Laser resurfacing is a relatively new type of treatment, which reduces facial wrinkles and skin defects, such as rashes or acne scars.
A short, concentrated, pulsating beam of light is sent to the skin. When laser polishing the skin, it is removed very accurately, layer by layer. This popular procedure is known by other names, including lasubrasion, laser peeling or laser evaporation of tissues.
Who should be exposed to laser skin polishing?
If you have small wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead, scars from acne or unresponsive skin after a facelift, then laser skin resurfacing can help you. If you have an active acne or very dark skin, you may not need to undergo this procedure. This method is also not recommended for the removal of stretch marks.
How does laser skin resurfacing work?
There are two types of lasers, which are most often used for skin resurfacing – with carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each laser vaporizes superficial, damaged skin cells, and reduces the risk to patients, since it limits the amount of heat absorbed by the skin.
CO2 laser grinding
This method has been used for many years to treat various skin conditions, including wrinkles, scars, warts, birthmarks, enlarged sebaceous glands on the nose (rhinophyma), skin cancer and others.
The latest versions of laser CO2 grinding use a very short pulse of light energy (ultra-pulse) or a prolonged exposure to light beams that act like a scanner to very accurately remove a thin layer of skin with minimal heat damage to surrounding structures. The healing time after the procedure lasts up to two weeks.
Patients should contact surgeons whose training is documented and who have experience in laser skin resurfacing.
Grinding with erbium laser
Grinding with a laser with erbium is designed to remove superficial and medium-deep wrinkles on the face, arms, neck or chest. One of the advantages of grinding with a laser with erbium is a minimal burn of surrounding tissues. This kind of laser causes minimal side effects such as edema, bruising and redness, so the healing time is shorter than when using a laser with CO2-a week, in most cases.
If you have a dark skin tone, laser resurfacing with erbium may be suitable for you. Your doctor will determine which type of laser is best for you, after he or she fully appreciates your medical history, physical condition and desired result.
What can you expect after laser resurfacing?
Laser grinding with CO2 and erbium is performed on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia (anesthesia at the site of the procedure), in conjunction with oral or intravenous sedation. Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or on the forehead can be treated individually, or the entire face is lasaged. Partial facial lasubrasion takes 30-45 minutes, and the procedure for the entire face lasts 1-1 / 2 – 2 hours.
What happens after laser resurfacing?
After laser resurfacing, a sterile dressing is applied to the site treated. After the bandage is removed (usually, after 1 – 3 days). The patient cleans the treated areas two to five times a day with cold aqueous saline or acetic solution. Then, ointments such as Vaseline, Eucerin or Aquaphor are applied. Such care is designed to prevent the formation of scabs. In general, the sites heal after 10-21 days, depending on the nature of the skin condition that has been treated.
After healing, you can use makeup to mask pink or red areas that are noticeable after laser resurfacing. Makeup on the basis of green color is especially suitable for such disguise, as it neutralizes the red color. After laser resurfacing it is recommended to apply low-fat make-up. Redness in areas treated with a laser usually disappears in two to three months, but can heal for six months, before disappearing completely. In blondes and redheads, redness usually disappears longer.
Patients with dark skin are at greater risk of healing with the formation of dark pigmentation. It can be reduced by the use of bleaching agents before laser resurfacing, and by the continued use of these agents after healing.
What complications can occur after laser resurfacing?
- Milia, small whiteheads, can occur on sites that have been laser treated, during healing. They can be removed with a gentle cleansing with a terry cloth.
- Hyperpigmentation (increased pigmentation), and hypopigmentation (reduced pigmentation of the skin), may occur in areas treated with a laser. In general, hyperpigmented areas can be cured with a bleaching cream to accelerate the disappearance of the pigment.
- There may be a re-occurrence of herpetic fever, especially after laser treatment of the skin around the mouth. You can prevent this by asking the doctor to give you an antiviral drug that should be taken before surgery and continued for seven to ten days after laser resurfacing.
- You can also prevent the development of a bacterial infection by taking an antibiotic before the operation and continuing the procedure for seven to ten days after laser resurfacing.
- After laser skin resurfacing may appear edema. Tell the doctor about what can be done to reduce its effect.
- Patients are advised to sleep at night on an additional pillow to reduce swelling after laser resurfacing. Applying ice can also help in the first 24-48 hours.
- The formation of scars after laser resurfacing, although rare, but can occur on sites subjected to laser grinding.
- Smoking cessation is highly recommended, since smoking has a detrimental effect on the healing process.
How to care for the skin after laser resurfacing?
It must be remembered that the skin, which has been damaged by laser polishing, can react in different ways.
Most of the time you feel like you got an average sunburn. There is swelling and redness of the skin. You may experience itching or burning for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and begin to climb.
The new skin will appear after the skin from the treated area peel off. The skin will first be pink. Gradually, it will begin to lighten, which can take a year after the procedure. Your doctor will not repeat the procedure until the area heals completely.
It is necessary to use a solar filter every day after healing, in order to protect the new skin formed after laser resurfacing. Sunscreen “wide spectrum”, which protects against ultraviolet rays B and A, is the most recommended. It is better to choose a sunscreen specially created for a person who, at least, has a protection factor (SPF) 15.
After healing, moisturizers are also recommended. Patients can use Retin-A and / or products with glycolic acid content for up to six weeks after laser resurfacing, or as prescribed by their physician.