Are Laser Treatments Preventative or Should I Wait?

I get Botox to prevent lines between my eyes. I have good skin at 40 but I'm starting to get fine lines. Do laser treatments help slow down the need for more aggressive treatments in the future or should I wait to get "more bang for my buck"? I use prescription retinoid and stay out the sun. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 7

Why laser or other heat treatments delay visual aging

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You're already engaged in one excellent practice of using a retinoid for cell turnover. And sun protection is also a great prevention tool (Anyone who compares buttock skin to arm skin can clearly see what the sun can do to you!)

Heat based treatments are a nice way to keep the collagen cycle going. Collagen production naturally slows down and collagen degradation speeds up as we age. Intervening along the way prevents having to deal with bigger issues later.

Fractional lasers like Fraxel keep the collagen factory operating well - but anyone with moderate to high levels of pigment need to be careful. Fractional radio frequency like eMatrix is more specific to skin that has higher levels of pigment.

Chemical peels can be helpful too, but work generally at a much more superficial level.

Laser Treatments as Prevention & Usage of Fraxel

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Laser treatments activate your skin’s natural collagen production.

The heat from the laser energy inflicts deliberate wounds to the dermis layer. It reacts to this as an injury and will produce new collagen fibers in an effort to heal and strengthen itself.


So indeed, laser treatments (e.g. Fraxel Dual and Fraxel Repair) work as excellent preventative measures.

Kim Kardashian, who is in her early thirties, spoke to Oprah about how much she recommends Fraxel procedures.

Fraxel Repair is recommended for patients with fair skin. Fraxel Dual can be used on any skin type.

Here is a patient example:


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Fine lines and treatment with lasers

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Taking care of your skin through sunscreen and sun avoidance is very important.  Botox also prevents new or deeper wrinkles.  I have treated patients with chemical peels or lasers and this maintenance combined with sun avoidance seems to lead to the best long term results.  It is like taking care of your teeth.  You just can't wait for them to get bad to treat them! You need proper daily care and maintenace.

Treat sun damage early

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Non-ablative treatments such as IPL or Clear+Brilliant laser will stimulate collagen, make your skin radiant and slow down aging.  Continue with your retinoid and sun protection and use topical antioxidants such as vitamin C.  Consult a dermatologist who offers laser treatments and can assess your skin and formulate a program of treatments for you.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

The earlier sun damage is treated the better it responds

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I disagree with the 2 previous comments.Early treatment of sun damage is very beneficial .Waiting until there are more visible lines and texture changes just means a more aggressive treatment will be needed. Using various non-ablative lasers along with a regimen of topical agents that help protect the skin, stimulate collagen, and maintain even pigmentation is a very smart thing to do and not unusual at all.

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Preventative Laser Treatments

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Hi DD.  We do have some patients that use non-ablative lasers (no downtime) to stave off the need for more aggressive treatments later on.  You sound like someone that is informed about the treatment options available, so as long as you are taking some preventative action (like Retin A), this will help.  With that said, we all will age, so when the lines get to the point where they are bothersome, then you may consider laser resurfacing or even injection procedures in the areas of concern.  Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fine lines

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Any thing you can do to prevent skin aging is good. Starting with laser may be too much but a good medical aesthetician would help. Sounds like you are on the right track

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.