Laser Skin Resurfacing

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What is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a skin care procedure performed by dermatologists and physicians to help your skin look younger and healthier. 

The procedure removes skin layers using precise lasers. The new skin that forms under has better texture and appearance, giving a more youthful appearance.

There are many different types of lasers, and each have their specialties.  For example, CO2 lasers are used to get rid of deep wrinkles, scars, and warts.  Erbium lasers are used to treat wrinkles and finer lines.

Other types of lasers such as pulsed light, pulsed-dye lasers, and fractional lasers are used to treat skin conditions such as rosacea, spider veins, and acne scars.

Who should get laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing should be considered if you have skin care concerns that are not treatable with over the counter medication.

Laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat conditions such as:

  • Scars
  • Acne scars
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Warts
  • Age spots
  • Sagging skin
  • Crow’s feet

It is important to consider skin tone when deciding whether to use laser skin resurfacing.  Lighter skin tones often work well because there is a reduced risk of hyperpigmentation.

You are still able to use laser skin resurfacing even if you have a darker skin tone.  It is important to work with a trusted dermatologist or physician to determine the best laser to use for your skin tone.

It also best to have any laser resurfacing procedures done during the fall or winter, where there is a less of a change of prolonged sun exposure.

What first steps should I take if I’m interested in laser skin resurfacing?

The first step is to consult with a trusted dermatologist or physician to see if you are a good candidate.

Laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, so it’s not covered by medical insurance.

Costs vary between the types of lasers used, and the amount of sessions needed for effective treatment.

Costs can vary anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands.

Possible side effects and risks

Like many procedures, laser skin resurfacing does pose side effects.

Some effects include:

  • scars
  • redness
  • infection
  • bumps
  • rash
  • hyperpigmentation

It’s important to follow instructions from your doctor regarding pre and post treatment care.  This will help reduce the chances of side effects occurring.

What happens after the procedure?

You can leave your doctor’s office immediately following the laser skin resurfacing.

However, there is still a recovery period.  As mentioned it’s important to follow instructions from your doctor post treatment to avoid the risk of side effects.

Scars usually take a week or more to heal.  Generally, the more intense the laser treatment, the longer the recovery time. 

It may take up to three weeks for scars to heal from treatments involving erbium or CO2 lasers.

Once the scar has healed, it’s important to maintain a regular habit of sun protection.  Your doctor will provide you with specific information, but as a general rule, wear a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen whenever going out to reduce the risk of sun damage.

What kind of results should I expect?

Results will vary based on a number of factors.  Typically, a successful treatment will last for several years.  However, results are not permanent.  You may need to receive another treatment.

How to find the right dermatologist/plastic surgeon

It’s important to work with a trusted doctor who is board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery for laser skin resurfacing.

Here’s are some possible questions you may ask your doctor:

  • How much experience do you have with laser skin resurfacing?
  • What is your experience with my skin tone, and have you treated my condition before?
  • Do you have before and after pictures of clients for the procedure I am interested in getting?
  • What are possible side effects?
  • What does the recovery process look like?
  • How many sessions will I need for this treatment?

Laser skin resurfacing can be a useful tool in treating skin conditions, however, it’s important to find the right treatment and doctor for your condition.

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