The environment we live in can cause damage to our skin, with sun damage and environmental pollution leading to irregular pigmentation and wrinkles. Laser resurfacing can help to reduce wrinkles on facial areas like around the mouth and the eyes, as well as areas of the body like the neck, decollete and hands. Laser skin treatment can not only eliminate wrinkles, but can also improve scars, actinic keratoses, and solar spots.
How it Works
Laser skin resurfacing is a painless process that utilizes beams of light. The laser directs pulsating beams of light onto the surface of the skin, removing the damaged layers. There are two kinds of lasers that are often used, erbium and carbon dioxide, both of which remove the damaged skin cells at the surface level by vaporizing them.
The erbium method of laser resurfacing is often used to remove deep wrinkles and lines on the face and other areas of the body. Patients may experience a minor burning sensation during treatment. Otherwise, this method generally involves few side effects. There may be some bruising, redness, and swelling, but most patients are able to return to normal activities after one to two weeks. The erbium laser is often recommended for individuals with dark skin tones.
The carbon dioxide method of laser resurfacing can treat many conditions including scars, warts, large oil glands, wrinkles, and many other skin issues. The laser uses a very short ultrapulse light energy that is scanned across the thin layers of the skin. The heat damage of this method is very minimal and recovery is approximately two weeks.
What to Expect
Laser skin resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure. Individual areas or the entire face may be treated. A local anesthetic will be utilized if only a few small areas are being resurfaced. For the entire face, the patient may also be sedated. The resurfacing process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete depending on the size of the treatment area. After the resurfacing procedure is completed, the treated areas will be cleaned and protected with a thin layer of petrolatum like jelly. They will need to be cleaned on a daily basis during the first twenty-four hours to few days after treatment with a special solution depending on the extent of resurfacing. Swelling may occur after resurfacing and this is normal. Using ice packs during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours can greatly decrease the amount of swelling that may occur. Elevating the areas can also help. Steroids can be prescribed to assist in the healing process if swelling is severe. Feeling itchy after the procedure is a normal sign of healing. This can occur within the first twelve hours. The skin may eventually begin to peel and will stop as healing continues.
Laser resurfacing can be utilized in conjunction with other procedures which can provide optimal results for patients. The procedure is often considered cosmetic and may not be covered by insurance. The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the different areas of the body that are being treated.
If you’re interested in laser skin resurfacing, contact renowned Miami dermatologists Drs. Diane Walder and Stacy Chimento at 305-866-2177.