler meets with her patients to discuss the necessary preparations. Some individuals might need to undergo pre-laser therapy, such as Valtrax or Hydroquinone, to prepare their skin for treatment and minimize the risk of complications. Dr. Hessler should be informed of a patient’s history of cold sores as antiviral medication will need to be taken for two days prior to a laser treatment and continued for a full week afterward. On the day of the procedure, Dr. Hessler asks her patients to not wear any make-up, contact lenses, and hair products, and to preferably wear a loose-fitting, buttoned shirt.

Before applying the laser energy, Dr. Hessler prepares patient’s skin by applying topical numbing cream. The cream blocks the nerve signals in the skin, thus minimizing any discomfort during treatment. For more powerful pain relief, nerve injections can be used to dull or remove any sensations during the laser skin treatment. If the patient feels very nervous, Dr. Hessler might administer light twilight sedation. Sedation helps patients relax and minimize any discomfort during the laser facial treatment.

Laser Skin Resurfacing: Is It for Me?

You might be a Palo Alto / San Jose laser skin resurfacing patient if you have fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, sun damage or skin discoloration. Laser skin resurfacing might also help minimize very large pores, and it can enhance the overall appearance of the skin by restoring a youthful glow and creating a more uniform appearance for the skin.

Please be aware that laser skin resurfacing is not a cure-all. It is not recommended for patients with dark complexion, smokers, and people who use certain medications. In addition, individuals who have undergone accutane therapy within the last year should not pursue laser skin resurfacing. Dr. Hessler will perform a careful evaluation and discuss all your medications during your consultation to determine whether it is safe for you to undergo laser skin resurfacing.

In some cases, you might be able to achieve your aesthetic goals by undergoing another procedure. For example, skin redness cannot be treated with Fraxel, but it can be treated with the IPL device (photofacial). Dr. Hessler also utilizes additional lasers for facial vessels when larger vessels are the cause of the discoloration. While some skin tightening is seen with laser resurfacing, significant skin laxity is best addressed through surgical treatments, such as eyelid lift or face lift in San Jose / Palo Alto. Depending on each patient’s unique needs and desires, surgical procedures can often be combined with laser skin resurfacing to enhance and maintain the rejuvenating effect. Other measures that can extend the beautiful results include retin-a therapy and regular use of sunscreen.

After Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure in San Jose / Palo Alto

The treatment usually takes about 1 hour to complete. Immediately after skin resurfacing, your skin might look very pink and you might feel as if you got sunburned. The skin will appear swollen and look as though there is a pattern of tiny dots on it for about a week. Later, the skin will gently peel off. The skin will usually heal within 5-7 days, but some residual redness might last for 1-2 weeks. It is important to keep the skin well hydrated with Aquaphor or similar emollient type material until the skin has fully peeled. A light laser treatment can heal in as quickly as 3-5 days while more extensive treatments for deeper wrinkles might take about 7-10 days. During this time, the redness can usually be covered with make-up, and patients are able to return to work and their daily activities. Dr. Hessler follows the recovery of her patients very closely to ensure that the skin is healing properly and any possible concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Cause scarring?

Not usually. Unlike traditional surgery, scarring is uncommmon with laser resurfacing if the procedure is performed by a board certified surgeon. However, people with a tendency to form keloids or excessive scarring may not be the right candidates for this procedure. Typically, patients experience temporary bruising and redness after their surgery. Permanent visible scarring is not likely to happen.

Schedule Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Consultation Today

Find out if you are the right candidate by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Hessler and learning more details about this non-surgical procedure. During your appointment you can learn about the many other minimally invasive treatments Dr. Hessler offers, including CoolSculpting and Ultherapy. Appointments can be scheduled online or by phone at (650) 799-9009.