Laser skin resurfacing is a nonsurgical treatment that has been proven to help reduce wrinkles, acne scars, age spots, and other blemishes and helped women and men alike attain tighter skin and a more balanced skin tone. Lasers are used in many different skincare treatments and vary widely in how your skin reacts to them making it difficult to research any given treatment. Before you choose laser skin resurfacing as the treatment for you, you should know the following things first.
Believe it or not, “laser” is actually an acronym standing for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. These gadgets operate by emitting a narrow beam of a single wavelength or color of light.
Laser skin resurfacing uses a technique that directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin, removing skin layer by layer. It is also commonly referred to as lasabrasion, laser vaporization, or laser peel.
It is a common myth that laser skin resurfacing is only safe on light skin tones. While there are some lasers that pose a higher risk for cell damage or discoloration in darker skin, there are laser skin resurfacing options that are safe and effective. Patients with darker skin may want to consider other skin resurfacing options such as microneedling or radio-frequency treatments.
The best thing you can do to ensure you have a safe and effective treatment is to consult with an experienced provider who has extensive training and knowledge in laser treatments.
You should always be upfront and honest with your provider about your medical history and any medications or supplements you take on a regular basis. For instance, acne medications that contain isotretinoin like Accutane can cause poor healing or scarring after laser skin resurfacing. Over-the-counter medicines like aspirin can lead to an increased risk of post-procedure bleeding so it’s important that you listen to your provider’s instructions on what medications are safe to take before or after your procedure. Diabetes and other chronic conditions can also affect safe and effective laser skin resurfacing.
Fall is actually considered “laser season” because laser-treated skin is hypersensitive to sun exposure for up to a year after treatment. Therefore, many cosmetic surgeons will recommend undergoing laser skin resurfacing during the fall or winter months when you are spending more time indoors and daytime hours are fewer.
No matter what time of year you choose to get your laser treatment done, ensure you are wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapplying throughout the day. This helps to ensure the best results, helps to protect against skin cancer, and prevent premature aging.
In some cases, a single laser skin resurfacing will take care of a patient’s concerns. But, as is the case with most non-ablative lasers, a series of treatments are needed to produce the most satisfying results. Once the treatment sequence is complete, however, the results are long-lasting.
Laser treatments are generally non-surgical and typically don’t require downtime but it depends entirely on the type of laser that is used in addition to the individual’s health and healing rate. Non-ablative lasers typically require no downtime while ablative lasers can require a 2-3 week healing process. These guidelines are not to say that you have to stay at home for those 3 weeks but you can expect your skin to be raw, red, and scabbed over as it heals. You will need to adjust your schedule and activities to avoid situations that can exacerbate the healing process or cause infection such as going to the gym, swimming, etc.
Patients and doctors alike will often compare the sensation from a laser treatment to a rubber band snapping against the skin. But the sensation depends on the laser, the depth, the area of treatment, and the individual’s pain tolerance.
Certain ablative laser treatments may require local anesthetic injections or mild sedatives to keep a patient comfortable during the treatment. Non-ablative laser treatments generally cause little-to-no pain and require only topical numbing cream.
When it comes to laser skin treatments, you want to put your care in the hands of a highly trained and highly knowledgeable professional. In the wrong hands, lasers can be ineffective and even dangerous. Contact us today to learn more about laser skin resurfacing with Virginia Surgical Arts. Our state-of-the-art surgical facility is located in beautiful Virginia Beach and offers a full selection of award-winning facial cosmetic surgery, professional skin care, and oral surgery services.