Medical Management

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing, which is also known as laser peeling, is an effective facial rejuvenation technique that can produce long-lasting results. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation anomalies, such as “age spots,” or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance.

Cosmetic laser skin resurfacing is a method for diminishing the appearance of imperfections on the skin’s surface. During the laser skin resurfacing procedure a laser is used to dissolve the molecular bonds of the damaged skin cells layer by layer until a smoother, more uniform skin appearance is achieved. The procedure may also be referred to as laser skin rejuvenation because of its anti-aging benefits, or laser peel because the damaged layers of skin are peeled away.

Laser skin resurfacing is appropriate for patients seeking treatment for discoloration, wrinkles, sun damage, acne marks, or other types of imperfections in skin appearance. The procedure does have limitations and individuals with severe scarring may need to use additional scar revision techniques to achieve the best possible results

Laser Types – CO2 Lasers

The CO2 laser is the highest intensity laser treatment currently available. After being treated with the CO2 laser, the surface of the skin appears tighter and smoother because the laser uses heat to restrict the collagen bands found in the lower dermis. The CO2 laser can eliminate or diminish the appearance of most wrinkles, scars, warts, and birthmarks. It has even been used to treat skin cancer in its earliest stages.

Laser Types – Erbium Lasers

Erbium lasers are able to remove thinner layers of skin than the more powerful, but less precise CO2 laser. Erbium lasers are often a better choice for patients with dark skin because there is less risk of permanent changes to skin pigmentation. With a shorter healing, they are also better for patients with generally healthy skin who wish to treat only minimal fine lines and wrinkles..

The Fraxel® laser skin resurfacing treatment is distinct from other laser rejuvenation treatments that use either the erbium or the CO2 laser. Because the Fraxel® laser procedure is non-invasive, there are few post-treatment side effects. There is virtually no skin tenderness or pain after undergoing treatment and no downtime is required after the procedure. It should be noted, however, that this is not a single session treatment. Improvements to the skin’s appearance will appear gradually over the course of weeks or months.

The laser skin resurfacing procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. During the laser peel, the patient is placed under local anesthesia and sedative medications, and the patient’s eyes are covered to protect them from the laser light. The length of the procedure depends upon the size of the area the patient wishes to have treated. A partial facial skin resurfacing can take as little as half an hour; a full resurfacing can take up to two hours.

As with any medical procedure, there are both cosmetic laser skin resurfacing risks and benefits. Some of the risks include infection, permanent changes to skin pigmentation, and laser scarring. Possible benefits to your skin include new collagen production and tighter, smoother skin, as well as a diminished appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin coloration, sun damage, scars, and other facial imperfections.

Laser skin resurfacing recovery and results vary depending upon the type of laser that is being used and the size of the area you wish to have treated. The most invasive treatments may produce enormous improvements, but may require an extended recovery time of multiple weeks. A gentler laser skin rejuvenation treatment may reduce the appearance of some imperfections and may require little or no downtime.

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