Laser Skin Resurfacing (Glow Laser)
Laser resurfacing is an effective way of reversing the damaging effects of sun exposure, aging and lifestyle habits (such as smoking) on the quality, color and texture of your skin. Resurfacing lasers are either ablative or non-ablative. Ablative lasers use rapid pulses of high-intensity light to remove the damaged upper layers of your skin, thereby smoothing and tightening the skin, removing wrinkles, and correcting pigmentation problems. Non-ablative lasers are non-wounding and less invasive; they act by stimulating collagen growth and tightening the underlying skin.
When to Consider Laser Skin Resurfacing
– If your skin is sun-damaged with wrinkling around your eyes and mouth as well as skin laxity in your lower eyelid area
– If you have experienced irregular changes in your skin color, such as blotchiness or brown spots
– If you have scars that have made the surface of your skin uneven
– If you have certain precancerous skin growths
– Provides skin smoothing as well as skin tightening
– Relatively long-lasting improvements in skin quality and texture can be achieved
– Some devices allow treatment of facial skin as well as skin on the neck, chest and hands
– Abnormal healing with scarring and pigment changes are possible
– Can exacerbate skin disorders, including allergic reactions or cold sores
– The wrinkles caused by movement of your facial muscles will eventually reappear
Are you a good candidate for a laser skin resurfacing?
– You have leathery, sun-damaged skin with numerous fine wrinkles
– You have wrinkling around your eyes and skin laxity in your lower eyelid area
– You have vertical wrinkles around your mouth
– Your skin is blotchy with brown spots
– You have scars that have made the surface of your skin uneven
– You have certain precancerous skin growths
How is a laser skin resurfacing procedure performed?
Before the treatment begins, you will be provided with eye shields that will protect your corneas and retinas from the laser. During laser skin resurfacing a wand is passed over your skin and the resurfacing laser emits a very brief pulse of high intensity light that damages the upper layers of your skin. As your skin heals, healthier, younger looking tissue emerges.
These devices remove skin by creating a uniform injury to your skin, similar to a deeper chemical peel or dermabrasion. Thin layers of surface skin are removed with each pass of the wand. Many surgeons feel that this type of laser gives them greater control for the depth of injury than that which is seen with chemical peels or dermabrasion. These lasers are used for skin tightening, acne scarring, and wrinkle reduction.
These devices do not remove skin. Instead, as the laser is passed over the skin, the light causes a degree of heat damage to the skin’s upper or deeper layers. While these lasers remove some fine lines and wrinkles, results sometimes are not evident until months after the procedure.
These devices can be either ablative or nonablative. The laser “drills” tiny holes into the deeper layer of your skin, and your skin tightens by “connecting the dots.” While there is less surface injury with these lasers, there is a greater depth of injury. These devices are used to treat fine lines, deeper wrinkles, sun damage, acne scarring, and melasma (irregular brown spots).
Fine lines, coarse wrinkling or deep acne scarring may each require a different treatment approach. Therefore, depending on your skin type, the severity of sun damage, the extent of uneven pigmentation, and the depth of skin imperfections, your surgeon may recommend a combination therapy in which different resurfacing devices are used during the same treatment to improve your results. If you are having cosmetic) surgery, such as a facelift or eyelid surgery, you may be able to have a skin resurfacing procedure performed at the same time.
When the treatment is finished, your resurfaced skin may be covered with petroleum jelly or other protective ointment. In some cases, dressings, tape or a bandage may be applied.
How do I prepare for a laser skin resurfacing procedure?
– Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing
– Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications can cause increased bleeding
– Avoid unprotected sun exposure. Too much sun up to two months before the procedure can cause permanent irregular pigmentation in the treated areas. Discuss sun protection and acceptable sun exposure with your doctor.
– Discontinue topical skin care products that might increase the risk of complications from laser
– Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery
Laser skin resurfacing is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
Aftercare and Recovery
The first two weeks
– Depending on the post-treatment regimen selected by your surgeon, a scab may or may not form over the treated area
– Your new skin will begin to form
– The initial redness may have subsided, but your skin may still be pink
Week two to eight
– Your skin may still be pink
– Your surgeon will advise if camouflage makeup can be used
– Depending on the procedure and your surgeon’s advice, it will be safe to expose the treated area to direct sunlight
How Long Will the Results Last?
Because of the persistence of skin pinkness following resurfacing procedures, it may take months before you can fully appreciate your new look. Most patients feel that the results are definitely worth waiting for, and in the case of deeper treatments, the benefits are relatively long-lasting. Superficial resurfacing procedures may need to be repeated periodically in order to maintain their benefits.
Your skin will continue to age, and wrinkles caused by movement of your facial muscles will eventually reappear. Some wrinkles may recur sooner than others, depending on their location as well as the type and extent of your resurfacing treatment. Despite this, you can expect that improvements in skin quality and texture achieved by resurfacing will make your complexion appear younger and fresher for many years to come.
Limitations and Risks
– Abnormal healing
– Raised or thickened scars
– Unanticipated color changes or skin blotchiness
– Eruption of cold sores (herpes virus)