July 22, 2008
Lasers Boost Facial Collagen Production

Carbon dioxide lasers cause damage that boost collagen production to lessen wrinkles.

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing appears to be an effective long-term treatment for facial wrinkles, according to a report in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The carbon dioxide laser vaporizes water molecules inside and outside of cells, causing thermal damage to the surrounding tissue, the authors write as background information in the article. In response to this insult, the skin produces more of the protein collagen, which fills in wrinkles. "In addition to structural changes, the healing process frequently leads to pigmentary [coloring] changes," the authors write. "These changes in skin pigmentation may be desirable, such as when patients wish to remove solar evidence of aging; however, changes in pigmentation after treatment can often be a troubling adverse effect."

In 15 to 20 years we are going to look back on the plastic surgery of today and marvel at how primitive it was. Okay, get this. You want more collagen because your collagen production has declined with age and your face looks older. So what do you do? Shoot lasers at your face to cause damage so that the facial cells produce lots of collagen in response to the chemical signals produced by the damage. You have to damage yourself to make yourself look younger. Seems pretty primitive to me.

Most of the side effects of the laser treatment go away within a couple of years.

P. Daniel Ward, M.D., M.S., and Shan R. Baker, M.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, assessed 47 patients (42 women and five men, average age 52) who underwent carbon dioxide laser resurfacing on their entire face between 1996 and 2004.

Twenty-one patients (45 percent) had no complications following the procedure; of those who did, 14 (30 percent) had milia (small, white cysts) or acne; eight (17 percent) had hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin); six (13 percent) had hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin); one (2 percent) developed an infection; and one (2 percent) developed sagging of the eyelids.

After an average of 2.3 years of follow-up, most of these complications had resolved. Patients' scores on a scale measuring facial wrinkles improved 45 percent, and were consistent over all areas of the face. "With the exception of one case of hyperpigmentation, which resolved within two years of treatment, hypopigmentation was the only long-term adverse effect," the authors write. "This complication was present in six patients (13 percent). The patients who developed hypopigmentation were more likely to have a greater response to treatment."

We need hormone, drug, gene therapy, or cell therapy treatment that will boost collagen production. Stem or gene therapy look most promising in the long run because they will reverse some of the aging and provide more youthful cells that can produce more collagen.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 July 22 11:36 PM  Biotech Skin Improvement

Tom said at July 23, 2008 5:21 AM:

This looks suspiciously like one of those things that they'll discover causes cancer about 15 years down the road. I'll pass...

Curious said at July 23, 2008 2:36 PM:

Just get a tretinoin prescription and a decent vitamin c&e&ferulic topical and you get the most effective noninvasive anti wrinkle treatment there is. Tretinoin is quite effective in not only boosting collagen etc...

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