Laser skin resurfacing: Procedure and risks

Cosmetic procedures

What is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that will treat the skin, revealing a healthier looking skin.

This procedure is good for:

Over time as you age your skin will change due to different factors, be it environmental, genetic or dietary reasons. More so, it is natural that your skin will lose collagen as you age. The results is that your skin will start to sag and wrinkle. This can be worsen if you consume alcohol, have a bad diet, do not exercise or have too much sun damage. The results are premature aging, with wrinkles and lines appearing.

Plus, other skin conditions like acne, brown spots, and even chicken pox can leave the skin looking damaged.

The use of this laser technology is thus useful to remove or at least reduce the appearance of such damage to the skin.

Cosmetic procedures

More about the procedure

Prior to the treatment, you will need to consult with your doctor. There you will discuss their needs and explain any medical issues that you might have and which medication you might be on.

Also, to avoid problems during and after the treatment, and to speed up the healing, you should avoid smoking as much as possible before the procedure, avoid unprotected sun exposure, avoid anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, avoid using skin care products, and drink a lot of water.

Your doctor will use either a Lighpod Era or a Fraxel Dual laser to resurface your skin. The differences between these two technologies are:

  • The LightPod Era is a portable erbium laser that quickly and safely treats skin concerns, like wrinkles and lines, as well as age spots, sun damage, and large pores. The LightPod Era can also be used to minimize scars, including acne and burn scars.
  • The Fraxel DUAL laser skin resurfacing system uses non-ablative lasers to treat mild to severe skin damage. The Fraxel DUAL treats wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, and discolorations. Patients usually receive their best results by getting 3 – 5 sessions with 2 – 4 weeks in between each session.

This means that The LightPod Era laser system treats a wider range of skin conditions and patients will have their best results after 1 treatment. Whereas the Fraxel DUAL laser system requires 3 – 5 treatments for patients to get their best results. Also there are more pain reported when being treated by the Fraxel Dual laser system as compared to the LightPod Era laser system.

In either case your doctor will apply a numbing cream or a local anesthesia to minimise the pain prior to the treatment.

The doctor will then use the laser, based on the needs and the condition as per the consultation, to vaporize the surface skin and reveal the undamaged layer beneath. The laser skin resurfacing treatment takes only 30 – 75 minutes and can be done in your doctor’s rooms.

This treatment will leave your skin swollen and red for about a week. However, this side-effect will fade on its own.
Still, swelling aside, laser resurfacing offers you many advantages over traditional resurfacing procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, as it practically eliminates side effects such as discomfort, bleeding, and bruising.

You will need to revisit your doctor after 5 to a week so the results and be discussed and to see it the area is healing correctly.

You doctor might give you some creams to enhance the healing process as well as how to clean the skin to ensure proper healing is taking place. Still, the healing time is around a week.

What you should be doing is to avoid waxing, shaving or using hair removal creams on the areas that have been treated with the laser.

Possible risks and complications

Laser resurfacing can be tricky because the more aggressive you want to be, the more potential there is for side effects like permanent lightening of the skin called hypopigmentation, darkening of the skin that is called hyperpigmentation, scarring, or a lot of downtime.

Thus other risks can include:

• Allergic reactions to the anesthesia
• Burns or blisters
• Infection

In addition, infections, as well as dormant viruses such as herpes, may be awakened by laser treatment. However, most surgeons will place you on medications to prevent these complications.

These risks are further minimized when you choose a qualified physician with extensive experience in laser skin resurfacing who is able to best match a specific laser to your skin type or concern.