Laser Skin Resurfacing
Over time, the texture of our skin changes in many ways. Fine wrinkles, crepe-like eyelid skin and sunspots are telltale stigmata of aging. Adding insult to injury, over the years we also accrue scars from acne and trauma as well. Laser resurfacing is an effective treatment for such issues. While surgeries such as facelift address “big things” such as sags, bulges, and loose skin, laser resurfacing serves as a potent tool to address the fine textural issues. All in all, laser resurfacing is the ultimate “reset button” for facial skin.
How does laser resurfacing work?
The many lasers available target different molecules within our cells, hence making them precise tools for specific uses. For instance, resurfacing lasers such as Carbon Dioxide and Erbium lasers target water within our cells. This leads to a vaporization of water which leads to targeted destruction of the damaged skin cells causing wrinkles, pigmentation anomalies and scars. In my practice, an Erbium laser is used considering it is absorbed nearly 12 times better by the target tissue. This leads to considerably less thermal spread compared to the Carbon Dioxide laser, hence resulting in an improved safety profile and a more expeditious recovery. Many patients who come to see me have already undergone multiple procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels or fractionated laser peels. Very often, multiple, costly treatments are needed to achieve even a noticeable result. In my mind, an ideal treatment would offer safe, effective treatment in just a single session and deliver significant improvement. For facial rejuvenation, resurfacing lasers offer the advantage of greater precision and considerably fewer complications (e.g. thermal injury, scarring, pigmentation anomalies,etc.) compared to dermabrasion or chemical peels. Furthermore, deep resurfacing can offer far more noticeable improvement in one setting compared to the multiple treatments necessary with fractionated lasers, such as Fraxel.
What is the recovery like after laser resurfacing?
After resurfacing, the dead skin cells with slough for approximately 10 days. During this time, patients are to wash the face with a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil, four times a day followed by copious application of Vaseline afterwards. This regimen allows for
easier removal of the sloughing skin from the underlying bed of healing skin. After this stage of healing is complete, patients are to apply thick moisturizer such as Eucerin along with mineral based sunscreen. Patients may shower immediately after surgery. Application of makeup is permitted 10 days after surgery. Pinkness of the skin can last for up to 16 weeks, but this can easily be concealed with makeup. Patients are to avoid excessive sun exposure for 4-6 weeks after the procedure. Skin care products such as Retin-A may be resumed 4-6 weeks afterwards.