Have you ever thought how much we take for granted the way that our skin heals so rapidly and without trace despite the numerous cuts, grazes and burns we suffer in a lifetime? If we inflict a deep enough cut or an intense burn then of course we scar – fortunately most injuries are minor and there are superb mechanisms within our skin to bring about healing and sealing.
Our skin consists of three main layers
The epidermis consists of a scaly, greasy protective outer layer overlying a very active mattress of cells that constantly creates the layer above. It is in the epidermis that we find most of our pigment – if it is clumped then it’s a freckle, if its more diffuse then that is what gives different races their skin colour.
The epidermis is an incredible effective barrier – very little indeed can penetrate through it – all those lovely cosmetics really don’t get through at all well.
This is also where we tend to accumulate those old sun spots.
The next layer – the dermis – is brilliantly sealed off from the outside world by the epidermis. The dermis is stuffed full of all sorts of goodies particularly collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid that supports and cushions all the necessary things like glands, hair roots, blood vessels and nerves. Babies and young women feel lovely and soft because they’re stuffed with extracellular matrix. As we age the extracellular matrix shrivels, thins, clumps and sags along with the switching off of grease glands and much else.
Finally we have the subcutaneous layer which is more fatty and full of bigger blood vessels.
Most of the work we do with lasers is directed at the epidermis and dermis.
Different lasers target different colours and components. The Erbium iPixel laser penetrates quite superficially and the Clearlift Q-Switched Nd:YAG much deeper. Depending on where the fault lies we can choose the appropriate laser or combination thereof.
The fractional lasers make hundreds of tiny holes in the skin and create miniscule areas of injury or burn. Each tiny area of damage releases heat shock proteins that stimulate the body’s powerful repair and rejuvenation system. For many days after each treatment the skin repairs not only the microscopic damage but has a good old “freshen up” in the surrounding areas laying down new collagen and stimulating the clean up of tired declining old tissue and blobs of pigment. Without scarring – and it is long lasting. The skin is softer, cleaner and less wrinkly. Very clever.