Question: I have got very bad spotting and sun damage on my decollete (I am a 41-year-old woman.) It makes me look a lot older than I am. I have heard that laser peels can be used to treat sun damage on the face. Could a laser peel also treat sun damage of the decollete?
Answer: The short answer to that question is yes, a laser peel can definitely be used to treat the decollete area, but we need to be extremely careful in this area and it is not typically done with standard lasers. Standard lasers injure 100% of the surface of the skin and we can do this in a very light fashion across the decollete area, but it would not be as effective as if we could go deep, which we cannot in that area.
The face can be treated very aggressively with laser peels due to the fact there are numerous sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and hair follicles spaced very close together on the face and this helps the area heal extremely quickly.
The chest area has the same skin structures, but they are spaced far enough apart that if we ended up treating that area with a deep laser peel, it would not be able to heal before scarring would occur.
An exciting relatively new technology allows us to treat areas like the decollete area in a very successful manner. This is where the laser is fractionated or separated into small tunnels of injury that are spaced far enough apart that we leave normal skin between these small tunnels of injury. At Quintessa Medical Spa, we personally use the ProFractional laser by Sciton and have been able to treat sun damage to the decollete area extremely effectively with this device. There are only a few days where the skin is irritated and possibly oozing and we do typically recommend a series of three treatments spaced approximately one month apart, but we can do a wonderful job of getting rid of the unsightly pigmented lesions as well as improving some of the textural qualities of the decollete area.
An exciting new technology called Ultherapy is an ultrasound based device that we have used in the decollete area to cause tightening of the tissue and we have seen some rather significant wrinkle reduction in this area with the use of this device. Currently we are exploring the use of both Ultherapy and ProFractional laser peels concurrently to not only treat the overlying skin, but also improve upon the integrity of the deeper tissues in hopes of providing an extreme rejuvenation to this otherwise difficult to treat area.