Laser Skin Resurfacing: How it Works and Benefits
What is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
A skin care procedure that involves the use of lasers to help improving the appearance and texture of your skin is laser skin resurfacing.
Usually, your dermatologist or physician would be performing the procedure.
Depending on the individual needs, your dermatologist might recommend two types of laser treatments, that usually involve:
- Ablative lasers
- Non-ablative lasers
Ablative lasers usually include Erbium or Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
CO2 laser resurfacing treatment helps you to get rid of:
- Deep wrinkles
On the other hand, Erbium laser is mostly used for:
- Finer lines
- Superficial skin concerns
Both the types of ablative lasers help to remove the outer layer of your skin by the beams of light.
Non-ablative lasers don’t generally remove any of the layers of your skin.
Moreover, these include pulsed-dye lasers, pulsed light as well as fractional lasers.
Non-ablative lasers usually help to treat:
- spider veins
- acne-related skin concerns
Keep on reading to learn more about how the whole procedure works, its possible side effects as well as why it’s done.
Who Should Get Laser Skin Resurfacing Done?
You might consider getting this procedure if you have:
- Acne-related skin concerns
- Skin care concerns regarding aging
- Problems arising from exposure to sun
Laser skin resurfacing can also help in treating one of the following skin conditions:
- Fine lines
- Age spots
- Uneven skin tone
- Enlarged oil glands
- Sagging skin
- Crow’s feet
Your natural skin tone will also help to determine whether this cosmetic procedure is suitable for you.
People with lighter skin tones are often the good candidates for the procedure of laser skin resurfacing.
It’s mostly because they have lesser risk and chances of hyperpigmentation.
However, as per the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons, there’s a misconception that laser skin resurfacing is mostly for the lighter skin only.
The key here is to work with a physician or the dermatologist who knows which types of laser are going to work best for the darker skin tones.
This procedure isn’t generally suitable for people having:
- excessive sagging skin
- acne breakouts
Moreover, it is also recommended to get into the procedure during winter or fall.
This can also help to decrease the exposure of sun which is likely damage your delicate skin.
This treatment also works well for stretch marks. However, you should be discussing with your dermatologist whether you need to have procedure or not.
How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?
There are two most common types of lasers that are used for the purpose of laser resurfacing.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Both the types of lasers help to vaporize the skin cells that are damaged at the surface level.
Cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure, so the medical insurance doesn’t generally cover it.
The cost generally varies depending on the type of laser used.
As per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the ablative laser treatments generally cost more than the non-ablative ones.
The overall cost of the treatment also depend on various other factors that generally include:
- The number of sessions
- Area being treated
- Experience and expertise of your dermatologist
- Reputation of the clinic
- Your location
What to Expect After the Procedure?
Laser skin resurfacing usually targets the outer most layer of your skin.
At the same time, it helps to heat the lower layers of your dermis.
This will also promote the production of collagen.
Ideally, the new fibers of collagen will help to produce new skin that is comparatively firmer and have a smoother texture.
The procedure generally involves the following steps:
- Your skin will need to be prepared before starting the procedure of laser skin resurfacing. This also involves a series of treatments that are done before the procedure. The main purpose is to increase the tolerance of your skin to the professional treatment. It can also decrease the chances of side effects.
- On the day of procedure, your doctor will be applying a topical anesthetic to the area targeted for the treatment. This would also help to reduce any sort of pain. Your doctor may also suggest a pain killer or a sedative.
- Next, the skin will be cleansed for the purpose of removing any sort of excess dirt, oil as well as the bacteria.
- Your doctor will then begin the treatment by using selected laser
- Finally, your doctor will be dressing the treatment area in wraps in order to protect the skin by the end of the procedure.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
Like with every cosmetic procedure, laser skin resurfacing also pose the risks as well as side effects.
These mostly include:
By following your doctor’s pre-care and post-care instructions, you may reduce your risk for these types of complications. Depending on your medical history, you may be prescribed a precautionary antibiotic or antiviral medication.
Taking acne medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), may increase your risk for scars. You should talk to your dermatologist about any medical conditions you have, as well as all medications you take — including OTCs. Aspirin, for example, can affect post-laser treatment recovery by increasing your bleeding risk.
ABCS recommends that you quit smoking for at least two weeks prior to this procedure. Smoking after laser resurfacing can also increase your risk for side effects.
What to Expect from Aftercare and Recovery
Although some dermatologic surgeons perform laser resurfacing, these procedures aren’t classified as surgeries. Hence, it is not a plastic surgery. You can leave your doctor’s office immediately following the procedure.
Still, downtime and recovery are necessary to make sure your skin heals properly. This reduces your risk for side effects and helps you achieve the desired results.
Side Effects and Duration
Healing usually takes between 3 and 10 days. As a general rule, the bigger the treatment area and the deeper the laser, the longer the recovery time. Recovery from ablative laser treatment, for example, may take up to three weeks.
During recovery, your skin may be extremely red and scab over. Slight peeling will occur. You can use ice packs to help reduce any swelling.
While you don’t need to be at home during the entire recovery process, you’ll want to avoid known areas of germs — such as the gym — that could increase your risk of infection.
You’ll also need to adjust your daily skin care routine. According to the ASPS, you’ll need to clean the treated area two to five times per day. Instead of your usual cleanser, you’ll use a saline or vinegar-based solution recommended by your doctor.
You’ll also need to use new dressings to ensure your skin stays clean.
A daily moisturizer can also help with the healing process, but be sure to run this by your doctor first.
Your skin may be sun sensitive for up to one year following each laser skin resurfacing procedure. Wearing sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 can help reduce your risk for sunburn and sun damage.
You should apply sunscreen every morning (even when it’s cloudy) to protect your skin. Make sure to reapply as needed throughout the day.
What to Expect from the Results?
Non-ablative laser treatments don’t pose as great of a risk for side effects, but you may need multiple treatments to achieve your desired results. Ablative lasers, on the other hand, may correct your concerns in one treatment.
Individual results vary based on the extent of the initial concerns being treated. You can expect your results to last for several years once you’re done with your treatment sessions. However, the results aren’t permanent. You may need to repeat the procedure at some point.
Choosing Your Dermatologist
Given the delicate nature of this procedure, it’s important to work with an experienced dermatologist. Rather than settling on the first dermatologist you find, you might consider interviewing a few different candidates.
Before booking a laser skin treatment, ask your dermatologist the following questions:
- What experience do you have with laser skin resurfacing?
- What is your experience with my skin tone and specific skin concerns?
- Do you have a portfolio with before-and-after pictures from your clients?
- How might my health affect the results? Is there anything I need to do ahead of time?
- What can I expect during recovery?
- How many sessions do you think I will need?
It’s also important to find a dermatologist who is board-certified. This certification may be with the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Board certification ensures that you are working with a dermatologist who has extensive training and practice.
Why Choose REPC?
We at REPC ensure to use the latest technology as well as equipment for the purpose of treating each skin type.
We also ensure to create individualized plans for our customers depending on their needs.
If you want to avail the finest services of laser treatments, don’t forget to book an appointment with us and avail the services of hair removal, carbon peeling as well as tattoo removal.
For more information about the laser treatments and how they work, don’t forget to check our blog posts covering: