Laser Skin Resurfacing
You are still active and you feel great. But, the effects of time, sun, wind and toxins in our air have taken their toll on the appearance of your skin. It's not as smooth as it was when you were younger.
You would like your friends and family to see you the way you feel inside. For many of us, this requires reversing the visible signs of aging, those years of fun in the sun.
In the past your options included chemical peels, dermabrasion or the use of temporary fillers.
Now there is another revolutionary procedure available. Laser skin resurfacing.
Q. What is laser skin resurfacing ?
The CO2 laser is the ultimate technology for aesthetic skin resurfacing. Laser skin resurfacing is designed to remove superficial wrinkles around the eyes, lips, forehead and cheeks seen in aging skin. Facial scars and sun-damaged skin are also excellent candidates for this treatment.
Q. What areas can be treated ?
Deep laugh and frown creases can be softened, some acne and surgical scars can be minimised, fine lines around the eyes and mouth can be smoothed. The laser can also be used in conjunction with face lifts and eyelid surgery to smooth any fine lines that would normally remain.
Good candidates for skin resurfacing are : -
- People with wrinkled or sun damaged skin on the face
- Brown spots or blotchy skin coloring
- Fine wrinkles on their upper eyelid
- Acne or other facial scars
- Certain skin growths
- Vertical wrinkles around your mouth
- Crows feet
- Superficial facial scars
When Laser Skin Resurfacing May Not Be Appropriate
Not everyone is a candidate. It may take people with olive, suntanned or black skin six to nine months to regain their normal pigmentation after treatment. Others who do not make good candidates include those who are prone to scarring, are taking certain medications or have a skin disorder. Your dermatologist will evaluate your skin to determine if you are a candidate for laser skin resurfacing.
Choosing laser skin surgery
You will want to explain to your physician the level of skin improvement you hope to achieve. The doctor will then review your medical history and examine your skin type and pigmentation to determine if you are a good candidate for laser skin surgery. Don't forget to mention any history of viral infections, sensitivity to the sun, or prior skin treatments such as skin peels, dermabrasion or Accutane treatments within the past six months.
Together you can discuss your options, evaluate your expectations and determine the best treatment for you.
The laser gives your physician precise control over the natural exfoliation process as it gently vaporizes the outer layer of sun-damaged or acne-scarred skin to reveal the smooth, fresh skin underneath. Lines are removed in a precise, rapid, bloodless fashion, achieving excellent results.
Laser skin resurfacing can be performed with local anesthesia if limited areas are treated, while full face resurfacing is usually performed with the administration of intravenous sedation by an anesthesiologist. Both procedures may be performed in your doctor's office. With this new technology, treatment can be tailored to achieve our patients' expectations.
Generally, recovery time with laser skin resurfacing is rapid and gentle.
During the first few days after your procedure, your skin will weep, as new collagen is formed to rebuild the skin from the bottom up. Some crusting may develop as a new skin surface is formed. We will prescribe ointment to keep the treated areas moist, and in most cases, bandages will be required during the first 48 hours.
Your new skin will have a reddish quality which fades in a few weeks. This redness can be covered with cosmetics until it completely disappears. Some temporary swelling may occur around the eyes, and there is some risk of pigmentation disturbance with darker skin types.
The full effect of your treatment develops over a few months following the procedure and can be expected to last for several years. As with any cosmetic procedure, the results can be expected to fade over time, at which time the procedure can be repeated.
Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth are removed, while the deeper frown lines and grooves are softened. Once the outer layer of skin has been removed, the new skin beneath reveals a softer, smoother, more youthful appearance. Many patients say our laser can erase up to ten years in a little more than an hour.
Benefits of laser resurfacing over chemical peels and dermabrasion : -
- The laser causes less scarring, bleeding and bruising.
- Laser surgery requires shorter recovery time than traditional treatments.
- A level of control can be achieved that is difficult with other treatments.
- Your physician can visually judge the effect of the treatment as it is performed.
- The treatment seems to be more predictable and safer.
Risks and Complications
Milia, which are small white bumps, may appear in the laser-treated areas during healing. These may be removed by gentle cleansing with a washcloth.
Hyperpigmentation, and more rarely hypopigmentation, may result in the laser-treated areas. In general, the hyperpigmented areas may be treated with bleaching cream to speed fading of the pigment.
Reactivation of a herpes simplex cold sore may occur, especially after laser skin resurfacing around the mouth. You can prevent this by asking your doctor for an antiviral medication, which you can begin taking before your surgery and continue taking 7 to 10 days after laser resurfacing.
You can also prevent bacterial infections by taking an antibiotic prior to the surgery and continuing to take it for 7 to 10 days afterwards.
You should expect swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Oral steroids can be prescribed to manage swelling around the eyes.
Patients are encouraged to sleep on an extra pillow at night to help reduce the swelling after laser resurfacing. Ice pack application is also helpful in the first 24 to 48 hours.
Scarring after laser skin resurfacing, although very rare, may occur in laser-treated areas.
Cessation of smoking is highly recommended because smoking is known to have harmful effects on the healing process..
As with any medical procedure there can be side effects. There will be an initial redness which will fade in a few weeks to light pink, this is easily camouflaged with cosmetics and usually disappears completely in one to three months. Some swelling may occur and rarely there may be a change in skin pigmentation in treated areas (lightening or darkening).
For more information, medical assessment and medical quote
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