10 Things You Should Know About Laser Skin Resurfacing
Why Choose Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Everyone has their own reasons for considering laser skin resurfacing. Treatments have been proven to reduce wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and other blemishes. It can also help tighten skin and balance skin tone. However, lasers can do a lot and results vary from person to person, so it can be difficult to know where to start when researching treatments. We want to help guide you through the process because too much information can become overwhelming. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most important things you should know about laser skin resurfacing.
Seasons Affect Laser Skin Resurfacing Results
Laser treated skin is very sensitive to sun exposure for about a year following the procedure. Therefore, cosmetic surgeons recommend having the procedure done during the fall and winter months. During these seasons the time the sun is out is shorter and you’re likely to spend more time indoors because of the cooler weather. That’s how autumn got the name “laser season”.
Regardless of what time of year you decide to have laser skin resurfacing you should always wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen and reapply as directed. This will help provide the best results, prevent additional aging and protect skin from skin cancer.
Pain Will Vary
Both surgeons and patients usually compare the feeling of laser treatments to a rubber band snapping against the skin. Nevertheless, the sensation varies depending on the type of laser used, the depth, the area being treated, and the individual’s tolerance for pain.
Deeper ablative laser treatments require some of the outer layers of skin to be removed and may require local anesthetic injections of intravenous sedation to keep the patient comfortable. With non-ablative laser treatments, layers of the skin are not removed, so they usually cause little to no pain and only a topical numbing cream is used to offset mild discomfort.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Can be Safe for All Skin Tones
A very common misconception about laser skin resurfacing is that it’s only safe for people with lighter skin tones. Yes, it’s true that particular lasers pose a higher risk for cell damage, discoloration, and hyperpigmentation in darker skin, but there are safe and effective resurfacing options for all skin tones. For lighter toned African American, Hispanic, and Asian skin tones, Erbium lasers pose less risk for discoloration. Patients who have darker brown skin should consider other laser skin resurfacing options like radio-frequency treatments or even micro needling. The best way to ensure you have a safe, effective procedure is to consult with a double board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive training and knowledge in laser skin resurfacing and has experience working with darker skin tones.
Who Performs Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Matters
When you go to a highly trained, knowledgeable professional, laser skin resurfacing is a safe and effective way to improve your skin’s appearance. On the other hand, going to someone who isn’t properly trained can potentially be dangerous. You must pick your doctor based on experience, training, and qualification. The biggest mistake you can make is choosing whoever has the lowest price or based on a brand name laser platform.
At Aventura Plastic Surgery, Dr. Richard Galitz is a double board-certified plastic surgeon, who began his practice in 1986. He routinely performs and is masterfully adept at numerous facial procedures including laser skin resurfacing.
Medication and Health Conditions Can Affect Reactions to Laser Skin Resurfacing
You should always be honest with your physician about your medical history and any medication you take. For example, if you get cold sores or fever blisters often, laser treatments may increase breakouts. Acne medicine that contains isotretinoin can cause poor healing or scarring and over the counter products like aspirin can increase the risk of post-procedure bleeding.
Diabetes and other chronic conditions can impact safety and results with laser skin resurfacing as well. It is strongly advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to and after your laser procedure to avoid any complications with healing and provide your body the best chance for optimal results.
Different Lasers for Different Cases
No one laser can treat all patients and all skin concerns. That’s why there are so many different lasers. Below are a few types of lasers and what they are used for:
• CO2 Lasers are usually ablative lasers used to treat scars, warts, wrinkles and other deeper skin flaws.
• Erbium Lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative. They promote collagen reproduction which makes them popular for treating fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
• Pulse-Dye Lasers are usually non-ablative lasers that heat the skin and absorb pigments to reduce redness, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, and rosacea.
• Fractional Lasers break up the laser energy into thousands of small beams to only treat a fraction of the skin in the area, which reduces downtime. They can be ablative and non-ablative and are used to treat a variety of age-related blemishes.
• IPL (intense pulsed light) isn’t technically lasers but are also used to treat similar concerns like sun damage, acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation.
Don’t get caught up in brand name lasers. You should focus more on your personal goals and what’s most safe for you.
Prepare for Multiple Treatments
There are some cases where one laser treatment can solve a patient’s concerns, but a majority of non-ablative lasers require multiple treatments to achieve the best results. This is a trade-off that comes with a treatment that has no downtime, but after the series of treatments is complete, the results are long-lasting.
Downtime May be Required
Laser treatments are usually considered non-surgical, but some procedures do require downtime. Laser resurfacing recovery times vary depending on the type of laser used, the individual’s health and healing rate.
Non-ablative lasers don’t normally require any downtime at all, but ablative lasers may require two to three weeks of recovery. In no way does this mean you have to stay at home in bed for a month, but your skin will be raw, red and scab over as it heals. So, you may not feel comfortable in certain social situations and you should modify your activities to avoid situations where you could be prone to infection.
Side Effects are Common
It’s imperative to understand the side effects associated with laser skin resurfacing. You will experience mild pain during and following the procedure, but nothing unbearable. When your new skin begins to grow you will notice pigment changes, redness, and swelling. Most of the side effects will subside after the first few days, however, some may take up to a month to be completely gone.
After the laser treatment, you’ll experience some tenderness, but no need to worry. Your doctor will recommend safe ways to handle discomfort when necessary.
How Long Do Results Last?
When laser skin resurfacing is done correctly and there is proper aftercare you should expect your results to last for many years. It takes about six months to see the full results of the treatment. Depending on the type of lifestyle you live and how well you take care of your skin, you could potentially have lifelong results.
Find Out If Laser Skin Resurfacing is Right for You
If you are considering laser skin resurfacing, give us a call at (305) 974-0505 or schedule a free consultation with Dr. Galitz to find out more about your options. We look forward to speaking with you!