My Full Face Pixel Laser Procedure Only Lasted 5 Minutes! Is This Typical?

I am 33 years old . Hispanic with lots of melasma and red stains on my face . I read everywhere that a full face pixel procedure lasts about 30 minutes- why mine was so fast ? Is it because I have dark skin complexion ? I will have two more treatments , he recommended . My skin is red and very itchy right now -1 day after ! And I can see the little dots almost everywhere on my face !

Doctor Answers 1

Pixel procedure

I would strongly advise against having a Pixel procedure done if you have melasma or skin of color because of the risk of worsening of melasma or having persistent skin discoloration after the procedure.  There are much safer treatment options for melasma with minimal risk of skin discoloration or worsening your melasma afterwards.  One of those alternatives would be conservative treatments with the 1927nm setting with the Fraxel DUAL, which is a non-ablative laser, as well as chemical peels, conservative Q-switched laser treatments and topical hydroquinone.  Daily use of sunscreen is also critical to help prevent exacerbation of melasma.  Often, we recommend a combination of the above for patients with melasma, but caution them that in some cases, energy-based treatments such as lasers may sometimes worsen melasma.  Since significant risks are involved with the Pixel procedure and suboptimal results may be obtained in experienced hands it should only be performed by board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons who are experienced with the procedure.

Although its hard to make an assessment without seeing you in person, the black dots that you describe may represent microthermal treatment zones.  These are microscopic columns of dead tissue that were irradiated by the Pixel laser, which makes a grid-like imprint on the face.  It is the laser destruction of these tiny zones of healthy tissue by the Pixel laser that stimulates new collagen formation and a skin healing response, resulting in newer, tighter skin with less wrinkles and usually a more even tone.

I cannot comment on why your procedure lasted only 5 minutes.  With more aggressive Pixel settings as used in our office, patients typically only need one treatment lasting 30-60 minutes with results that last for several years.  I recommend that you follow up with the physician who performed the procedure for an in-person evaluation.

Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
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