Cosmetic Procedures > Pixel® Resurfacing
1. What is the Pixel procedure?
The Pixel is a laser that improves skin tone, fine lines and discoloration by delivering microscopic zones of energy. Multiple treatments allow the patient to obtain significant improvement without the downtime associated with laser resurfacing in the past. The Pixel helps improve color, sun damage, rough texture, fine lines and wrinkles and acne scarring.
For color and texture improvement, we recommend 2-3 treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart. For fine lines and acne scarring, 3-5 treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart are recommended. Improvement in discoloration can be seen 3-4 weeks after treatment. Reduction in scarring is best assessed 6 months after the final treatment.
2. How is the procedure performed?
Light energy that targets water in the skin is delivered in pinpoint beams to the skin. The beams remove extremely small areas of the epidermis and superficial dermis. These small areas of injury heal with increased collagen and remodeling with minimal recuperation time or discomfort. The entire face is treated in one 20 minute session. The neck, chest, arms and back of the hands may also be treated very safely and effectively.
3. Is the Pixel laser painful?
There is a slight stinging sensation with each pulse of light. This is often followed by warmth. In order to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, we recommend an over the counter numbing cream called Topicaine prior to the procedure.
4. Are there any risks or side effects of treatment?
Redness and swelling after each treatment are expected for 24-36 hours. This is often followed by peeling for 5-7 days. Greater swelling occurs in the lower lids when the eye area is treated. More serious side effects are rare, but most can be avoided by proper sun avoidance before and after the procedure and by following the post procedure instructions. Possible adverse effects include discoloration (lightening or darkening), prolonged redness, significant swelling and extremely rare infection or pinpoint scarring. During the treatment, shields are worn to protect the eyes. Please notify your doctor if you have a history of cold sores so we can prescribe you medication to prevent this from occurring after treatment.
5. What do I need to do to maintain my results?
The best way to maintain results is to protect the skin from the sun. One or two Pixel treatments per year are helpful in some patients to keep brown spots and fine lines at bay.
Patient Instructions for the Pixel Laser
- It is imperative to protect the treated skin from the sun for a full 4 weeks prior to the Pixel. This is best accomplished by the use of SPF 30 sunscreen daily (preferably containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) and a hat worn during times of greater exposure to the sun’s rays. Any tan or “color” from the sun can cause side effects.
- We highly recommend an over the counter medication called Topicaine, which can be obtained from our office. Thirty minutes before your appointment, apply the gel generously to your face and rub in. Repeat the application again 10 minutes before your treatment. One 30 gram tube costs about $50 and is good for approximately 2 treatments. This medication is extremely safe and effective when used as directed.
- To avoid bruising, discontinue aspirin and ibuprofen for 1 week prior to a Pixel treatment.
- Let your doctor know if you have a tendency for cold sores (herpes simplex) or skin infections. You will likely need to take medication to prevent cold sores during and after the procedure.
- For the 2 days following the procedure, apply a thin film of Vaseline or Aquaphor to the skin every few hours. This may be alternated with application of a prescription healing cream called Biafine. After 2 days, Biafine or a fragrance free moisturizer should be used every few hours. If the skin is uncomfortable, continue with Vaseline or Aquaphor.
- You may use Tylenol or Advil for discomfort after the procedure. Cool tap water compresses may be used for discomfort. Sleep on an extra pillow to minimize swelling around the eye area
- If increasing pain, drainage, open wound, fever, or excessive swelling is present, call our office immediately at 781-416-3500.
- After a gentle treatment, flaking and redness may be seen for 3-5 days. With more aggressive treatments, dark brown scales and a leathery appearance may be visible in certain areas. Swelling may last up to 5-7 days. Scrubs and exfoliation should be avoided for 7 days, but then can be used gingerly to help remove the dissolving brown age spots that appear to be flaking off the skin. Glycolic, retinol, Retin A and Renova creams may be restarted after 7 days.
- Sun protection including SPF 30 sunscreen, and preferably a hat, are mandatory for at least 4 weeks after each treatment. To maintain your excellent results, these sun protective measures should continue indefinitely.