How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?

Laser skin resurfacing is a facial rejuvenation procedure that helps improve your skin texture. A dermatologist or medical provider uses specific types of lasers to treat your dermatological concerns. They may use ablative lasers to get rid of scars and deep wrinkles by removing the surface layers of the skin. They may also opt for non-ablative laser for conditions such as rosacea and acne. Non-ablative laser is less invasive and requires less recovery, but the ablative laser may be more effective for your needs. Both types of laser resurfacing stimulate the body’s natural production of collagen, which helps your skin stay elastic and smooth.

What Can Laser Skin Resurfacing Treat?

This treatment can help improve a variety of skin conditions, including acne scars, sun spots, and uneven tone. It is particularly effective for various aging signs such as fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.

Your doctor will conduct a detailed review of your medical history, current medication, and skin concerns to determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure and what type of laser is appropriate for you.

Factors that can prevent laser resurfacing include:

  • Isotretinoin (acne medication)
  • Active acne
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Darker skin tone
  • Excessive sagging skin
  • Easy scarring
  • Cold sores or herpes virus
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding

What Happens During a Treatment?

Before the day of the procedure, you will have received various treatments to prepare your skin for optimal results. Laser resurfacing is usually an outpatient procedure, and your health provider will number the targeted areas. If the session only focuses on small parts of your face, it should take 30 to 45 minutes. If your doctor is treating your whole face, they may sedate you, and the appointment can last up to two hours.

Your doctor cleanses the skin to remove any excess oil, impurity, and bacteria. When they use the laser, they move it slowly across the treated area. Your provider will finally bandage the targeted skin to protect it for the next 24 hours.

What Can I Expect for Recovery and Results?

Following your doctor’s pre- and post-care instructions, including how to tweak your daily skincare routine, is the best way to ensure safe and satisfying results. Twenty-four hours after the procedure, you will need to remove the bandages and start cleaning the treated area up to five times a day.

Common side effects of laser resurfacing include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching or rashes
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scars

Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen every day can have significant benefits for your healing and your skin may be more sensitive to sun exposure for several months. In certain cases, your physician may also prescribe antibiotics or steroids. Healing usually takes up to 10 days. If you had ablative laser treatment, you may need up to three weeks of recovery.

Ablative laser resurfacing may only require one treatment while the non-ablative type usually sees full results after several sessions. Maintenance follow-ups will likely occur in the future too.

Call West Coast Plastic Surgery Center today at (805) 978-8545 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment!

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