The Ins and Outs of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, uneven skin tone, and acne scars are common minor facial flaws. These imperfections are not only unsightly, but they also often affect one’s confidence. Fortunately, facial rejuvenation procedures like Marion skin resurfacing can help minimize the appearance of these facial flaws. 

What is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a facial rejuvenation procedure performed by a dermatologist or physician. It involves the use of laser energy to improve the skin’s appearance. Your dermatologist may recommend ablative lasers, depending on your needs.

An ablative laser removes the thin outer layer of skin and heats the dermis, stimulating collagen growth. Collagen is a natural protein in your body that improves skin firmness and texture. As the epidermis heals, the treated areas become smoother, tauter, and with no flaws.

Non-ablative lasers stimulate collagen growth, but this method is gentler than an ablative laser. The recovery tie after non-ablative laser resurfacing is also shorter. On the downside, you need multiple treatments to achieve the desired outcome, which is also less noticeable.

How safe is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing causes some side effects, but the side effects are milder and less likely with non-ablative methods than with ablative approaches. Common side effects include redness, swelling, pain, skin color changes, scarring, and infection.

What happens during laser skin resurfacing?

The resurfacing procedure may be done as an outpatient procedure. Before treatment, your provider will numb your skin with medication. You might need sedation if treatment is extensive, such as resurfacing your entire face.

Once the medication has taken effect, your provider directs intense light energy at your skin. The laser energy destroys your skin’s outer layer (epidermis) while heating the underlying skin, stimulating collagen production. Over time, this improves your skin tone and texture. Ablative laser resurfacing takes about 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the size of the area treated and the technique used. One treatment is usually enough for ablative laser resurfacing.

However, if you are undergoing non-ablative treatment, you will likely need subsequent session schedules over weeks or months to achieve desired results.

What to expect after laser skin resurfacing

If you have had ablative laser resurfacing, the treated skin will be red, itchy, and swollen right after the procedure. Your provider will apply thick ointment to the treated skin and cover the area with a watertight dressing. Taking a pain reliever and using ice packs may help alleviate the pain. Usually, it takes about one or two weeks for new skin to cover the area, but full recovery takes at least a month. As your skin heals, avoid products that may irritate your face, including cosmetics. It is also vital to use sun protection after laser resurfacing and always. Avoid places or situations that increase your risk of infection, such as public whirlpools.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing requires a shorter recovery period since the treatment doesn’t cause much damage to your skin. Your skin may be swollen and inflamed for a few hours; you can use ice packs to relieve the discomfort. You can resume your normal activities and skin routine immediately.

If you have further questions about laser skin resurfacing, consult your provider at Marion Ob/Gyn Inc.