SLUCare facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Scott Walen performs Halo laser treatment

SLUCare specialist offers latest advance in cosmetic treatment

Pictured: SLUCare facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Scott Walen

In the battle against aging, many people aren't willing to accept wrinkles, sunspots and enlarged pores without a fight. Laser skin peels can help, reducing fine lines, discoloration and scarring, and leaving the face looking brighter and younger. "You can get a very good amount of skin tightening with minimal downtime," says Dr. Scott Walen, a SLUCare facial cosmetic surgeon who adds he is the first in St. Louis to offer facial rejuvenation using the new Halo laser by Sciton.

The world's first hybrid fractional laser, Halo uses two wavelengths of light to treat superficial and deeper skin layers simultaneously. The technology targets the right depth to stimulate collagen production for firmer skin tone, while also killing damaged surface layers to allow younger, smoother skin to develop, Walen says. "It's the best of both worlds; you get a comprehensive skin treatment." Halo is also unique in offering adjustable settings that allow a doctor to treat all skin colors and types, Walen says. "We are able to base treatment on an individual patient's skin type, which was not possible in the past." Walen doesn't recommend the procedure for anyone with diabetes or vascular diseases, people with deep lines or who have had many facial surgeries, or those who spend significant time in the sun.

Lasers may sound high-tech and scary, but the Halo technology is "actually quite an easy treatment," Walen says. "If patients feel anything, they feel their skin getting slightly warmer and a mild prickling sensation, but the topical anesthetic usually takes care of that. There's no sedation, and no needles are required." After applying numbing cream, the doctor rolls the laser handpiece over the skin for about 30 minutes. Patients then can drive themselves home, where they need to apply after-procedure cream for the first 24 hours. Skin may appear a bit red for a few hours, and there is typically some swelling and peeling for two to four days, Walen says, but "it's very minimal recovery compared to a face-lift or nose job, which can be a week or two of downtime."

To achieve the results they want, most patients require more than one laser treatment, Walen notes. "We work with patients to come up with an individualized care plan. The number of treatments varies by what they are looking for as far as correction." Patients can expect to notice changes after just one session, however. Improvements begin in a few days and continue for several months, Walen says. "For those who use the post-procedure products, stay out of the sun, and take care of their skin properly, the treatment should last for years." Unlike more invasive procedures, a laser peel creates noticeable but subtle changes, he says. "Laser peels are ideal for people who want to see something different in the mirror, but not look like a walking advertisement for cosmetic surgery."

To learn more, call (314) 743-4000.

This article originally appeared in Town & Style.

By Becky Mollenkamp