Are you looking for a new non-surgical skin treatment? There are plenty of skin treatment options available now, all of which make their own claims about how they can improve your skin.
Whether they’re diminishing signs of aging, getting rid of discoloration, or just making your skin softer, you have a lot to choose from, and the variety can be confusing.
We’re here to talk about laser resurfacing and whether the process of laser resurfacing the face is an effective skincare treatment.
Keep reading to learn all about laser skin resurfacing so you can make an informed decision about your skincare.
What Is Laser Resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is a process in which the technician uses a laser to improve the surface of the skin or treat certain skin flaws.
There are several kinds of lasers that technicians can use for laser skin resurfacing. The less-effective (but still valid) form of laser skin resurfacing is nonablative laser resurfacing.
This form of resurfacing uses light or gentle lasers to stimulate collagen growth.
The other more effective form of laser resurfacing is ablative laser resurfacing (which is what we’ll be discussing throughout this article). This laser removes the top layer of the skin in order to reach the underlying layers.
This might sound scary, but keep in mind that this laser treatment doesn’t take long and it’s an outpatient procedure.
How Does Laser Resurfacing the Face Work?
So you might be wondering what this process does, or how it works at all.
When the laser removes the epidermis (or top layer of skin), it has access to the fresh skin underneath. It irritates that layer of your skin with heat, and that heat stimulates new collagen growth.
Collagen is what keeps your skin looking fresh, plump, and smooth. It responds to injuries and abrasions to repair the skin. While your skin won’t look fresh as soon as the procedure is over, once your top layer of skin heals, it will look better than ever before.
This process is effective for age spots, uneven skin texture, discoloration, fine lines, and scarring.
What Is the Laser Skin Resurfacing Process?
There are several ways that this procedure can go.
Most often, your technician will numb your skin before they get started. If you’re anxious, or they’re covering a large amount of skin, they may offer sedation options so you can keep still and feel less of the procedure.
The technician will point a harsh laser at your skin and address all of the areas that you want to improve. They can avoid certain areas to make healing easier, or they can cover the entire face.
The procedure lasts anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on how much surface area you want to cover and how that particular technician prefers to work.
How Should I Prepare?
If you decide to try laser skin resurfacing, you first want to look up “CO2 laser near me” to find a place that does this procedure.
You’ll talk to the doctor about your skin concerns and how you want to see your skin improve. They may ask you about your health history and they’ll do a thorough examination of your skin. This helps them create your treatment plan.
When it comes to preparation, try to avoid sunlight for the months prior to your treatment. Use sunscreen and cover your skin when possible. It’s a good idea to get this treatment done in the winter or autumn. You should also avoid smoking for the weeks preceding your treatment to make your immune system as effective as possible.
If you plan on sedation, make sure that you arrange for someone to drive you home.
What Is the Aftercare Like?
Because this is a laser treatment, there is some aftercare involved. Your skin is wounded, so you need to treat it as such.
Right after the procedure, your skin will look worse. Don’t panic. Your face will look red and swollen and you may experience some itching. Try not to scratch your face until you’ve healed.
Your doctor should cover your skin with a soothing healing ointment and they may use a watertight dressing to protect your skin.
Stay indoors as much as possible throughout the 2-week healing process. You can’t use anything that might irritate your skin, and that includes sunscreen. It also includes makeup and any skincare products that have a chance of irritation.
Apply a cool compress to your skin and take over-the-counter pain medications. Avoid submerging your face in the water.
What Are the Results?
While the initial post-treatment period looks grim, the actual results of the treatment are impressive.
Your skin will stay pink for several months, though it dissipates as time goes on and this pinkness looks more “fresh” than painful. As your skin re-grows, it should look tight and plump.
You shouldn’t have any of the fine lines or discoloration that you had before your treatment started. Your results can last for several years, making this one of the more long-term non-surgical skincare options.
There are a few potential risks that may impact your results. Some people with darker skin tones might experience hyperpigmentation after the procedure. This is uncommon.
Is a Laser Resurfacing Treatment Right for You?
Laser resurfacing the face is a more intense procedure than many other types of skincare options, but because it lasts so long, it’s a valuable treatment if you’re worried about any discoloration and fine lines.
Talk to a professional today to learn if you’re a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing today.
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Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.