By Candice Sabatini
New Yorkers like to think we have the best of everything, and in many ways we do. But one thing New Jersey has that New York City is lacking is space….a lot of space. I traveled to Livingston, New Jersey to the spacious skin center of Dr. Mitchell Chasin, the Medical Director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body, and got a tour of the elegant facility that is home to over 60….yes 60….. lasers!
I sat and chatted with Dr. Chasin, an affable guy who is passionate about his work in lasers and the anti aging process. He has a sense of humor about his industry and has authored a book entitled, “The Comical Side of Growing Younger”; a book of cartoons that takes a poke at our obsession with the (anti-) aging process.
Beauty News: Is there any reason why a New Yorker should travel to New Jersey for laser treatment?
Dr. Chasin: One reason is that in NJ, only a doctor can use a laser on a patient, not so in NY. Also, here at Reflections, we have the space to house many lasers that do very specific things. Often at a NYC office where space is limited, they use one machine for a variety of skin conditions because they don’t have more machines. I’ll often use a few different lasers in one session to treat very specific areas or problems.
Beauty News: Assuming not everyone can come to you, what should a person look for when selecting a doctor who’s going to use a laser on them?
Dr. Chasin: Ask them if they own or rent their lasers. Lasers, like anything else, are individual and a setting that gives off a unit of energy in one machine could differ on another laser even though it’s on the same setting. When places rent the lasers they use, typically, the lasers stay in the office for a day or two at a time and are then switched out regularly so they have different lasers on different days in the office.
Beauty News: Hmm….. so, a doctors office can end up with a schedule that is Tattoo Tuesday, Thermage Thursday and Fraxel Friday, because those are all different lasers?
Dr. Chasin: (chuckle) Absolutely.
Beauty News: I know you have many different lasers, but tell me some basic differences about the ones we read about the most, Fraxel, Thermage and Titan.
Dr. Chasin: Fraxel resurfaces and rejunenates the skin. It removes age spots, sun damage, fine wrinkles, acne and improves the color of the skin. Thermage uses radio frequency and only tightens the skin and nothing else. Titan uses infra-red energy and is supposed to tighten the skin, but it really doesn’t go deep enough to do as much as Thermage.
Beauty News: Do treatments like Thermage and Fraxel hurt?
Dr. Chasin: Not any more. We still use a numbing cream for Fraxel, but not for Thermage. Lasers have come a long way and if those treatments are very painful, then an older machine is being used on you.
Dr. Chasin showed me an array of impressive before and after photos, and we determined that I should have a mild treatment from a special laser called the Fraxel. My face was covered with a numbing gel, and while it took effect, Dr. Chasin gave me a tour of the office. The treatment rooms are lovely, comfortable and impeccably clean. A half hour later, the gel was removed and I was ready for Fraxel. Fear consumed me – what was that it was going to feel? Would it equate to snapping rubber bands all over my face? Mentally I prepared for the worst. I hate to be anticlimactic here, but the truth is, it didn’t hurt. Even for me, “Ms No Tolerance For Pain”. The fact is, I could tell that little sparks were hitting my skin, with a mildly warm sensation which was slightly more intense where there isn’t much flesh between the bone and skin (like jaw line and temple). Not at all the excruciating pain I had tried to prepare myself for. Dr Chasin used a low setting of 20% on my skin, which meant that only 20% of my skin cells were affected as the machine passed over my face. Think of it like pixels in a photo with only a portion getting touched by the laser. For this level of treatment, there’s not much down time. After the treatment, my skin looked like a bad sunburn. However, my everyday foundation covered it nicely, and I had to use a high SPF sun block and avoid the sun as much as possible for the next few days – no biggie. As a result of the treatment, my skin looked smoother and fresher. Miracles don’t happen in one treatment, it would take a series of three treatments to see major results. Fraxel settings run from 18%-50%, and the higher the setting, the longer the recovery period. A high treatment setting could need a week of indoor recovery, but from the photo’s I saw, the results are incredible and definitely worth the downtime. “I’m ready for my next Fraxel, Dr DeMille!”
Reflections Center for Skin and Body
299 E. Northfield Rd.
Livingston, NJ 07039