Life Lessons: Foto facial

Posted: 5:00 AM EDT Oct 22, 2013

All of the time she spent outdoors should have taken a toll on Janet Graham's skin, but the 52-year-old says one cosmetic procedure has kept her looking and feeling much younger.

Dermatologist Patrick Bitter developed a procedure called the foto facial.

"At this point, the foto facial procedure is the closest that we've come to the fountain of youth," says Dr. Bitter.

The foto facial uses broad band light to stimulate collagen. Lasers burn and destroy the skin cells - but this type of light is different.

"It doesn't kill skin cells. What it does is it changes the skin, and it changes skin cells," Dr. Bitter said.

In one study Dr. Bitter found annual foto facials resulted in skin that aged only one year over an eight-year span.

In another Stanford study, doctors treated women in their 70s and found the gene expression in their skin cells looked like that of women in their 20s.

"This is the first study that has shown that there's anything available that can reverse or change gene expression," Dr. Bitter said.

The cost is about $500 per procedure. It can be uncomfortable, and burning the skin is a risk. But 48-year-old Mary Shelton says she has seen immediate results.

"I think this is the first time I've seen something that actually reverses aging," Shelton says.

The procedure takes about 10 minutes.

Dr. Bitter says for best results, patients should get their first five facials 3-4 weeks apart, then yearly maintenance treatments.

He has trained over 5,000 doctors around the world to perform the foto facial.