Laser skin resurfacing is a beauty treatment that uses laser technology to make the skin look better.
It is becoming more and more popular as a way to get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, as well as improve the texture and tone of the skin.
Laser skin resurfacing can help treat some skin problems, such as acne scars and damage from the sun, and can give noticeable results with little downtime.
Unlike more invasive procedures, such as facelifts, laser skin resurfacing can be done in a single session and typically requires only a few days of recovery.
Safety and Effectiveness
According to this study, laser skin resurfacing (LSR) has advanced from traditional methods to fractional non-ablative and fractional ablative procedures.
Fractional LSR combines the benefits of traditional LSR, which effectively reduces wrinkles, photoaging, and acne scarring, with fewer side effects and complications.
It uses the laser beam in microarrays, which results in faster healing and adjustable laser parameters for precision.
Fractional LSR is a safe and effective method for skin resurfacing.
In general, laser skin resurfacing is a safe, effective, and easy way to make the skin look better.
The new generation of laser devices, such as CO2 and erbium lasers, are more precise and can target specific areas of concern.
It’s no surprise that more people are turning to this procedure to attain a younger, brighter complexion.
Types of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Several different types of laser skin resurfacing are available, each with unique benefits.
- CO2 laser resurfacing is a type of laser treatment that uses a carbon dioxide laser to remove the outer layers of damaged skin. This type of laser resurfacing is best for treating deep wrinkles, severe sun damage, and precancerous growths.
- Erbium laser resurfacing removes the outer layers of damaged skin with an erbium laser. It is best for treating fine lines, age spots, and mild to moderate sun damage.
- Fractional laser resurfacing is a type of laser treatment that uses a laser to create tiny columns of heat in the skin. It treats acne scarring, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.
- Non-ablative laser resurfacing is a type of laser treatment in which a laser heats the deep layers of the skin without damaging the surface of the skin. It is best for treating fine lines, age spots, and uneven skin tone.
- Ablative laser resurfacing is similar to CO2 laser resurfacing, but it is more aggressive and removes more deep layers of skin. It treats deeper wrinkles, severe sun damage, and precancerous growths. It also requires a longer recovery time than non-ablative or fractional laser resurfacing.
Each laser resurfacing treatment is different, and the best one for a person will depend on their skin condition and what they want to achieve.
How Much Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Cost?
Laser skin resurfacing can be very expensive, depending on the following:
- The laser used
- size of the treatment area
- The practitioner’s geographical location
The cost will be higher if the lasers are more advanced and the treatment area is larger.
On average, laser skin resurfacing costs for ablative is $2,509 and $1,445 for non-ablative per treatment.
However, it can go higher depending on the specific device used and the size of the treatment area.
Also, you should know that laser skin resurfacing is usually not covered by insurance because it is a cosmetic procedure.
Most practitioners offer financing options such as payment plans or medical loans to help make the procedure more affordable.
Some practitioners also offer package deals for multiple treatments, which can help to lower the overall cost.
Keep in mind that achieving the desired results may require multiple treatments.
Some patients may need up to three or four treatments to get their desired results. Check with different providers and compare prices.
Remember that the cheapest option may not always be the best choice and that the cost should not be the only factor when deciding.
How To Prepare for Laser Skin Resurfacing
Getting ready for laser skin resurfacing means taking a few essential steps to get the best results and lower the risk of problems.
- Consultation: Before you get laser skin resurfacing, you’ll need to make an appointment with a qualified doctor or specialist. During the consultation, your doctor will look at your skin and discuss what you want to get out of the procedure. They will also talk to you about the procedure’s risks, benefits, and recovery time, and they will answer any questions you may have.
- Sun protection: It is vital to avoid sun exposure for at least four to six weeks before the procedure. Sun exposure can increase the risk of complications and make it more difficult for the skin to heal. You should also avoid tanning beds, self-tanners, and other forms of artificial tanning.
- Medications: Some medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided before the procedure. Be sure to inform your practitioner of any medications you are taking, and they will advise if you need to stop taking them before the procedure.
- Skincare: Before the procedure, your practitioner may tell you to stop using certain skin care products, like retinoids. They may also recommend certain products to prepare your skin for the procedure.
- Arrangements: You will need someone to drive you back home after the procedure and stay with you for 24 hours. Make sure to have someone who can help you with the daily tasks during your recovery period.
Following these instructions before your skin resurfacing procedure can help ensure it goes well and is safe.
Always do what your practitioner tells you to and ask any questions you might have to ensure you’re ready for the procedure.
Recovery Process: What To Expect After Your Procedure
Laser skin resurfacing can affect how long it takes to heal, depending on the type of laser and the extent of your treatment.
However, some general guidelines can help you understand what to expect after the procedure.
- Redness and swelling: Right after the procedure, the treated area will be red and swollen. The swelling will typically peak on the second day and then gradually subside over the next few days.
- Crusting and scabbing: The treated area may get crusting and scabbing in the first few days after the procedure. It is an entirely natural part of the healing process and should not be picked at or removed.
- Healing time: The healing time can vary depending on the type of laser used and the extent of the treatment. It typically takes about 5-7 days for the redness and swelling to subside and 2-3 weeks for the crusting and scabbing to heal. It can take up to a month for the skin to fully recover, and the final results may take several months to be visible.
- Pain and discomfort: The treated area may be sore and uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure. Your practitioner may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort.
- Sun protection: It is necessary to protect the treated area from sun exposure for at least 6–8 weeks after the procedure. Sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation and a darkening of the skin, slowing down the healing process.
- Skincare: Your practitioner will give you detailed instructions on caring for your skin during recovery. They suggest specific products or ways to care for your skin to help you heal and avoid getting sick.
