What is the Active FX CO2 Laser Treatment?
Effective skin rejuvenation involves reducing lines and wrinkles, eliminating dark pigmentation caused by sun damage, minimizing the appearance of pores and smoothing acne scars. Depending on the extent of the damage and for those who have not taken preventative measures for anti-aging and sun protection, these may be difficult goals to achieve. A variety of effective methods are available that improve these facets of skin aging. For instance, the Fraxel laser improves mild acne scarring, reduces brown spots and shrinks pores. The down time is modest at three or four days, but it takes several sessions to get optimal results. Chemical peels, such as the Vi peel or Cosmelan, reduce the hyperpigmentation of both sun damage and melisma, but these cannot do much to improve the contour of the skin. Pores, fine lines and acne scars show only mild improvement. The Active FX CO2 laser achieves all of the goals of skin resurfacing–both color and texture–usually in one treatment.
The Active Fx is a newer, less invasive version of the traditional CO2 resurfacing laser. As a CO2 laser, the Active Fx uses the same technology that is considered the gold standard for reducing wrinkles, lines and pigmentation. The critical difference is that the Active FX is a fractionated laser, like the Fraxel. Fractionation is a technique developed by R. Rox Anderson, M.D. that makes dermal lasers less destructive while preserving their effectiveness. Instead of emitting a solid beam of energy that destroys a large area of skin tissue, the Active Fx puts out tiny beams that leave the tissue around the injury intact. This promotes faster healing and results in an easier recovery period. The results, however, are still outstanding.
By carefully choosing the volume of skin left untreated, practitioners tailor treatments to the indication and patient’s tolerance of downtime. The Active FX gives Dr. Rivkin and his staff the flexibility to leave 95% to 0% of tissue intact. Superior resurfacing treatments balance spot size and treatment depth. As the spot size is reduced, depth can be increased without increasing downtime. Each pulse ablates a column of tissue, eliminating discolorations at the surface and causing volumetric skin reduction. As ablation occurs, deep heating stimulates immediate collagen contraction and long-term collagen remodeling.
What Does Active FX CO2 Laser Treat?
In one 60 minute treatment, the Active FX laser improves lines under the eyes and around the lips better than any other laser on the market today. Even multiple Fraxel laser treatments are unable to deliver the same results as the Active FX laser in those areas. During the treatment, Active Fx will shrink pores, reduce pigmentation and eliminate lines and wrinkles. After the treatment, most of our Active FX Los Angeles patients can expect three to five days of mild to moderate crusting, peeling and swelling and then one to two weeks of redness. Of course, we provide all of the assistance our patients need to manage this healing process without a hitch. The reward is dramatic skin improvement! The CO2 resurfacing treatment also stimulates collagen growth, so improvements continue for several months after the procedure. The treatment can be repeated after 6 months, but most people are satisfied with the results from their first procedure.
Pros and Cons of Active FX Laser Treatments in Los Angeles
The major advantage of Active FX CO2 Laser is that it can treat more severe acne scarring, pores and fine lines. The CO2 resurfacing treatment is more intense, so it takes fewer sessions to achieve great results, as compared to the Fraxel laser. The disadvantage to this procedure is that there is significant downtime for about one week and redness, which will last for two weeks. It cannot be used on darker skin tones or patients on certain medications, such as Accutane.
During your complementary consultation, Dr. Rivkin will listen to your concerns and carefully evaluate your skin. He will put together the best strategy, customized to your skin as well as to your schedule and preferences. You can trust your face to his experience and expertise.
What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Active FX Treatment in Los Angeles
Active Fx CO2 Laser Resurfacing – Pre-procedure Instructions:
- Avoid tanning and minimize sun exposure for 3 weeks before procedure. Apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher daily.
- For patients with a history of melasma or hyperpigmentation, use hydroquinone (bleaching cream) 2 weeks prior to procedure and discontinue 2 days prior to procedure.
