If aging, acne, or too much time in the sun has left your face with blotches, scars, wrinkles, or lines, laser skin resurfacing may help your skin look younger and healthier.
This procedure removes skin layer by layer with great precision. This stimulates the growth of new skin cells giving skin a tighter, younger-looking surface. One of the best things about laser skin resurfacing is that it can be done alone or you can do it with other facial procedures.
Important Preparation Tips:
- Tell your doctor if you get fever blisters around your mouth as this procedure can trigger breakouts. If you decide to go forward with it, your physician can prescribe a medication to help prevent this.
- Don’t take any medications or natural supplements that can interfere with blood clotting such as aspirin, NSAIDs or vitamin E within 10 days of your surgery.
- Smokers will need to stop for two weeks before and after the procedure. (This may be a good point to just stop altogether!)
What to Expect During and After:
The procedure is outpatient so it does not require an overnight stay, but may require general anesthesia if your entire face is being treated. For smaller areas, you will be treated with a local anesthetic. If you are treating smaller areas, the procedure takes up to 45 minutes. A full-face treatment can take up to two hours.
Afterward, the treated areas will be bandaged. Once 24 hours had passed, you will need to clean the treated areas four to five times per day and then cover with petroleum jelly to prevent scabs from forming. Expect swelling, but if it impedes your vision, your doctor can prescribe steroids. Sleeping slightly propped up is also helpful if you prefer to skip the meds.
Within 12 - 72 hours, you may begin to feel stinging or itching. And then once you hit the five to seven-day mark, your skin will become very flaky and peel. Depending on the skin issue that was treated, healing typically takes 10 to 21 days. Once the skin heals, you can wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness, which usually fades in two to three months. We suggest a high-quality mineral powder makeup to minimize the chance for clogged pores.
You will also probably notice that your skin is a shade or two lighter for a while after surgery. It is particularly important that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your new skin from sun damage.When selecting a sunscreen, look for one specially formulated for use on the face with a 7% (or higher) zinc oxide content and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Benefits and Risks:
Your skin won’t be perfect, but it will be greatly improved! Uneven skin tone, dark spots and superficial acne scars will be a thing of the past! Your skin will also be more firm to the touch which also lends a youthful appearance.
Unfortunately, there are always risks involved with facial procedures. They are uncommon and typically not serious, but we want you to be fully armed with all the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.
Potential risks of the procedure include:
- Burns or other injuries from the laser's heat
- Changes in the skin's pigmentation, including areas of darker or lighter skin
- Reactivating herpes cold sores
- Bacterial infection
The average cost for laser skin resurfacing is about $2,330, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, costs vary widely depending on where the procedure is being done. Because laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, most medical insurance companies will not cover it. There may be an exception if you get the procedure to modify scars or remove precancerous growths on your skin. Talk with your doctor and your insurance company before the procedure about what the costs will be and what, if anything, insurance will pay for. Most doctors offer financing options.