The American Academy of Dermatology's 2003 Annual Meeting in San Francisco March 21st through 25th featured some of the newest technologies in skincare. One of the hottest topics in skincare is the use of non-invasive skin rejuvenation techniques that offer minimal recovery time.

Dermatologist Robert A. Weiss, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., discussed the latest advancements in non-ablative skin rejuvenation and their effectiveness in treating common signs of aging, such as wrinkles, mottled skin tone and broken blood vessels.


Photomodulation is a non-invasive breakthrough technology procedure that works by activating skin cells with pulses of low-level, non-thermal light energy. This non-ablative technology converts light energy within the skin cells, similar to the way photosynthesis takes sunlight and turns it into food energy in plants. A specially-formulated topical skin care kit containing vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants designed to help the skin regenerate has been found to enhance the effects of photomodulation when used prior to treatment. As a result, existing skin cells function more like younger cells.

In a recent multi-center clinical trial, 90 female photoaged patients received an average of eight photomodulation treatments to determine the procedure's effectiveness at reducing the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation, redness, pore size and roughness in the eye area of the face. "Clearly, photomodulation is an extremely safe and effective treatment option for patients looking to improve the appearance of aging and sun-damaged skin without any downtime, touted Weiss. "Continued improvement is seen even months after treatment."


Photorejuvenation is another new non-ablative treatment that works simultaneously to repair collagen in the dermis while gently erasing signs of aging in the epidermis, or top layer of skin. This unique light treatment selectively delivers intense pulses of light to the dermis, which injures and subsequently repairs the existing collagen. Since the epidermis is rarely injured by this treatment, there are no visible signs that the skin is being rejuvenated as is common with other traditional ablative procedures.

On the surface of the skin, photorejuvenation works by delivering shorter pulses of light that can reduce the signs of aging and sun damage, including fine wrinkles, freckles and irregular pigmentation, as well as redness and dilated capillaries commonly associated with rosacea. For best results, a series of four to six treatment sessions spaced approximately three weeks apart is recommended. Each treatment takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

"Photorejuvenation has been found to be extremely effective in improving the appearance of the neck, chest and hands — which can be difficult to treat because the skin is more delicate in these areas," said Weiss.

Photorejuventation can also be used in conjunction with other procedures to enhance results, such as laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, and microdermabrasion. Recent studies have also found positive results combining Botox and photorejuvenation in one procedure.