Laser Skin Resurfacing Q & A
What Is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Skin resurfacing is an outpatient procedure that can reverse damage and improve the quality, color, and texture of your skin. The procedure smooths and tightens the skin, removes wrinkles, and corrects skin pigmentation problems. Treatment typically takes an hour or more depending on the extent of the condition, and patients can usually go home the same day following a short observation period.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Upper layers of the skin are exposed to ablative lasers which emit rapid pulses of high intensity light. Similar to a chemical peel or dermabrasion, it is used to tighten skin, repair acne scarring, and reduce wrinkles. Non-ablative lasers are less abrasive and are used to treat fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen growth and tightening the skin.
Am I A Good Candidate?
Laser skin resurfacing is effective for treating the effects of sun exposure, aging and smoking. It is most commonly used to treat wrinkles, blotches and brown spots, scars and uneven skin tone, and some precancerous growths.
If a patient is in relatively good health, it is likely that he or she will be a good candidate for this treatment. A consultation with a dermatologist will help to determine whether this procedure is appropriate. As with all cosmetic procedures, it’s important to have realistic expectations regarding expected results.
What Are the Risks?
Scarring, changes in pigmentation, and abnormal healing are all possible risks associated with treatment. It can also cause skin disorders such as allergic reactions and cold sores to worsen. As with most surgeries, there is also the possibility of an adverse reaction to anesthesia, infection, bleeding, scarring, and allergic reactions. Your doctor should explain all risks to you prior to scheduling your procedure.
What Should I Expect After Treatment?
When your treatment is completed, your skin will be covered in protective ointment and possibly bandaged. Initially, there will be pain, redness, and swelling. In the first two weeks, the redness may fade but your skin will remain pink and may scab. Up until eight weeks, the skin will remain pink in appearance. Your doctor will determine whether you are able to use camouflaging makeup and whether exposure to direct sunlight will be allowed. The length of recovery time depends on the extent of treatment, and may take several months. Results are relatively long-lasting, but wrinkles caused by facial movements will eventually reappear.