Facial Laser Resurfacing

Facial laser resurfacing can produce dramatic wrinkle and scar removal results. The treatment softens the edges of surface irregularities by precisely removing damaged layers of the skin. As the skin heals, collagen fibers in the skin contract, tightening skin and smoothing out wrinkles and irregularities.

Candidates

You may be a candidate for laser resurfacing if:

  • Your skin is leathery or sun-damaged
  • The skin around or under your eyes is wrinkled
  • The skin around your mouth has small vertical wrinkles
  • The surface of your skin is uneven due to scarring

Important factors to consider are skin type, coloring, and medical history. Black skin, Asian skin, and other dark complexions are at greater risk for skin discoloration or blotchiness after treatment. Patients who are prone to allergic rashes or other skin reactions or who get fever blisters or cold sores may experience a flare-up. Prescribed medications can be used to avoid these issues. Light freckles may disappear in the treated area. Patients should be in good general health and have realistic expectations of the outcome of their treatment.

Procedure

Laser skin resurfacing is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. One treatment session can last from a few minutes to two hours. Multiple sessions may be required for deeper scarring. Local anesthetic or numbing cream is typically used to minimize discomfort. For deeper and full face resurfacing, general anesthesia may be preferred.

A laser is used to vaporize the top layers of the skin to soften the edges of surface irregularities like acne scars or fine wrinkles. Laser resurfacing can be used alone or in conjunction with other procedures such as a facelift, blepharoplasty, chemical peel, or scar removal or revision.

Recovery

Some laser treatments brighten the skin without any downtime, while deeper treatments require more healing time. You may experience temporary tingling, burning, itching, swelling, or redness immediately after your treatment. Discomfort can be managed with medications prescribed by Dr. Guy. Swelling will dissipate in a few days to a week. You may also experience temporary sensitivity to the sun. The length of time until you can return to work depends on the depth of your treatment but can range anywhere from 2 to 14 days. You can return to more strenuous activities in 4 to 6 weeks. Skin redness should fade within the first 2 weeks, and any residual pinkness will fade completely in about 3 months.

A light crust may form over the treated area (depending upon the type of cream or dressing applied) and will fall off as a new layer of skin forms underneath. Your face may itch as new skin starts to grow, but an ointment may be recommended to help with this.

Dr. Guy will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your skin after your procedure. For men, this will include delaying shaving for some time. Be sure to follow Dr. Guy’s instructions carefully to ensure proper healing.

Results

Your results will be long lasting, although new wrinkles may form due to natural aging. It is important to protect your skin from the sun until the pigment has completely returned to your skin. This can take as long as 6 to 12 months. It is recommended that you use a barrier sunscreen containing micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Dr. Guy will have you see one of her aestheticians to advise you on the use of skin care products, sunscreens, and makeup. With proper skin care and protection, patients can enjoy their brighter, smoother complexion for years to come.

If you would like to see some of the results that can be achieved with laser resurfacing, take a look at our before and after photos in our photo gallery.