One of the best ways for reducing facial wrinkles, blemishes, acne scars and other skin issues is through laser resurfacing. A San Francisco facial plastic surgeon directs concentrated beams of light at the skin, accurately removing layer by layer. Laser resurfacing is a popular cosmetic procedure that’s also known as laser peel or laser vaporization.
Are You a Good Candidate for Laser Resurfacing?
Do you have wrinkles on any part of your face, shallow acne scars, or is your skin non-responsive to a facelift? You might be a good candidate for a laser resurfacing procedure. However, if you have acne or have very dark skin, the procedure might not be suitable. The technique is also unsuitable for stretch marks. Discuss whether laser resurfacing is the right option for you by consulting a qualified facial plastic surgeon.
How does it Work?
The most common types of lasers in laser resurfacing are carbon dioxide and erbium. Every laser vaporizes the skin cells, which are damaged on the surface.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing method has been used for years to correct different sin irregularities e.g., wrinkles, warts and scars. Fractionated CO2, which is the latest version, uses super-short pulsed light energy or continuous light beams to remove thin skin layers. It does so with minimal heat damage and recovery takes a maximum of two weeks.
On the other hand, Erbium laser resurfacing is meant for removing surface-level or moderately deep lines and wrinkles. The technique is beneficial as it has minimal burning on the surrounding tissue. It also has fewer side effects like swelling, redness and bruising, so the recovery time is faster than for CO2.
How to Prepare for Laser Resurfacing
Begin by consulting an expert plastic surgeon or dermatologist to establish whether you are a good fit. The physician will determine which type of laser treatment suits you best after looking at your health history, current status and desired results.
Notify the doctor if you notice cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. That’s because laser resurfacing can trigger skin breakouts in at risk persons.
If you choose to proceed, you’ll need to avoid medications or supplements that affect clotting ten days before the surgery. Additionally, if you smoke, you’ll need to stop for fourteen days before and after the treatment. Smoking can prolong the recovery time.
Your physician might prescribe an antibiotic before the procedure to prevent bacterial infections. He or she may also administer an antiviral medication if you’re susceptible to cold sores or fever blisters.
Here’s What You Can Expect
In general, laser resurfacing is an outpatient treatment, which means there are no overnight stays. Your physician might treat individual fine lines around your mouth, eyes or forehead, or deal with your whole face. If small areas are being treated, the doctor will numb them with a local anesthetic. You may be given general anesthesia if your entire face is receiving treatment.
If the surgeon is just treating parts of the face, the surgery will take 30-45 minutes. However, if it’s a full-face treatment, it might take up to two hours.
After the laser resurfacing, the physician will bandage the treated region(s). 24 hours after the procedure you’ll need to clean all the treated parts four-five times daily. After that, you’ll have to apply an ointment like petroleum jelly to avoid formation of scabs. Generally, full recovery takes ten to twenty-one days based on the condition that was combated.
It’s not unusual to experience swelling after laser resurfacing. The surgeon may prescribe steroids to keep the swelling under control. Sleeping on an additional pillow at night to elevate the head may also help to reduce swelling.