Laser resurfacing (also known as laser skin treatment and laser skin resurfacing) is a cosmetic surgery procedure aimed to rejuvenate and renew facial skin. Ablative lasers are used to vaporize the outer layers of the skin, enabling new cells to rebuild without blemishes. Lasers help to remove deep wrinkles, birth marks, sun damage, scars, acne scarring and to improve skin quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before treatment, the doctor will most likely give you a local anaesthetic, perhaps with sedation or a light general anesthetic. Your skin will be cleaned and treated with antiseptic. Your eyes and hair are covered up. Once your face is prepared, the surgeon passes the laser over your skin, vaporizing fine layers of skin cells and water. You might hear a slight crackling as the water is vaporized. Deeper wrinkles and blemishes may require the surgeon to go over the skin two to three times.
Types of Laser Resurfacing
The two most common types of lasers are the carbon dioxide laser or the erbium:YAG laser. The Q-switched ruby laser (QSRL) is only used to target problem areas rather than the whole face. The carbon dioxide laser is more powerful and can give a greater effect. However, because it’s more invasive, this method is more prone to risks and complications. Laser skin treatment using a carbon dioxide laser needs to be carried out by an experienced specialist.
The erbium:YAG laser is less invasive and in turn the improvement is not so dramatic. However, it’s a safer option with lower risk of complications. To get the benefits of both techniques, some surgeons combine these two lasers in the one procedure.
Laser Resurfacing Recovery
After the treatment your face may have dressings. Some surgeons prefer to leave the facial skin exposed. Recovery after laser skin treatment is not very pleasant. You will look and feel like you’re severely sunburnt. You will most likely have swelling, redness, oozing and crusting. You may be prescribed pain killers.
Aftercare involves lots of moisturizing and cleaning. You’ll need to do this every couple of hours for the first day or two. It’s important to maintain moisture to keep the wound from drying out. This also aids the skin’s natural healing process.
At first you will be given an ointment. After a while, you’ll be able to apply light moisturizer and sunscreen. You’ll be required to wear sun screen every day and at least for three months (or if possible forever) you should avoid exposing your skin directly in the sun for extended periods.
Even though you may be itchy and crusting, you must avoid scratching or picking at your face. Your doctor will remove crusting with saline (salt water) at your follow up visits. Don’t attempt this yourself.
It takes about a week or two for your skin to heal. However, the redness will remain for about six to eight weeks. You should be able to return to work after about two weeks. The results from your laser skin treatment won’t be noticeable until about three months after the resurfacing.
Laser Resurfacing Risk
Laser Skin Treatment does carry risks and complications, which include:
- Infection – the risk is highest immediately after laser resurfacing, when the skin is healing. Keeping up your hygiene should avoid an infection.
- Milia – these are blisters and cysts which can form during the healing process. They eventually disappear after several months.
- Scarring – this complication can be reduced by properly maintaining your skin after treatment. The deeper the treatment, the higher the risk of developing scars.
- Hyperpigmentation – these are brown patches which can occur after laser resurfacing. They can be prevented with a high-factor sunscreen. If you develop hyperpigmentation the patches can be treated with bleaching creams.
- Hypopigmentation –occurs more so with the carbon dioxide laser. It causes the skin to lose pigmentation, but is a rare complication.
- Redness – your face will be red for about two months. It can take longer to subside, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Hypersensitivity – another rare complication. People with sensitive skins can be left even more sensitive after laser skin treatment.
Looking for Laser Resurfacing near you?
Melbourne Laser Resurfacing, Brisbane Laser Resurfacing, Gold Coast Laser Resurfacing, Sunshine Coast Laser Resurfacing, Perth Laser Resurfacing, Adelaide Laser Resurfacing, Canberra Laser Resurfacing, Tasmania Laser Resurfacing, Sydney Laser Resurfacing.