How does laser skin resurfacing work?
Lasers work by emitting a specialized light that passes through the skin and is preferentially absorbed by water in the collagen of your skin. The resulting heat generation evaporates very fine layers of skin, diminishing the look of wrinkles and other unwanted textures. Older skin is transformed into newer skin. As new cells form in the healing process, the skin becomes smoother, more evenly colored and softer. Several lasers and light sources are available today for skin resurfacing.
Alternatives to full laser resurfacing include fractional C02. At our office, Dr. Sikorski offers the nonsurgical MiXto fractional laser for less downtime and lesser degrees of resurfacing needs.
A Laser Resurfacing procedure
After anesthesia is administered, your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. The laser beam will be delivered through a computer-controlled device that automatically scans the area of your skin being treated. You may hear a snapping or popping noise as the laser gently removes the outer skin cells.
Your procedure may take a few minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated and the depth of your treatment.
Laser Resurfacing Depth
For superficial or medium resurfacing, the laser can be limited to the epidermis and papillary dermis. For deeper resurfacing, the upper levels of the reticular dermis can also be removed. Varied penetration allows treatment of specific spots, wrinkles or scars. Laser resurfacing offers a number of advantages over other resurfacing methods: precision, little (if any) bleeding and less post-operative discomfort. Deeper laser peels are about the only procedure that has profound effect on upper lip wrinkles and lines around the mouth.
Candidates for Laser Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing can be done at any age but the procedure isn’t for everyone. In some cases, an alternative skin resurfacing treatment, such as Photo Dynamic Therapy or TCA chemical peel, may still be a better choice.
OC patients with olive skin, brown skin or black skin may be at increased risk of pigmentation changes no matter what type of resurfacing method is recommended. Dr. Sikorski will evaluate your skin characteristics and make recommendations accordingly.
Individuals who have taken Accutane in the past 12-18 months or are prone to abnormal (keloid-like) scarring or those with active skin infections on the treatment area may not be appropriate candidates for this procedure.
What aftercare will I need?
It is important to follow instructions. Dr. Sikorski will thoroughly explain what you will need to do following your procedure. You will be given some skin care products and instructions on how to use them. This will minimize your risk for infection and ensure the shortest healing time. The top layer of your skin will re-grow and can be covered with make-up in about one week.
Your new skin will be very sensitive to ultra-violet light and you must avoid sun exposure until fully healed. You need to cover your skin, wear a hat and use a good sun screen if your have to go outdoors.
How long will it take me to recover?
Your healing time will depend upon your actual treatment depth, and you may experience erythema (redness) which may last several weeks. Healing time does vary among individuals. Dr. Sikorski will answer any questions about temporary changes to your skin appearance and how it may be camouflaged.
What should I expect after treatment?
It will take a few days for your body to regenerate a new surface layer of your skin. Redness is common and swelling may be present in the areas treated, however, this should subside in a few hours. Dr. Sikorski will instruct you how effectively to care for your healing skin. Your skin will have a residual pink or red color that will dissolve over time.
Will healing be uncomfortable?
The amount of discomfort varies from patient to patient. Dr. Sikorski will discuss your anesthesia options to properly manage any discomfort from the treatment.
Is there infection risk with laser resurfacing?
Following the correct aftercare procedures prescribed will reduce the risk of infection. You will return the office for follow-up visits to ensure excellent healing.
Is the resurfacing procedure painful?
You will be given either a topical or local anesthetic during the procedure for lesser depths. Sedation can also be provided and is offered to all patients if they desire. Most patients describe the post-procedure feeling as a bad sunburn; this feeling will subside in a few days. Cold compresses will also help subdue the discomfort.
How soon will I see the results?
Recovery time is usually 1-2 weeks. Because your skin will heal over a period of several weeks, you may not see the final results until then. As your skin heals, and as new collagen regenerates and fills in the lines and wrinkles, your results will continue to improve. Results will continue to improve for months.
Your consultation visit
You’ll enjoy a relaxing visit to our office where you can ask questions, meet our staff, take a tour of our office and surgical suite and view additional photo results of our patients.
Your consultation assessment is with Dr. Sikorski, not an impersonal or commissioned salesperson. Fees and procedure preparations are discussed with our patient coordinator, who will detail the surgical experience with you.
We look forward to meeting with you and helping you find the simplest solution to achieve the goals you desire. Get your Erbium laser consultation today by using our online form or by calling our office.