Laser resurfacing of skin is
a popular cosmetic procedure that can help rejuvenate the
skin and reduce the effects of the sun, aging, and some facial
The technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams
of light at irregular skin. Laser skin resurfacing removes
skin very precisely, layer by layer. CO2 Laser Resurfacing
has been used for years to treat different skin conditions
including wrinkles, scars, warts, birthmarks etc.
During laser skin resurfacing, the laser is used to remove
layers of damaged and wrinkled skin so that new, smoother,
and more vibrant looking skin can form. Depending on the type
of laser and amount of surface skin removed, you may also
see a significant improvement in the tightness and firmness
of the skin.
Your doctor will begin with a complete medical history and
will examine your face, both the skin and underlying bone.
He/she may also take photos, give you specific instructions
to follow, that may include instructions for pre-treating
your skin before the operation.
Your doctor will determine if laser resurfacing - or another
form of skin resurfacing - is right for you. This decision
may depend largely on your skin type and color, since laser
resurfacing can cause uneven skin tone formation on people
with darker skin tones.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies you have (to
foods, drugs, environmental elements), if you have been exposed
to significant amounts of radiation, if you have a history
of unusual scarring, or if you have had cold sores around
the mouth (like herpes or shingles). Also tell your doctor
if you have had previous plastic surgery, if you smoke, or
if you take any drugs or medications, including aspirin.
Laser resurfacing generally removes most of the fine wrinkles
and imperfections in the treated area, but natural facial
movements and expressions eventually cause some of the lines
to reappear. Like most other methods of skin resurfacing,
laser treatments may be repeated to maintain the desired results.
Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing, Please Note
white bumps [Milia], may appear in the laser-treated areas
during healing. These may be removed by gentle cleansing
with a washcloth.
(increased pigmentation), and hypopigmentation (decreased
skin pigmentation), may result in the laser-treated areas.
In general, the hyperpigmented areas may occur.
of a cold sore may occur, especially after laser skin resurfacing
around the mouth. You can prevent this by asking your doctor
for an antiviral medication, which you can begin taking
before your surgery and continue taking seven to 10 days
after laser resurfacing.
can also prevent bacterial infections by taking an antibiotic
prior to the surgery and continuing for seven to 10 days
should expect swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Ask
your doctor about what you can do to lessen this effect.
are encouraged to sleep on an extra pillow at night to help
reduce the swelling after laser resurfacing. Ice pack application
is also helpful in the first 24-48 hours.
after laser skin resurfacing, although unusual, may occur
in laser-treated areas.
of smoking is highly recommended because smoking is known
to have harmful effects on the healing process.
Care of Skin After Laser Resurfacing, Important :
It's important to remember that skin treated with laser
resurfacing may react in different ways.
Most commonly, you may feel like you have moderate sunburn.
There will be swelling and redness of the skin. You may experience
itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure.
Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will
become dry and peel.
New skin will form after the treated area has been peeled.
This skin will at first appear pink. It should begin to gradually
lighten for up to a year after treatment. Your doctor will
not consider retreating the area until the area is completely
Daily sunscreen application is necessary after healing to
protect the newly laser-resurfaced skin. A "broad-spectrum"
sunscreen, which screens both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet
A rays, is recommended. A sunscreen specifically formulated
for use on the face should be chosen, with at least a sun
protection factor (SPF) of 15.
Liberal moisturizer application is also recommended after
healing. Patients may resume application of Retin-A and/or
glycolic acid products around six weeks after laser resurfacing
or as directed by their physician