Laser skin resurfacing is a choice that every patient searching for answers to their skin-related issues should consider. In consultation with a doctor, this procedure works to give skin a new look after damage or unwanted changes; it also works to address more specific issues. Find out about this increasingly popular course of treatment from Dr. Mick Singh and how it affects patients before as well as after it’s done.
There are ablative and non-ablative lasers that are used for skin resurfacing. Ablative lasers take off the layers of the skin, while non-ablative ones do not. The CO2 or carbon laser and the Erbium are two types of ablative lasers that have become a part of the process. A CO2 laser is used for treating deep skin problems like wrinkles or scars, Erbium lasers are more for fine lines. Recovery from Erbium lasers can be relatively faster than CO2 procedures and side effects like redness or swelling are less over time.
Non-ablative lasers just go through the skin while not removing any layers. These are known as pulse-dye, pulsed light, and fractional lasers; these selections help with conditions such as redness, spider veins, sun damage, and acne. There is no recovery time for the non-ablative lasers, with ablative laser treatments one appointment may be enough while non-ablative treatments may require several appointments.
The Procedure Itself
Laser skin resurfacing is done as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office. The doctor will start off by making this as painless as possible. For some lasers, that will require only anesthetic cream. With other lasers like CO2 there may be the need for sedation or anesthesia. The area that is being treated is cleaned before the procedure begins. Smaller sections that are treated can take up to 40 minutes while a larger section like the whole face is around two hours. When finished with the laser, the doctor will apply bandages to the treated area.
After Procedure Care
It is important to take care of the skin treated during the procedure. There will be swelling, and redness; the former is often treated with an ice pack that uses cooling to bring down any bulges. After 24 hours, the skin will need to be cleaned two to five times a day; the cleanser is one the doctor has suggested like saline. Apply cream to the area to promote healing, but keep it from getting a scab. There will be peeling, new bandages can be put on the treated section of skin to prevent additional peeling as well as infections from occurring. Sunscreen is also suggested for at least a year after laser resurfacing.
Complications To Consider
There is always the possibility of complications when undergoing a medical procedure, some of the most seen by doctors are scarring, infection, and changes in pigmentation. If a person smokes they are more likely to experience some complications with more intensity. The doctor can decide to prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection, but it can still be painful while the infection dies down. Pigmentation can make the skin lighter or darker, people with darker skin tones sometimes report changes towards lighter skin pigments.