I am way too much of a wimp to succumb to shock therapy. For instance, laser treatment that traumatizes the skin so that it goes into collagen production overdrive. However, I must admit that that it seems to work and now a long-term scientific study has given laser treatment a gold star.

A University of Michigan study has concluded that the long-term effects of carbon dioxide lasers reduce wrinkles by up to 45%. The research, recently published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, is the first to follow patients for over two years to review after effects.

42 women and five men, with an average age of 52, were studied between 1996 and 2004. "The efficacy of treating facial rhytids [wrinkles] with the carbon
dioxide laser is well established, and the short- and long-term utility
of the carbon dioxide laser in treating solar facial aging has
previously been documented,"
conclude the authors. "Our results verify
those of previous studies that found that carbon dioxide laser
resurfacing leads to long-term improvement in facial rhytidosis

In carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, a laser blasts water molecules
inside and outside of cells, which vaporizes the water and causes heat
damage to the surrounding tissue. The skin's response mechanism to this
tissue damage is to produce more of the wrinkle-filling protein called

The Michigan study found that it is not without side effects, although all were eventually resolved:

  • 45% (21 patients) had no complications after the procedure

  • 30% (14 patients) developed acne or small, white cysts
    called milia

  • 17% (8 patients) developed skin darkening

  • 13% (6 patients) developed skin lightening

  • 2% (1 patients) developed an infection

  • 2% (1 patient) developed sagging of the eyelids