It’s your 40th birthday. You’ve been responsible over the last two years of the slow economy – you didn’t buy that must- have Marc Jacobs purse and no vacation to Tulum, Mexico this year, even though your best friend is renting that killer beach-side villa. You looked in the mirror and decided you want to treat yourself to a series of laser skin care treatments and may be a little Botox. You’ve never done this before and there’s a part of you that wants to make sure you’re making the right ‘investment’. You’ve read tons of articles online, seen all the before- and- after pics but the main question is ‘How long will it last for?
The answer depends on many things. Here are some factors to consider:
1. Your General Health.
Obviously the healthier you are physically, the longer the effects of any treatment will last. Your skin is a direct reflection of what is going on in the rest of your body. If your skin has good elasticity, a good color and tone, you don’t smoke, have no active acne, not taking any anti acne drugs (especially the skin thinning Accutane in the last 18 months) or have any unusual scar formations such as keloids, you have the best chance as any of longer lasting effects. Make sure you’re also realistic about the end results. The chances are you’ll never look 25 again (which is actually a good thing!) but you’ll look more refreshed.
2. How ‘Wrinkly’ Are You?
A patient who is 40 or younger (unless they have led a really unhealthy life) is going to have more lasting effects than someone older. That is because they are basically younger and their wrinkling and sagging won’t be as pronounced as someone in their 50s or older. Laser skin resurfacing is good for those who have fine wrinkles and small imperfections, not major jowling or sagging. A face lift is recommended for those who have more pronounced wrinkling and sagging.
3. What Type Of Treatment Are You Getting?
It is common sense that the more invasive the laser skin care treatment, the longer the effects will last for. An example is the difference between a treatment by the CO2 laser and a more gentle laser skin care treatment such as the erbium laser. A CO2 laser goes deeper into the skin’s layers and is used for deeper wrinkling. The recovery period is much longer (note that this treatment is best suited for those with lighter skin tones. It is NOT recommended for patients with olive or black skin due to the risk of scarring and uneven skin pigmentation.) The erbium laser works by vaporizing the outer layers of skin, causing skin contraction underneath and stimulating collagen production. It works on a much more superficial layer, with a shorter recovery time. You may require repeat treatments to maintain the desired effect.
4. Your Lifestyle After The Procedure.
For this, read ‘How much you stay out of the sun’. After a laser skin care treatment, the area is normally very tender and vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Be absolutely vigilante about staying out of the sun for at least 2-4 weeks afterwards and make sure you wear a high SPF mineral sunscreen and sunglasses if you do have to go out. Remember how wrinkling happens in the first place – it is a breakdown of collagen in the deep layers of the skin. Intelligent and compassionate self-care will go a long way towards you getting your desired results and maintaining them.