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Laser Skin Resurfacing or Microneedling: Which is Better?

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Model image for the TempSure Environment wrinkle repair

Your skin can change with age, losing its firmness and developing wrinkles and fine lines. However, you can tighten your skin and improve its appearance with treatments like laser skin resurfacing, microneedling, IPL and RF. However, is one better than the other? 

At In Focus Eyecare, we purchased IPL and RF as leading edge treatment for dry eye. However we also offer skin rejuvenation treatments zone by zone or full face and neck. They have a clear benefit of being more gentle and has less downtime then Laser and microneedling treatments. We recommend our patients start with IPL & RF then move to more aggressive treatments if needed. We have industry leading Cynosure Icon IPL and TempSure Envy RF. We assess and provide individual treatment plans for radiofrequency (RF) therapy and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy depending on your dry eye and aesthetic goals.

Read on to learn more about laser skin resurfacing compared to microneedling and the benefits of RF and IPL therapy for your skin.  

What Is Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure for improving your skin texture and appearance. Laser resurfacing is precise, targeting skin in a specific area. It can help reduce many imperfections, including:  

  • Acne scars
  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Sun damage & age spots
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Uneven texture

How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work? 

During laser skin resurfacing, your treatment provider stimulates your skin with quick pulses of light from a laser. They pass the laser over your skin several times, helping treat sun damage, acne scars, and wrinkles. You may feel like the laser is snapping against your skin, but this is a common sensation as the procedure stimulates collagen and elastin production. 

Different lasers are available for your treatment, depending on the technique used. These lasers are ablative and nonablative

  • Ablative lasers: Ablative lasers remove the outer layer of your skin, the epidermis, to heat the underlying skin & stimulate collagen production. The treated skin looks better after the epidermis heals, appearing smoother & tighter. 
  • Nonablative lasers: Nonablative lasers stimulate collagen production without wounding the skin, helping improve your skin tone & texture. These lasers have a faster recovery time because it’s less invasive than an ablative laser. 

Is Laser Skin Resurfacing Safe? 

Laser skin resurfacing is a safe procedure, but it still has considerations. Your treatment provider will determine your eligibility for laser resurfacing during your initial consultation. They can explain the benefits and risks of this treatment. 

Some possible side effects of laser skin resurfacing include: 

  • Burning
  • Bumps
  • Dark spots or patches on the skin 
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Redness

Radiofrequency (RF) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapies

RF and IPL are two gentle facial aesthetic therapies that we offer at In Focus Eyecare.. Our treatments are typically geared towards dry eye but our technicians can also provide aesthetics treatments as well. 

IPL Photofacial 

An IPL photofacial can help with uncovering a smooth complexion. This is a good choice for skin that has been damaged over time and has redness, age spots, or changes to pigmentation. At In Focus Eyecare we use the Cynosure Icon IPL, one of the safest and most advanced IPL technologies on the market. 

How does IPL work?

IPL uses light to target skin features that are to be treated. The light causes the skin to warm up, stimulating removal of the unwanted skin cells and stimulating its repair. IPL sessions are quick (usually 20-30 minutes) and recovery is typically short, taking about a day. The other benefit is that since our Cynosure device uses multiple wavelengths of light, it is able to target multiple skin conditions. 

Treatment therapy is not considered painful, you may experience a sensation that is often compared to the snap of small rubber bands. 

Recovery is quick and painless, but you may look and feel like you have a very mild sunburn, so we do recommend taking the rest of the day off or booking outside of your work hours so you can have a chance to relax afterwards. 

Benefits of IPL

IPL is also known as a photo facial. The procedure will often start showing benefits within a few weeks and can last several years. This means that you don’t necessarily need ongoing treatments, just do so as you please.

Typically, most patients only require 3-5 treatments. Combined with a proper ongoing skincare regime, your skin can maintain the treatment benefits for years. 

Short treatment and recovery times make IPL a great way to get more youthful skin.

TempSure Envi Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening

Our state of the art TempSure Envi is a revolutionary device that counters signs of aging through stimulating collagen in your skin. This treatment targets wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other fine lines with most patients seeing results immediately after the first treatment. Similar to IPL photofacial treatments, these treatments are short with an added benefit of near zero downtime.    

How does TempSure RF treatment work?

