Laser skin resurfacing is a simple cosmetic procedure that uses intense light to improve your skin. Application of a laser can help to reduce acne scars, wrinkles, blemishes, hyper-pigmentation, age spots, scars, stretch marks, bumps, sun damage, and sagging skin or skin tags. Most commonly used on the hands, face, and chest, regular treatments can also restore a youthful appearance by stimulating collagen in your skin.
Invasive vs. non-invasive laser treatment
Medical lasers typically fall into two categories, ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers are invasive, and are used in plastic surgery for certain treatments. They tend to strip, or remove, the top layer of your skin, which leaves the surface reddened until your skin cells repair themselves.
Non-ablative lasers are not considered invasive. They utilize heat to stimulate thickening of the collagen, which promotes better elasticity and skin tone. They will not remove any skin, so there is less risk of redness and swelling, and a faster recovery time.
A cosmetic laser emits either short pulses of light or a continuous beam depending on what’s required to treat your skin. Your surgeon will remove thin layers of skin, bit by bit, until they reach a point where scars or other imperfections are less visible. Usually emollients are applied afterward to moisturize and protect the affected area until new, healthy skin grows back.
How Does Resurfacing Work?
You skin is composed of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. Each is specialized in its way. Lasers of different strengths can be used to affect all three layers. Lasers can vaporize dead or damaged cells on the surface, which can not only reduce scars and blemishes but evens out the surface and helps to reduce pigment variation for smoother, more even skin tone on the surface. The photothermal energy can also help to shrink enlarged blood vessels. Non-ablative lasers can affect the deeper tissues where collagen is produced, leading to thicker, firmer skin. Your surgeon will know exactly which types of treatment are needed to address your particular skin type and precisely calibrate treatments to your needs.
Who Needs Laser Resurfacing?
For both men and women, laser treatments are commonly used to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, most often around the eyes and mouth, as well as remove scars and blemishes. Laser resurfacing is increasingly popular as it’s more effective, safe, easier, and often more affordable than other types of cosmetic techniques. You can conveniently schedule laser sessions with your surgeon on an outpatient basis.
Laser resurfacing is the perfect solution for those who want healthier, clearer skin, but wish to treat only minor problems that don’t justify the trouble and expense of traditional plastic surgery. Lasers make it possible for a trained surgeon to be very precise and delicate in administering treatment.
Candidates for laser treatments include patients of any age. The best outcomes come for those with healthy, fair, non-oily skin, though your surgeon can treat virtually any skin type. It is generally not recommended for those who are already battling severe acne or other serious skin problems.
Lasers and Healthier Skin
Lasers are also used to stimulate production of collagen within the skin to restore younger, healthier cells.
Collagen is an essential form of protein that helps bind our tissues together. It gives your skin its strength and elasticity. As your age, your skin tends to lose collagen, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Habits like smoking, poor diet, and excessive exposure to sun only add to the effect.
However, the laser heats water within the epidermis, or outer layer of cells, removing the damaged skin on the surface. This will stimulate new collagen production. Treatments can be customized to each patient’s needs and different areas of the body. But the result is a younger, healthier skin as dead cells are stripped away and new cells take their place.
Laser Resurfacing and Recovery
Every patient’s experience is likely to be unique, depending on what treatments are performed, the age and condition of the skin, and individual reactions. The amount of time needed for recovery can vary widely.
For most patients, however, the effect is no more severe than mild sunburn. Some tenderness, swelling, and redness may persist for days. It depends on the type of laser used and the depth of your treatment. Within about a week or so, the skin may also become very dry and start to peel. Your doctor may recommend certain creams or lotions, but in all cases you can speed recovery by keeping the affected areas clean, moisturized, and covered up when in the sunlight.
To know more about laser skin resurfacing procedure, you can visit Dr. Rucker’s website. Dr. Joseph W. Rucker Jr. is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in various surgical and non-invasive treatments for facial rejuvenation at his private practice in Wisconsin.