Laser Skin Resurfacing
What is laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure that uses a laser to improve the appearance of skin. The laser emits high-energy light that is absorbed by the skin, causing it to heat up to stimulate the production of new collagen fibers, and may also remove the surface of the skin to improve its tone and texture depending on the patient’s goals and the type of laser used. The result is a smoother, more youthful-looking skin surface due to the restoration of collagen, a key structural support of smooth skin.
What are the two main types of laser skin resurfacing?
There are two main types of laser skin resurfacing: ablative and non-ablative.
- Ablative laser resurfacing is the gold standard treatment for skin rejuvenation. It works by vaporizing the targeted damage, stimulating the growth of new skin and promoting new collagen production for long-term tissue remodeling. As the new collagen develops it smooths fine lines and wrinkles from within. The result is smoother, firmer and tighter skin.
Ablative laser skin resurfacing targets sun damage, age spots, texture problems, dullness, crepey skin, fine lines, deeper wrinkles, acne and other scars, enlarged pores and other skin imperfections. It involves the use of a laser to remove the outer layers of the skin, revealing the smoother, younger-looking skin beneath. Recovery time for this procedure can be several weeks. Post-treatment care is vital to reduce the risk of complications.
- Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing is a less invasive procedure that uses a laser to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. This type of resurfacing is typically used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, and there is little to no downtime after the procedure. You may need more than one laser treatment to achieve your aesthetic goals.
Ablative laser skin resurfacing can help improve the appearance of a wide range of skin imperfections.
What are the risks and benefits of laser skin resurfacing?
The risks and benefits depend on the type of laser used. The benefits of ablative laser skin resurfacing:
- Improved appearance: The procedure can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, sun damage, and other imperfections on the skin.
- Increased collagen production: Ablative laser skin resurfacing can stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that helps keep the skin firm, tight and elastic, leading to a more youthful appearance.
- Long-lasting results: The results of ablative laser skin resurfacing can last for several years, especially with proper skin care and sun protection.
The risks of ablative laser skin resurfacing:
- Pain: The procedure can be painful and may require the use of topical anesthesia or numbing cream.
- Redness and swelling: The treated area may become red and swollen for several days after the procedure.
- Infection: There is a risk of infection, especially if proper aftercare is not followed.
- Scarring: In rare cases, the procedure may lead to scarring, especially in individuals who are prone to scarring.
- Changes in skin color: The procedure can cause changes in skin color, especially in individuals with darker skin tones.
- Sensitivity to the sun: After the procedure, the treated area may be more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Ablative laser skin resurfacing can provide significant benefits for individuals looking to improve the appearance of their skin. However, it is important to carefully consider the risks and potential complications before undergoing the procedure.
What are the risks and benefits of a non-ablative laser skin resurfacing?
The risks of non-ablative skin resurfacing:
- Unlike ablative laser skin resurfacing, non-ablative laser treatments do not remove the top layer of skin, so risks are lower. Non-ablative laser treatments are less invasive than ablative laser treatments, which means that recovery time is shorter, with little to no downtime.
- Reduced risk of complications: non-ablative laser treatments are less aggressive, so there is a lower risk of complications such as scarring, infection, and changes in skin color.
- Improved appearance: non-ablative laser skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other skin imperfections, resulting in a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion.
- Long-lasting results: The results of non-ablative laser skin resurfacing can last for several months to a year, depending on the individual and the severity of the skin condition.
What are some of the risks associated with non-ablative laser skin resurfacing?
- Mild discomfort: non-ablative laser treatments may cause mild discomfort, but this can typically be managed with topical anesthesia or cooling during the treatment.
- Multiple treatments required: non-ablative laser treatments typically require multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.
- Limited effectiveness: non-ablative laser skin resurfacing may not be as effective as ablative laser skin resurfacing for more severe skin conditions.
- Temporary side effects: The treated area may be red, swollen, or slightly bruised for a few days after the treatment, but these side effects typically resolve on their own.
- Sun sensitivity: After the treatment, the treated area may be more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage.
Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing can provide significant benefits for individuals looking to improve the appearance of their skin without the risks and downtime associated with ablative laser treatments.
At your aesthetic consultation with Dr. Crosby at Coastal Skin and Eye Institute in San Diego, California, it is important to discuss your concerns and aesthetic goals. He will listen to your concerns, evaluate your skin and explain the potential risks and benefits of both ablative and non-ablative laser skin resurfacing.