What is Laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing is a process used to reduce facial blemishes, wrinkles due to excess sun exposure and acne scars that plastic surgeons can now use with extreme precision and greater control than ever before.
This surgical procedure is also known as lasabrasion, laser vaporization and laser peel.
How skin resurfacing works
The surgeon uses the laser to transmit pulsating beams of light to the skin and remove excessive, damaged skin layer by layer.
With this new approach, problems with lightening of the skin, which can occur with acne scars, are reduced significantly.
The laser beam used in the process removes the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and at the same time, it heats the dermis, the underlying skin.
Plastic surgeons use this approach to stimulate the growth of additional collagen fibers, and when the affected area has healed, the new skin is both firmer and smoother.
These high-energy, amplified light waves have the capability of vaporizing those two layers of skin instantly with virtually no trauma to the surrounding area and no bleeding as well.
Recovering from laser skin resurfacing
The recuperation period for patients following the procedure varies widely, and it is usually related to the complexity of the treatment they have received. To begin, your plastic surgeon may recommend that you use a moisturizer and gently cleanse the skin several times every day. Also, if the situation calls for it, your doctor will apply a silicone mask to the treated area that will slowly separate as the skin underneath as it heals.
The type of post-procedure treatment to be used will be chosen for you during your initial consultation, and in most cases, patients can continue to wear makeup in 10 to14 days. However, note that some pinkness or redness may still be apparent for several months after you have the procedure.
Types of Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedures
If you’ve tried countless varieties of creams, lotions and mineral makeup to hide or smooth out your wrinkles, laser skin resurfacing procedures offer you a better way. If you’re suffering from sun damage, have ugly stretch marks, unsightly spider veins, acne scars or a number of other skin issues, resurfacing is a laser treatment that can help improve the appearance of your skin.
Ablative Laser Resurfacing
An ablative laser treatment was the first laser method used. Considered a better alternative to sanding or chemical peels, this treatment was designed to fix birthmarks, warts, wrinkles, scars and other unsightly skin conditions. All skin treatments work by removing the skin to pave the way for new growth, but this procedure burned the skin away. The resultant heat and coagulation carried the disadvantage of scarring and loss of skin color. In addition to pain that required mandatory anesthesia, recovery was lengthy. Often, it took months to heal.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing
The fractional method of laser skin resurfacing is a vast improvement over old CO2 lasers. Today, CO2 laser resurfacing is a non-ablative method that delivers several thousand short points of light to a specific area. The procedure zeros in on a fraction of the damaged skin so that the healthy areas are not disturbed or injured. This allows the treated area to heal faster and is less risky. It is generally used to improve scars and wrinkles or more benign skin conditions such as birthmarks and warts. Recovery time for this method is about two weeks.
Erbium Laser Resurfacing
In addition to wrinkles and scars, this type of laser skin resurfacing method can improve the color and texture of hands, chest or neck. An Erbium laser also removes brown spots as well as eliminates varicose and spider veins. It delivers intense pulses of light that are absorbed by skin cells. This causes the cell to vaporize. Most patients only feel a minimum of discomfort. While every patient heals at a different rate, recovery time with an Erbium laser is much quicker, usually about a week.