A Fractional Laser
SmartSkin™ is a fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Like other fractional laser skin resurfacing devices, it works by splitting the laser’s light into tiny beams that are each about one-tenth the size of a hair shaft. The light penetrates the skin to a controlled depth, where its heat vaporizes the targeted cells, while leaving the tiny areas around each tiny beam of light untouched. Only about 20 to 30 percent of the targeted area is actually treated, yet the entire area benefits from the process and eventually becomes rejuvenated. And because less skin is actually damaged by the laser, the recovery time is generally shorter than with non-fractional CO2 lasers.
Resurfaces and Rejuvenates
SmartSkin is an ablative laser, which means it removes the outermost top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum. The heat from the laser light also reaches the dermis, however, where it remodels the skin by stimulating the formation of new collagen, the protein that gives skin youthful, healthy-looking volume. The loss of skin volume (usually as the result of sun damage) is what causes lines and wrinkles to form.
What it Treats
SmartSkin helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles and promotes a more even skin tone and texture. It also helps resolve other skin problems associated with aging, such as solar lentigines (better known as “sun” or “age” spots), keratoses (tiny raised bumps on the skin), and wide pores. In addition, the SmartSkin laser has been found to be effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars.
How Long are Treatments?
Treatments generally take about 20 minutes. You can opt for a single aggressive treatment session or several less-aggressive ones that are spaced over several weeks. After the procedure you’ll feel — and look — as if you’ve had a sunburn.
The more aggressive the treatment, the more redness and swelling you’ll experience — and the more time you’ll need to recover. Most people feel comfortable returning to their normal activities within 4 days or so.