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Laser Skin Resurfacing: A Guide to Smooth, Radiant Skin

Laser skin resurfacing is a facial rejuvenation procedure to improve your skin’s appearance and treat minor flaws by leveraging the laser. It is an effective cosmetic treatment for addressing concerns such as acne scars, wrinkles, blemishes, uneven skin, and age spots- to enumerate but a few.  

This article will elaborate on various intricacies associated with laser skin tightening resurfacing treatment. So let’s have a closer look at it together.

Types of Laser:

Depending on your skin concern, the laser skin resurfacing treatment is done with either of the following two types of laser.

Ablative Laser:

The ablative laser removes the thin outer layer of your skin called the epidermis, heating the underlying skin(dermis). Consequently, it increases the production of collagen, which improves the texture of your skin and brings tightness and firmness to your skin. The treated area appears tighter and smoother as the epidermis regrows and heals.

Types of ablative laser therapy include Erbium lasers, Carbon Dioxide lasers, and combination systems.

CO2 Laser Resurfacing:

Carbon Dioxide treats warts, wrinkles, scars, and other skin conditions. CO2 laser resurfacing delivers very short pulsed light energy in a scanning pattern to remove the thin layer of your skin with precision and minimal heat damage to the surrounding structures.

What is the Downtime for CO2 Laser Resurfacing?

The recovery period for CO2 laser resurfacing is approximately two weeks.

Erbium Laser (ER: YAG) Resurfacing:

Erbium Laser (ER: YAG) promotes collagen remodeling and is a popular option for smoothening the appearance of fine lines. It also requires a local anesthetic.

Erbium Laser resurfacing is a perfect option if you have a darker skin tone.

What is the Downtime for Erbium Laser (ER: YAG) Resurfacing?

The recovery period for an Erbium laser is one week.

Non-ablative laser:

The non-ablative laser is a less aggressive approach than an ablative laser and has less downtime as well. While it also stimulates collagen and elastin production, the results are less noticeable than ablative lasers.

The non-ablative laser resurfacing works by delivering a precise wavelength of light below the surface of your skin. It induces a controlled injury that promotes collagen production and cellular renewal.

Following are the types of non-ablative lasers:

Pulsed-Dye Laser Resurfacing:

Pulsed Dye laser heats the skin and absorbs the pigments to reduce hyperpigmentation, redness, broken capillaries, and rosacea.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Resurfacing:

Intense Pulsed Light or IPL addresses skin concerns such as vascular lesions, sun damage, acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea.

What is the Downtime for Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing?

The downtime for non-ablative laser resurfacing is almost one week or so.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing:

Fractional lasers can be both ablative and non-ablative. It works by breaking up the laser energy into numerous tiny beams. This tightens your skin as the collagen between the treated laser holes contract. Hence, less skin is injured, and the downtime gets reduced. Fractional lasers are widely leveraged to treat aging-related skin concerns.

What is the Downtime for Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

Recovery time with fractional laser resurfacing is one week.

What are the Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatments?

  • Laser skin resurfacing treatments can soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and give you a more youthful and younger appearance.
  • It treats skin pigmentation and eliminates brown spots. Moreover, it can remove unwanted freckles. Hence, you will get a balanced and even skin tone.
  • It stimulates collagen production and makes your skin firmer, tighter, and smoother.
  • It can diminish the appearance of surgical scars, traumatic scars, and acne scars.
  • It can remove and diminish the appearance of spider veins, broken capillaries, and prominent blood vessels that are caused due to alcoholism, hormonal imbalance, and excess sun exposure.
  • It reduces the size of enlarged pores and makes your skin even and smoother for a long time.

Risks & Complications of Laser Skin Resurfacing:

It is pertinent to note that side effects are less likely and mild with a non-ablative approach to laser skin resurfacing. A few common risks and complications of laser skin resurfacing treatment are enumerated below.

  • Redness, swelling, itching, and pain are common after-effects of laser skin resurfacing treatment.
  • Applying bandages and thick creams to your face can worsen acne on the treated area.
  • Laser skin resurfacing treatment can also lead to viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.
  • Laser skin resurfacing treatment can make your skin darker than it was prior to the treatment in hyperpigmentation or lighter in hypopigmentation.
  • It also poses a risk of scarring.

Who Should Not Get Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment?

You should not get laser skin resurfacing treatment if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have keloid scars
  • Have a history of Herpes virus or cold sores
  • Are very tanned or have darker or black skin
  • Have a weak immune system or overall poor health

About the Author:

Dr. Hammad Hassan, M.D. is a practicing dermatologist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He studied Medicine and Surgery at Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU), Pakistan. Then, he went to King Edward Medical University for Physician and Surgeons Fellowship FCPS, specializing in Dermatology. Currently, Dr. Hammad is working at a Med SPA located in Islamabad, Pakistan, providing various cosmetics treatments to his patients.

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