Our TempSure Envi device uses a small, handheld unit that transmits radiofrequency, which is applied to the skin around the eyes and face. The radiofrequency penetrates through the outer layer of the skin down into deeper tissue, gently heating the deeper layers. The heat stimulates the production of collagen, which assists in restoring the natural firmness and elasticity of the skin.  

The sessions take around 45 minutes and are very gentle. As a result you can be treated at lunch and return back to your regular day with a healthy glow. Like with IPL, most people need a series of treatments. Our specialists can help you determine how many sessions would be recommended based on your skincare goals.

Benefits of TempSure RF treatment

The TempSure Envi radiofrequency treatment is aesthetic option offered in our dry eye clinic. RF is one of the latest technologies in dry eye management that has roots in treatment of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are like many that have concern about dry eye or want to care for their skin then RF is a great place to start.  

The biggest advantage of RF treatment compared to microneedling, laser and IPL is near zero recovery time. While IPL recovery is longer,  typically a day or less and comparatively, laser and microneedling could take up to a week or more. This makes RF a very convenient procedure, allowing our patients to come in on a work break and go back to their regular day. 

Additionally, the TempSure Envi was designed with comfort in mind. 96% of patients say that the procedure is comfortable, and it is often compared to the heat of a hot stone massage. Overall the experience is pleasant and has little to no short term tenderness afterwards.

As we mentioned above, RF treatment is also beneficial for treating dry eye disease. The penetrating RF heat warms up the tear glands in the eyelid to promote better flow which lubricates the eye and slow evaporation. This results in better moisture retention of the eye, alleviating symptoms of dryness and irritation. 

A woman undergoing micro needling at a clinic.

What Is Microneedling? 

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a cosmetic procedure used to improve your skin’s appearance. Your treatment provider uses unit with several small sterilized needles to prick the skin in targeted areas. These tiny wounds stimulate collagen and elastin production, healing your skin and improving its appearance. 

2018 research found this treatment can effectively rejuvenate the skin and treat scars and wrinkles. This procedure can help address several issues, including: 

  • Acne
  • Dark spots or patches on the skin 
  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Hair loss
  • Large pores
  • Reduced skin elasticity
  • Scars
  • Stretch marks
  • Sun damage

How Does Microneedling Work? 

Microneedling works by stimulating your skin to produce more collagen and elastin. The small pricks cause slight trauma to the skin. This trauma causes your body to respond by making new skin tissue that is more even in tone, texture, and firmness.

During your procedure, your treatment provider makes tiny punctures into the skin with a specialized handpiece.Clinical skill is needed so that treatment is done evenly. The pricks created by this tool are small enough that you likely won’t notice them after your treatment is over. 

Your treatment provider may use an anesthetic on your skin to increase your comfort during treatment. The procedure itself typically takes around 30 minutes to complete. 

Is Microneedling Safe? 

While microneedling is safe, there are still risks associated with this procedure. A common side effect is skin irritation, but other risks include: 

  • Swelling
  • Discomfort
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Dryness
  • Skin flaking

Even though this treatment is safe and effective, it isn’t for everyone. Your treatment provider will determine your eligibility for microneedling during your initial consultation. For example, persons on blood-thinners may not be suitable candidates. 

The other downside to microneedling is that it has a longer recovery period. While most of the visible effects of microneedling will be gone within the first couple of hours, full recovery does take most patients up to a week. This longer recovery period can prove inconvenient.

Microneedling has no role in dry eye management so we have not added this service

Laser Skin Resurfacing, Microneedling, IPL or RF: Which Should You Choose? 

Laser skin resurfacing, microneedling, IPL and RF are popular treatments to help improve the appearance of your skin, but is one better than the other? 

There’s no definitive proof that one procedure is better than the other. While the proceedures have the same goals, they utilize different technology. They have differences in recovery time, associated risks, and other factors. 

At In Focus Eyecare we offer gentle RF and IPL treatments for both dry eye and skin rejuvenation. We are excited about the results with dry eye care and believe they are an excellent starting point for facial skin care.

Aesthetic Alternatives

While lasers and microneedling provide good results, new technologies like RF and IPL provide results with more comfort and less downtime, allowing the least interruption of your day. 

If you’re looking to care for your skin and are wondering which treatment is right for your needs, speaking with one of our professionals can help. Our treatment providers can recommend the most effective procedure based on your skin goals. They have the knowledge and expertise to recommend a treatment plan best suited for your goals. Contact us at In Focus Eyecare. Our helpful staff can get you started. 

Written by Dr. Gerry Day, OD, P.Eng

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