As we age, our skin begins to change as a result of several different life factors. The natural collagen within the skin begins to diminish and skin may sag and droop. Smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, nutrition and more can also lead to the development of wrinkles and fine lines within the skin. Other skin conditions such as acne, brown spots and chicken pox can leave unattractive blemishes on the skin.
Laser skin resurfacing is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage and other skin irregularities. It offers patients many advantages over traditional resurfacing procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, as it practically eliminates side effects such as discomfort, bleeding and bruising.
Although laser skin resurfacing using the same basic principles of other procedures and treats aging, damaged skin by removing a layer of skin, it does so through a noninvasive procedure that uses laser energy to remove as much skin as needed. This allows for a much deeper removal through more precise and less invasive techniques.
Laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat:
- Sun damage
- Crow's feet
- Brown spots
- Precancerous growths
- Chicken pox scars
- Superficial facial scars
While this procedure may be most commonly performed to treat the effects of aging, it can be performed on patients of any age who are looking to restore their skin to a smooth, clear complexion free of blemishes and other imperfections.
During the laser skin resurfacing procedure, the laser energy is used to remove layers of damaged skin to leave the treated area smoother and more even through short pulses of light energy that are precisely delivered to the area. The laser is moved over the targeted area multiple times until imperfections are no longer visible and a smooth layer of skin is left. It also heats deeper layers of the skin to provide long-lasting results.
Once the damaged layers of skin have been removed, a natural dressing forms over the skin to protect it as new skin develops. The dressing peels off after three to four days as collagen growth is stimulated and imperfections fade away. Collagen growth continues for four to six weeks after treatment.
The laser energy causes minimal heat damage to the surrounding structures.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and uses local anesthesia to help minimize discomfort. The entire procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes to perform, depending on the size and condition of the treated area. Most patients only require one or two treatment sessions in order to achieve their desired results.
Recovery and Results
After laser skin resurfacing, patients may experience mild swelling and discomfort for a few days. These symptoms can be controlled with ice packs and medication prescribed by your doctor. Patients will also experience redness that gradually diminishes as the skin heals. While most patients can return to work and other normal activities right after treatment, redness may persist for a few days. If you are worried about the appearance of your skin after laser resurfacing, patients are advised to schedule their treatment at least five days before any important social events.
The results of the laser procedure may take months to fully appear, after all signs of redness have diminished. Although the results are long-lasting, they are not permanent. The skin will still be subjected to the natural effects of aging, although your skin will appear younger and smoother than if you had never had any treatment at all.
Although laser skin resurfacing is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any type of procedure. Some of these risks may include scarring, infection, abnormal healing, allergic reactions or skin pigmentation. However, these risks are considered rare, and most patients undergo these procedures with no major complications.
If you are interested in learning more about laser skin resurfacing, please call us today to schedule a consultation.