Be sure to ask any questions and report any concerns to your practitioner as soon as they arise.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser treatment may be a good choice if you have wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, acne scars, sun damage, or an uneven skin tone.
People with darker skin tones may not be good candidates because they are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or other complications.
In terms of age, laser skin resurfacing is typically recommended for people in their 30s or older, as the signs of aging usually begin to appear at this age.
However, people in their 20s may also be good candidates for laser skin resurfacing if they have specific skin concerns.
You Are Not a Good Candidate
- If you are diagnosed with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, lupus, or other conditions, that can affect the healing process.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also, it’s essential to have realistic expectations about how the procedure will turn out and know that laser skin resurfacing is not a permanent way to eliminate wrinkles and other signs of aging.
It can improve the appearance of the skin, but it will not stop the natural aging process.
Potential Risks and Complications for Laser Treatment
Like any medical procedure, laser skin resurfacing carries risks and potential side effects.
Some of the common risks that may arise include the following:
- Scarring: This is a rare side effect that can happen if the doctor doesn’t do the procedure right or if the patient picks at or scratches the treated area while it’s healing.
- Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which the skin becomes darker. It can happen after laser resurfacing of the skin, especially in people with darker skin. It’s more likely if the patient doesn’t keep the treatment area out of the sun.
- Infection: Infection is a rare complication of laser skin resurfacing. But it can happen if your doctor does not perform the surgery correctly or if the patient doesn’t care for themselves properly while healing.
- Changes in skin texture: Some patients may experience changes in skin texture after the procedure. They may include dryness, itching, and redness.
- Burns: Burns can occur if the laser energy is too harsh or a professional does not perform the procedure.
- Anesthesia reactions: Some patients may experience reactions to the anesthesia used during the procedure, such as nausea, dizziness, or allergic reactions.
Know these risks and talk to your doctor about them before you undergo the procedure.
How To Maintain the Results of Laser Skin Resurfacing
After laser treatment, it’s crucial to take care of your skin and keep it safe from the sun’s rays and other environmental factors if you want to keep the results.
Below are some tips to help you keep your skin looking good after laser skin resurfacing:
- Sun protection: The most important thing you can do to maintain the results of your laser skin resurfacing is to protect your skin from sun damage. It means wearing at least SPF 30 sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days. It would be best to put it on the face, neck, ears, hands, and other exposed skin.
- Avoiding sun exposure: Limit your sun exposure during peak intensity hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must be outside during these hours, try to stay in the shade.
- Use of protective clothing: Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats, to protect your skin from the sun.
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. A well-hydrated skin is better able to heal and maintain its results.
- Skincare: Use skincare products appropriate for your skin type and condition. Your doctor or dermatologist may advise you to use specific products to extend the life of your laser skin resurfacing results.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol: These habits can speed up aging and change the procedure’s results.
- Avoid doing certain things: For at least two weeks after the laser treatment, don’t do things that could hurt your skin, like swimming in chlorinated pools or hot tubs.
Are There Alternatives to Laser Skin Resurfacing?
If you don’t like laser treatment and want to try another option, there are several alternative procedures for laser skin resurfacing.
They improve the appearance of the skin and treat certain conditions such as acne scarring and sun damage.
Some of these include:
- Chemical peels are a procedure in which your doctor applies a chemical solution to your skin. The solution makes the top layer of skin peel off, revealing smoother, more even-toned skin underneath.
- Dermabrasion is a procedure that involves using a diamond-tipped wand or wire brush to “sand” away the top layer of skin, revealing smoother and more even-toned skin underneath.
- Microdermabrasion is a type of dermabrasion that doesn’t hurt as much. It uses a diamond-tipped wand or a spray of fine crystals to remove the top layer of skin.
- Photorejuvenation is a non-invasive treatment that uses intense pulse light (IPL) or broad-spectrum light to make sun damage, age spots, and uneven skin tone look better.
- Collagen induction therapy (CIT): Collagen induction therapy is a procedure that uses a device that creates microscopic channels in the skin, stimulating collagen production and improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Soft tissue fillers: Your practitioner can use hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane to fill wrinkles and acne scars.
Each alternative procedure has its benefits and potential risks.
Go through them carefully before deciding which option is best for you.
Laser skin resurfacing can make your skin look better and treat some skin problems, like acne scars and sun damage.
The procedure is safe and effective if you do the proper research and follow the right steps.
Talk to a trained practitioner before your procedure, understand the risks and costs, and have realistic expectations.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d). Laser resurfacing. mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/laser-resurfacing/about/pac-20385114
- J Drugs Dermatol. (Nov 2012). Fractional laser skin resurfacing. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23135075/
- Acumen Research and Consulting (Nov. 27, 2022). Aesthetic Laser & Energy Devices Market Size Will Attain USD 9.3 Billion by 2030, growing at 10.1% CAGR - Exclusive Report by Acumen Research and Consulting. globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/11/28/2562767/0/en/Aesthetic-Laser-Energy-Devices-Market-Size-Will-Attain-USD-9-3-Billion-by-2030-growing-at-10-1-CAGR-Exclusive-Report-by-Acumen-Research-and-Consulting.html
- Dermatol Surg. Fractionated laser skin resurfacing treatment complications: a review. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20100273/
- National Library of Medicine (Nov. 14, 2022). Ablative Laser Resurfacing. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557474/
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d). How much does laser skin resurfacing cost? plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/cost#
- Altshuler GB, Anderson RR, Manstein D, Zenzie HH, Smirnov MZ. Extended theory of selective photothermolysis. Lasers Surg Med. 2001;29(5):416-32. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11891730
- Preissig J, Hamilton K, Markus R. Current Laser Resurfacing Technologies: A Review that Delves Beneath the Surface. Semin Plast Surg. 2012 Aug;26(3):109-16. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580982/