Who Should Consider Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing to a treatment that uses short, concentrated beams of light to remove layers of skin, resulting in reduction of facial wrinkles, blemishes, and acne scars. Your dermatologist at BHSkin in Beverly Hills, Glendale, or Encino may recommend this procedure if you are concerned about fine lines, wrinkles, or shallow acne scars on your face. A laser resurfacing procedure can be used to smooth out pigment irregularities in your complexion. The procedure is also useful for tightening loose skin after a facelift.
Laser skin resurfacing is not recommended to people who currently have acne, and it can result in blotchiness or unevenness when it is used on people with a dark complexion.
What Are the Different Type of Laser Treatments?
There are several different types of lasers that are used to direct short pulses of intense light to your skin. The heat generated by the laser will vaporize damaged skin cells at the surface of your skin.
One type of laser is known as a fractionated CO2 laser, and it has been around for several years. A fractionated CO2 laser uses either continuous scanning light beams or short pulse light energy (ultrapulse), resulting in vaporization of thin layers of skin with very little damage. Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing is useful to treat scars, wrinkles, and enlarged oil glands on the face.
An erbium laser causes less burning to the surrounding tissue, and as a result, swelling, bruising, and redness are minimized. An erbium laser can remove both surface-level and deeper lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck, and the chest.
What Can I Expect?
If you decide to treat your superficial wrinkles or irregular pigmentation with laser skin resurfacing, you can expect to begin treatment with some topical medications several weeks before the procedure. These medications include hydroquinone gel, which is used to lighten pigment, a topical retinol complex, and hydrocortisone cream, which reduces inflammation. Your doctor will also treat you with oral antibiotics and an anti-viral medication to prevent an infection from occurring after your procedure. This is particularly important if you have cold sores, which are caused by a virus.
Before your procedure, you will have to avoid medications that affect clotting, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and vitamin E. Your doctor will ask you to stop smoking two weeks before your procedure, which will help your recovery. You should also abstain from alcohol for a week before your appointment.
Laser resurfacing is performed in our offices in Beverly Hills, Glendale, or Encino. Our doctors may recommend treatment of the entire face, or only treatment of individual areas, including wrinkles areas around the eyes, forehead, or mouth. The doctor will apply a topical numbing medicine to the areas that will be treated. He may use a local anesthetic. The doctor may also give you a sedative to help you relax. For larger areas, such as treatment of the entire face, some doctors will sometimes decide to give you a general anesthetic before performing your laser skin resurfacing procedure.
Treatment time can range from thirty minutes, for small areas, to two hours for the entire face. After you are treated, your doctor at BHSkin will apply topical ointment to the treated area. Twenty four hours after your treatment, you will begin to clean the treated area four or five times each day, applying an ointment like petroleum jelly to prevent scabs from forming. Healing will take from 7 to 14 days.
You can expect swelling, redness, itching, and some discomfort after your procedure. To minimize swelling, the doctors at BHSkin may prescribe steroids. You should elevate your head at night, using an extra pillow, to help with swelling. You can also apply ice packs to the treated areas for the first 24 hours. This will help reduce your swelling. After 5 days, your skin will dry out and begin to peel. The redness will usually fade after 6 weeks to 3 months, depending upon the procedure. Some patients will have redness for up to six months, but using a good oil-free make-up, particularly one with a green base, to neutralize the color, can minimize this.
After your procedure, you will have to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or above, and you should avoid directly sunlight, particularly between 10 am and 2 pm. You should keep your skin well moisturized, and you can probably resume using any Retin A or glycolic acid skin care products about six weeks after your laser resurfacing procedure.
If you are considering a laser skin resurfacing procedure, the doctors at BHSkin can advise you of your options, and together you can find the best solution for your skin care needs. Call 310-205-3555 or 818-914-7546 today for a consultation with a one of our top dermatologists at BHSkin in Beverly Hills, Glendale, or Encino.