Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that uses lasers to create a new, smooth skin appearance. The laser “ablates”, or destroys, the outer layers of skin which have been damaged by age, sun, acne, wrinkles, or pigmentation problems or spots. The destruction of the older layers of skin prompts the body to generate a new layer of skin cells which are unaffected by the previous skin condition. Some lasers may be inappropriate for darker skin complexions.
Reasons for Considering Laser Skin Resurfacing:
Reduce or remove facial wrinkles, creases, and lines.
Improve sun-damaged skin.
Correct pigmentation problems and spots.
Effectively treat scars from acne, birthmarks, moles, and tattoos.
Tighten skin that has lost elasticity due to aging.
First, the face is cleansed of oils in order to prepare for the laser procedure, and an antibiotic ointment is applied. The laser is then used to ablate various layers of skin in a controlled manner until the appropriate depth of skin is reached. This procedure is commonly performed with a local anesthetic, with or without sedation.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Antibiotic cream and bandages are applied to the affected area immediately following surgery in order to aid with the healing process, to minimize swelling, and to control the risk of infection. The skin will be red and may ooze. Some discomfort should also be expected.
Any pain associated with the surgery can be treated with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions. Recovery time varies with the extent of the resurfacing and the number of procedures completed.