New laser treats skin damage without long recovery

September 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new laser treatment aimed at younger patients is promising to tune up skin damage. This gentler approach comes with less downtime compared to some of the earlier treatments.

Mike Herner says his skin bears the battle scars of his active youth.

"I windsurfed, I sailed, I canoed, I did a lot of swimming," said Herner.

Now, he is erasing the some of the damage with the help of a newly-approved laser, marketed under the name Clear and Brilliant.

"It's good for, what I like to call, skin resurfacing, taking out all that sun damage, fine lines, blotchiness, uneven skin tone," said dermatologist Vic Narukar, M.D.

Narukar says the system is gentler on the skin than earlier lasers with a recovery time of under 24 hours.

"Even the most gentile lasers, you have about three or four days of hiding out, and some of the more aggressive lasers can be up to a week," said Narukar.

Before and after photos, provided by the company, show the laser's lightening effect on sun damage. Narukar says it's especially effective on minority skin types which can be vulnerable to blotchiness or uneven color from more powerful lasers. He says the fractional beam is able to remove micro-thin layers of skin without overheating, or damaging the pigment.

"The reason why lasers have created problems in all skin types, in particular darker skin types, is because of this phenomenon known as ball heating -- too much juice, too much energy. So we can still get from point A to point B without giving that much juice," said Narukar.

The trade off for the lower-intensity beam is multiple sessions. Herner has undergone five treatments lasting about 45 minutes each. The reddishness left behind is mild enough that most patients can return to work the same day. Herner says he's looking forward to seeing his sun damage finally fade.

"It was visible, it could be seen, and it was time to get it removed," said Herner.

The multiple sessions run about $500 to $750 per treatment. Again multiple sessions are needed, so that brings the total cost to between $1,500 to $2,500.

Written and produced by Tim Didion

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