Like many medical treatments, it’s often better to tackle an issue with more than one modality. Lasers are frequently used in combination with other therapies.
• Raised scars: If your scar is red and raised, Dr. Gerstner likes to treat it every two weeks. She’ll first inject it with a steroid (which helps to shrink it), then will alternate Fraxel and V-Beam to soften and lighten the scar. (I’m about to go through this process. I have scarring from laser tattoo removal gone bad, back when lasers weren’t quite up to the task. Is it weird to hope that the very thing that scarred me in the first place can fix it? Expect a report back.)
• Topical treatment immediately post-laser: Clear + Brilliant and Fraxel work by making microscopic “cuts” in the skin, and “you’re rallying the body’s own collagen to spackle in there,” Dr. Gerstner explained. So it’s potentially an ideal time to add topical therapy, because it will be more easily absorbed. Several studies are ongoing, including ones by skin care companies Skinceuticals and Lifeline.
• Botox/Fillers: Botox gets rid of deeper wrinkles, fillers plump skin up, and lasers resurface. It’s very common to use two or more of these to get better results. No single modality can do everything. (And this is why so many women fall down the rabbit hole of never-ending treatments.)