Our skin is an amazing organ…protecting our bodies, renewing itself, and constantly adapting to our environments and ever evolving lifestyles. It tells us when we’re cold, senses when something is too hot, and even reveals when we’re spooked!
As adaptable as this largest organ on our bodies is, the skin develops limits to what it can do for us as we age. Blame the constant stresses of weather, the sun, lifestyle, age, pollution and more. Lines, wrinkles, sun damage, changes in pigmentation, and dull skin can crop up over time, affecting the overall appearance of the face. Before you know it, you’re wearing a perpetually tired, aged, haggard expression.
Laser resurfacing — also known as a “laser peel” — is a classic skin treatment that uses the light from a laser to remove damaged, dull skin, allowing fresh, new skin to emerge in the weeks following the procedure. Patients can look forward to refreshed, rejuvenated, more youthful skin with the bonus of stimulating the skin’s own collagen. It’s also an effective tool against acne scars and blemishes. The treatment can be fairly invasive, but most patients feel the results are worth the downtime involved.
There are lots of different skin treatments for facial rejuvenation, but laser resurfacing is one of the most comprehensive skin treatments available. Some of the most powerful lasers can make patients look years younger and restore the skin’s vibrancy. Many patients report feeling more confident after the procedure and enjoy long-lasting results that slow down the aging process.
If you are considering laser resurfacing, schedule a consultation with a top-tier doctor at our Miami-based mia Aesthetics clinic to discuss your goals for laser resurfacing. Skin rejuvenation is a highly customized process, and the doctor may recommend a different treatment or a combination of procedures. Once you discuss your concerns and goals for the treatment, the doctor will evaluate your candidacy, skin type, and other factors before recommending a treatment plan tailored to you.
Your consultation is an important step because it allows you and the doctor to assess your personal goals and determine whether or not laser resurfacing is right for you. You’ll also get to ask all your questions about the procedure, risk and recovery time before you move forward. This is also your time to get to know your doctor and establish trust and rapport.
While laser resurfacing is an extremely effective and popular treatment, it’s not the right choice for everyone who wants it. Ideal candidates enjoy generally good health and are non-smokers unhappy with the onset of mild to moderate facial wrinkles, dull skin, facial scars, pigmentation issues, and overall facial aging. Patients with sagging skin or severe folds and wrinkles may want to instead consider a surgical procedure, like a facelift, because laser resurfacing is not optimal for treating those signs of aging. Sometimes, a facelift is done in conjunction with laser resurfacing. Again, this depends entirely on the individual patient’s condition and goals.
Prospective patients should have realistic expectations for the results of laser resurfacing and need to be willing to follow all surgeon instructions for pre- and post-operative care to promote great results and prevent complications.
The anesthesia used in the procedure will depend on the type of laser and extent of the areas to be treated. For a full face treatment with CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers, patients are typically put under general anesthesia for safety and comfort.
Once the patient anesthetized, the mia Aesthetics surgeon will deliver light energy to the selected area(s) of the face using a laser tool. The laser carefully removes old, damaged layers of skin in a precise and controlled manner, allowing old skin to peel off in the days following treatment and reveal bright, new skin. Once the process is complete, the surgeon will apply dressings to the face to protect it while it heals.
The extent of recovery from laser resurfacing depends largely on the extent of the procedure, but most patients need to dedicate 1-2 weeks to resting and recovering before resuming normal activities like returning to work. Patients will need to keep the skin hydrated, gently cleanse the treated area, use prescribed medications, and change dressings as directed by their surgeon to promote proper, speedy healing. Strenuous activity like vigorous exercise must be put on hold for several weeks. And the head should be kept elevated for the first 48 hours after resurfacing.
The skin will start to gradually heal, with swelling and redness subsiding over several weeks. Some pinkness may persist for a few months, but you can cover it up with makeup. Patients will need to keep the skin moisturized and use sunscreen religiously in the months following treatment, because the skin will be vulnerable to sun damage and hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). Using sunblock and hats becomes all the more important in sunny places like Miami.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
Laser resurfacing is an invasive procedure requiring a great deal of skill on the part of the plastic surgeon, so it’s extremely important to make an informed decision about who will perform your procedure. Doing your research, asking questions, and meeting only with skilled, reputable surgeons will help ensure your experience is positive and successful.
Laser Resurfacing FAQs
Is laser resurfacing safe for all skin types?
People with various skin types undergo successful laser resurfacing all the time, but the procedure can be risky for people with darker skin. It’s important to discuss those risks with your surgeon before moving forward. Complications can include irregularities in skin pigmentation, so you should understand your risk profile before proceeding with the treatment. That’s why we encourage you to do your research and be ready with questions for your doctor. If laser resurfacing is not the best option for you, alternative facial rejuvenation treatments may be available. Again, that’s when you can rely on your research and your doctor’s expertise.
When can I use makeup after laser resurfacing?
Once the old skin has peeled off and the new skin is healed, you may start wearing makeup again. This typically happens at about the same time you can return to work and normal activities. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on when it is safe to wear makeup again.
How long will the results of the treatment last?
The longevity of laser resurfacing depends on a variety of factors, including the extent of the procedure, your lifestyle (smoking, drinking, diet, sleep, exercise, sun prevention), your environment, and good old genetics. If you live a healthy lifestyle and work to prevent sun damage and other skin stressors, you can enjoy the beautiful results of laser resurfacing for years. That said, it is important to note that the procedure can somewhat slow aging down, but doesn’t stop it altogether.
Are there risks to laser resurfacing?
As with any major procedure, there are some risks associated with laser resurfacing. Any risk is minimized by choosing the right surgeon and following all before and aftercare instructions. Potential complications include:
- Bacterial infection
- Prolonged swelling and redness
- Cold sore flares
- Milia (small white bumps)
Can laser resurfacing be combined with other treatments?
Absolutely. Many patients have additional skin concerns that cannot be addressed with laser resurfacing alone. As long as your surgeon deems it safe, cosmetic treatments can be combined to achieve comprehensive results for you. These treatments may or may not be performed on the same day as the resurfacing procedure. A facelift is one of the procedures often combined with laser resurfacing. It all boils down to your skin’s condition and your personal goals to determine what treatment or treatment combo is right for you.