What is laser resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is a non-surgical treatment designed to address the effects of sun exposure and aging on the texture, color, and overall quality of the skin. There are two kinds of resurfacing lasers – ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers utilize high-intensity light in rapid pulses to remove the damaged top layers of skin, revealing smoother skin with less wrinkles and a more even skin tone. Non-ablative lasers do not remove skin and are therefore less invasive. These lasers are designed to reach the deeper layers of skin, stimulating collagen growth and tightening skin. For this reason, the results of non-ablative resurfacing are not as immediately apparent as ablative resurfacing options. There are a wide variety of laser resurfacing devices and these devices change with developments in technology – Center for Dermatology & Plastic Surgery maintains various state-of-the-art lasers in order to address all of your skin needs. What can I expect from a laser resurfacing treatment?
Laser resurfacing treatments are performed at varying depths and some people require more treatments than others. In general, laser resurfacing treatments successfully improve wrinkles, skin laxity, hyper-pigmentation due to sun damage, and certain kinds of scars.
Will it hurt?
While some very mild laser resurfacing treatments cause no discomfort at all most cause a stinging or burning sensation of varying degrees. The greater the depth of the treatment, the greater the likelihood that you will experience discomfort. The depth of the treatment will depend on your skin type and what you are seeking to address – fine lines, course wrinkling, acne scarring, sun damage. Various forms of anesthesia are utilized to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Additionally, a board certified plastic surgeon may recommend a combination of treatments to address your unique skin needs.
What can I expect in terms of down time?
Like the previous question, the down time for laser resurfacing depends on the depth of the treatment required. Many resurfacing treatments will result in mild to moderate redness or swelling that resolves in a few days. Other more penetrating treatments can result in a week or more where the skin is raw, weeping, and requires frequent wound care. After the skin is healed, redness may be present for several more weeks, but this is generally easily concealed with light make-up.
Click here to view an animation explaining Laser Resurfacing.
Click here to view more photos of the Laser Resurfacing Procedure.