- Start Sinecch the day before and Diflucan the day of procedure to help reduce swelling and healing time.
- The day before the procedure, start Valtrex, 1000 mg. 2 times a day and continue for 6 days after procedure. Prescription may be written in office or called in to your local pharmacy.
- Please allow at least 2 hours for your appointment if we are treating face and allow 30 additional minutes for Deep FX or each additional area. There will be 1 hour of numbing before the treatment begins.
- We provide for validated parking in the building, entering at Barry Ave.
- We will provide a kit that includes; sunscreen, cleanser, moisturizer, occlusive dressing (petroleum based), and an eye serum.
- Please note that if scheduled areas for treatment include chest, neck, or hands, the associated down time (redness, tenderness, swelling) will be longer. Count on at least 1 week more of redness and about 2 to 3 days increase in discomfort and swelling.
- Stainless steel ocular shields are inserted for safety measures when the area around the eyes is treated. Please remove contact lenses prior to your arrival.
Things to have on hand on the day of your procedure:
- Sinecch or Arnica, Mangosteen, to relieve bruising and swelling
- Systane, lubricant for the eyes
- Benadryl, oral antihistamine
- Valtrex, Keflex and Diflucan (Diflucan only for patients receiving Deep FX)
- White Vinegar
- Extra pillow, towels, sheets and wash cloths/hand towels
- Tylenol and Advil
- Mineral Make-Up
First Night: Sleep on your back with head slightly elevated. Place towel on pillow due to occlusive ointment. You may use Systane or other over the counter lubricating eye drops to your eyes as a lubricant if you are experiencing irritation. Try to avoid environmental irritants during the healing process (i.e. dust, dirt, sun, hairspray). Continue using Sinnech, Valtrex and Keflex as directed. Take dose of Diflucan as directed. Ibuprofen (400 to 600mg every 4 hours) is OK to take after Active FX, but you should limit yourself to Tylenol (1g every 4 hours) if Deep FX was performed to avoid bruising. You may use vinegar soaks for discomfort on days 1-7.*
Day 1 (First day after treatment): Try to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid direct sunlight. Wash your face 2-4 times per day with the gentle cleanser that we provide and tepid water. Reapply occlusive ointment after washing or whenever needed. Avoid alcohol, stay hydrated and eat healthy meals. Avoid vigorous exercise until your face is healed. Continue Sinnech, Valtrex and Keflex. An oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl 50mg every 8 hrs) may help you sleep and help reduce swelling.
Day 2: Continue washing 2-4 times per day. Reapply occlusive ointment as necessary. Itching may begin today. Avoid picking or scratching the treated areas. Reapply occlusive ointment as necessary. Continue Sinecch, Keflex, Valtrex, Benadryl, Tylenol / Advil.
Day 3: Continue washing 2-4 times per day. Reapply occlusive ointment as necessary. Itching may persist. Central aspect of the face will begin to exfoliate today leaving behind soft pink tissue. Continue Sinecch, Keflex, Valtrex, Benadryl, Tylenol / Advil.
Day 4-7: Itching and peeling has usually subsided. Most patients may be able to apply mineral make-up to treated area. Patient may transition to the Elite Fortified Moisturizer (included in the kit) or to a non-occlusive moisturizer such as Eucerin or Cerave. Start using the Elite SPF 30 (included in the kit).
Day 7+: May start regular skin care program as long as treated area has healed. You may return to exercise program. Continue sunscreen and mineral make-up to protect treated areas. AVOID exposure to excessive sun for 4 weeks. Hat or clothing must be used to protect the treated area. Follow-up pictures in must be taken in clinic.
Two Months: Follow-up pictures must be taken in clinic with a complimentary microdermabrasion and an IPL Photofacial (at 50% discount) is also recommended at this time.
*Vinegar soak: cleanse skin, pour a dash of white vinegar on a cloth, lay over treated area for 2-5 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Reapply occlusive dressing.
To get started on your Active FX transformation, contact us today!