Why the 'Laser Facial' Might Be the Answer to Fixing Your Most Persistent Winter Skin Problems

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Winter can be the worst, but according to dermatologists, these months are pretty perfect for tackling skin concerns and reversing all the damage from the sun, sand and surf you accumulated over the summer.

“In general, most people spend less time outdoors during the colder months and wear more clothing coverage, like turtlenecks and long pants, so it tends to be a great time of year to do laser procedures,” explains Greenwood, CO, dermatologist Joel Cohen, MD. “We do many laser procedures, including ablative resurfacing for etched-lines, laser hair removal, and lasers to minimize pigment and blood vessels. In all of these cases, we want our patients to avoid being tan and getting sun after the procedure.”

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More specifically, El Segundo, CA dermatologist Christine Choi Kim, MD says she currently loves Cynosure's Picosure laser for the season. “The Focus Array handpiece allows me to perform a ‘laser facial’ to fade sunspots, tone the skin and minimize the appearance of pores—all with minimal discomfort or downtime. Over a series of five to six treatments, scheduled three to four weeks apart, you can actually stimulate production of elastin, which gives skin its bounciness.”

If you have a more specific cold-weather skin care concern, like rosacea, Dr. Kim recommends a vascular laser like Cutera's Excel V. “It targets the tiny capillaries around the nose, cheeks and chin that otherwise would contribute to a ruddy complexion. There’s no need for numbing and minimal downtime, but expect to have two to three treatments once a month for optimal results.”

Then there’s the often-exacerbated cold-weather problem of eczema, which Dr. Cohen says may have some exciting laser-related solutions associated with its treatment on the horizon. “There are some new studies showing efficacy of the Excimer laser used off-label for eczema—atopic dermatitis, which is often worse in the winter from people simply being more dry—published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (JEADV). In addition, there is a study on facial seborrheic dermatitis—again, usually worse in the winter due to dryness—improving with photodynamic therapy published in the JEADV,” he says. “But, for now, this is an off-label treatment.”

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