Aging, acne, and sun exposure are prime factors that leave our face with blotches, scars, wrinkles, and fine lines. There are many skin treatments and procedures that can help lessen our skin worries and one of them is laser skin resurfacing.
What is laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing is a skincare procedure that uses lasers to help improve skin texture and appearance. It is a proven method that reduced wrinkles, age spots, and acne scars and removes damaged skin, all the while stimulating the healthy skin layers and encouraging the production of collagen. This results in the tightening of the skin, balanced skin tone, and a more youthful appearance.
Depending on your needs, dermatologists will recommend either ablative or non-ablative lasers.
Ablative lasers include the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) to get rid of scars, warts, and deep wrinkles and Erbium for finer lines, wrinkles, and other superficial skin issues. Either way, they remove the skin’s outside layers.
On the other hand, non-ablative laser treatments don’t remove any skin layers. These kinds of laser procedures include pulsed light, pulsed-dye lasers, and fractional lasers and may be used for rosacea, spider veins, and acne-related skin issues.
Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing
There is a reason why people are booking laser skin resurfacing treatments left and right. This is because it gives quality results and is an excellent option for smoother and firmer skin.
Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles are due to aging and might get very apparent, especially around the mouth and eyes. Laser skin resurfacing is a great treatment that targets these concerns, softening them and ridding the obvious signs of aging. This results in younger, healthier, and smoother skin.
Treat brown spots, redness, and discoloration
Too much sun exposure, aging, and skin pigmentation problems can lead to spots and discoloration. Some people use this treatment to eliminate these problems for an even and balanced skin tone. It is also used to treat freckles.
Tighten skin and encourage collagen production
Skin aging can cause your skin to lose its elasticity and this results in saggy, crinkled, and leathery-looking skin. Laser skin resurfacing encourages collagen production and absorption and enhances skin tone, resulting in more youthful skin. The effect is immediately noticeable and even continues to improve over time.
Treat acne, traumatic, and surgical scars
Scars are agitating things to try and cover and leave the skin marked and uneven. They can affect our appearance and weaken our self-confidence. This treatment is often used to minimize the appearance and visibility of scars. Though the results vary, some cases prove that scars can be completely removed.
Reduces enlarged pores
Enlarged pores are due to two things: genetics and age. They make your skin uneven and bumpy and laser skin resurfacing treatments can make these appear significantly smaller, resulting in smoother and more even skin. The effects are usually long-lasting.
Preparation and What to Expect During and After the Treatment
If you are planning on laser skin resurfacing, the first thing you need to do is to consult a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. They’ll be able to tell you if you are fit for the treatment.
Preparing for the procedure
You need to inform them if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth since laser skin resurfacing can trigger breakouts. But this doesn’t mean you are not allowed to undergo the procedure. The doctor might prescribe an antibiotic medication to prevent bacterial infections.
If it’s no problem, your doctor will usually ask you to avoid taking medications or supplements, like aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E, 10 days before the procedure. This is so to avoid clotting. If smoke, it is recommended to stop for at least two before and after the treatment since this can prolong healing.
During the procedure
After your preparation and the doctor had scheduled you for laser skin resurfacing, here are a few things to expect during and after the procedure.
The treatment is done by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. It is an outpatient procedure so you don’t need to stay overnight at the clinic.
The result of your assessment will show where the affected areas will be. It could be around your eyes, mouth, forehead, or even your entire face. For smaller areas, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic and might also sedate you. If your whole face is being treated, general anesthesia is used.
Treating certain parts of the face might only take roughly 30 to 45 minutes but a full-face treatment can take up to two hours.
After the procedure
After the laser skin resurfacing procedure, your doctor will bandage the treated areas and will require you to clean them 4 to 5 times a day and apply ointment to prevent scabs.
You might notice swelling but in laser skin resurfacing, this is considered normal. You might be prescribed steroids to manage swelling around the eyes and sleeping on an extra pillow at night can also ease swelling.
12 to 72 hours following the treatment, itching and stinging might be felt and 5 to 7 days after, you’ll notice your skin become dry and will start to peel.
Healing time depends on the problem treated but it typically takes 10 to 21 days. Once the skin heals, you’ll be allowed to wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness.
It is also important to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen after your surgery. Broad-spectrum sunscreen filters out UVA and UVB and in turn protects your skin from harmful sun rays. You should also limit your time in the sun, wear protective clothing and reapply your sunscreen every two hours, especially when you are out.
Don’t forget to moisturize your new skin well. You can start using Retin A or glycolic acid products again after 6 weeks or when your doctor allows you to.
Cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Since laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by medical insurance.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), non-ablative laser treatments cost about $1,031 per session and ablative treatments are about $2,330 per session.
Overall costs depend on how many sessions you might need and which areas are being treated. Take note that the cost will greatly vary depending on the experience of your doctor and even the location. You’ll likely need multiple sessions to achieve your desired results.