Laser Skin Resurfacing
Today you have a variety of options when it comes to rejuvenating your appearance. One of the newest is Laser Skin Resurfacing, which can reduce facial wrinkles, scars, and blemishes. Newer laser technologies give Spa Greystone's Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Certified Laser Technicians a new level of control in laser surfacing, permitting extreme precision even in delicate areas.
Laser Skin Resurfacing is also known as a laser peel, laser vaporization, or lasabrasion. The laser is used to send short, concentrated, pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. This removes unwanted, damaged skin in a very precise manner one layer at a time. This targeted approach means fewer problems with hypopigmentation, or a lightening of skin for procedures such as laser acne scar removal.
The laser beam used in laser resurfacing removes the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis, while simultaneously heating the underlying skin, called the dermis. This action works to stimulate the growth of new collagen fibers. As the treated area heals, the new skin that forms is smoother and firmer.
Laser resurfacing can improve minor facial flaws, such as:
Fine lines or wrinkles around or under your eyes, forehead, or mouth
Scars from acne or chickenpox
Non-responsive skin after a facelift
Aged or sun-damaged skin
Improve your complexion if you have yellowish or grayish skin tones
Birthmarks such as linear epidermal nevi
Enlarged oil glands on the nose
Laser Resurfacing may not be the best choice if you have active acne, deep wrinkles, very dark skin, excessive or sagging skin.
Patients with darker skin tones have a greater risk of healing with darker pigmentation (hyperpigmentation). This may be minimized by the use of a bleaching agent after the procedure.
How Laser Resurfacing Works
For best results, you may be started on a series of skin treatments to prepare your skin for the laser. These treatments often begin 6 weeks or more prior to your scheduled procedure. Skin treatments are customized for your skin type to minimize complications and get the best results.
Cosmetic laser resurfacing is usually done on an outpatient basis and takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours. After Laser Skin Resurfacing is completed, a specialized dressing is applied to protect the treated tissues. Further dressing changes or specialized topical treatments may be needed to enhance healing.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Risks & Recovery
Skin treated with Laser Skin Resurfacing may react in different ways, but most times it feels like a mild sunburn. You will have some redness, swelling and may experience itching or stinging for a few days after the procedure.
Depending on the treatment, some people may have what looks like a severe sunburn. The skin will be raw, oozing and may even blister. A yellow liquid may ooze from treated areas to form a crust. Do not scratch or pick at crusts because this can cause scarring.
To achieve an optimum look, follow these steps as part of your recovery: Clean the treated areas two to five times a day with saline or a diluted vinegar solution as directed. Apply protective skin care treatments recommended to help your skin heal. Use sunscreen every day after healing, particularly one that's formulated for sensitive, rejuvenated facial skin. We will help you select the correct type of sunscreen to best protect the treated areas. If directed, use a liberal amount of moisturizer each day on your new skin.
Your skin will usually become dry and peel about 5 days to a week after laser resurfacing. Afterward, the new, rejuvenated skin will be pink but gradually lighten over 2 to 3 months. It may take up to a year for the pinkness to go away. It is very important to protect your skin during this time of healing. Redness tends to last longer in blondes and redheads.
You may resume application of Retin-A and/or glycolic acid products around 6 weeks after Laser Skin Resurfacing or as directed.
Complications of laser resurfacing can include: Acne flares (Your doctor will recommend a treatment regimen.) Bacterial infection (Your doctor may recommend taking an antibiotic prior to the surgery and afterwards.) Cold sore reactivation (This may occur if you have laser resurfacing around your mouth. Be sure to tell your doctor about your history of cold sores (herpes). You can prevent the reactivation by taking an antiviral medication before and after the procedure.) Hyperpigmentation (It's possible that the treated area can become darker in tone. Your physician may recommend a bleaching solution. More rarely you may have hypopigmentation, a lightening of the skin.) Milia (These small white bumps may appear during healing. They can be removed by gentle cleansing with a washcloth.) Prolonged redness (For some people, the redness just takes longer to disappear.) Scarring (This is rare but possible.) Swelling (If you are having Laser Skin Resurfacing around your eyes, your doctor may prescribe oral steroids to manage this swelling.)
Tips for an easier recovery: Elevate your head with an extra pillow at night. Use an ice pack during the first day or two to ease swelling and discomfort. Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke will complicate the healing process.
Recovery times will vary depending on your treatment. The recovery for Erbium Laser Resurfacing is usually a full week.
Once your treated areas have healed, makeup may be used to camouflage the pink or red skin. Try a green-based makeup to neutralize the red color. Be sure to opt for an oil-free makeup.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Results
It's possible that your skin may stay red or pink for up to several months after Laser Skin Resurfacing. You may also be extra sensitive to sunlight for up to a year. Minimize sun exposure and use sunscreen liberally each day.
Some people who have laser resurfacing may see an immediate difference in the treated skin. That will continue to improve for up to a year. While the effects of laser resurfacing can last for many years, the normal aging process means that wrinkles and expression lines will reoccur. You may repeat laser resurfacing as necessary.