Laser skin resurfacing is an effective nonsurgical skin rejuvenation treatment that reverses the effects of sun damaged skin and improves fine lines and lightens skin blemishes and irregularities. This in-office procedure incorporates laser beams of light and heat to target trouble areas and imperfections on the face, gently stripping away damaged skin. Oklahoma City plastic surgeon, Dr. Clinton Webster, is proud to offer patients a variety of laser treatments according to their specific skin type and needs. Our office utilizes the advanced Core C02 Fractional laser, the 570 and 1064 wavelength laser treatment, as well as the Fraxel CO2. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Webster will recommend the appropriate laser treatment, and may also suggest combining this treatment with another nonsurgical procedure such as BOTOX or an injectable filler.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure Technique
Laser skin resurfacing removes the outer layer of skin and heats the underlying layer to stimulate growth of new collagen fibers. During this process, damaged skin cells on the outer layer are stripped away, leaving a new layer of healthy skin to grow. If small sections of the face are being addressed, the procedure will typically take about 45 minutes. A full-face treatment, or larger areas of skin, can take up to 2 hours. Multiple sessions are sometimes needed to attain the desired results.
Ablation vs. Non-ablation
Laser skin resurfacing is either ablative or non-ablative. During an ablative procedure, an intense beam of laser light energy is directed at the skin, removing the outer thin layers. This process generally results in a longer recovery. The results, however, can be a bit more dramatic. A non-ablative laser does not remove any layers of skin. Instead, it stimulates the growth of collagen, which helps tighten underlying skin. This process offers a lighter recovery. Results will not be immediate, but will appear over the course of multiple appointments.
Considered the gold standard among many practitioners is CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser resurfacing. This is an ablative method, which removes both the epidermis and some of the underlying dermis to promote collagen growth so new, healthy skin can thrive. Examples include the Sciton Laser Skin Resurfacing System, the UltraPulse CO2 and the Fraxel re:pair (fractional CO2) lasers. These are newer generation lasers that deliver short-pulse light energy as well as continuous light beams to produce customized results for each patient’s specific needs.
Laser Skin Resurfacing During/After the Procedure
Some mild swelling will occur after a laser resurfacing treatment. It is common for the face to have crust and scaling as it heals. The treated area may appear red or pink for several weeks. Normal activities can usually resume within a couple of weeks. Patients who have sensitive skin or who have had adverse reactions to facial products may have increased side effects. Laser skin resurfacing will leave the face exposed with a new layer of healthy, yet sensitive, skin. It’s advised to wear sunscreen every day and limit sun exposure as much as possible.
Can It Damage Your Skin?
This procedure was created to improve the appearance of the skin. However, an inexperienced individual can damage the skin unintentionally. It is important to find a laser skin resurfacing professional who understands how the various laser technologies interact with different skin types. If done correctly, the results can be effective and long-lasting.
While laser skin resurfacing does not stop the aging process, the results can still be long-lasting. As patients continue to age, they may consider additional treatments.
Ablative or Non-ablative?
While one is not better than the other, they have varying degrees of intensity and recovery. Both techniques provide nice results. During your initial consultation, we will discuss which is best for you. Factors include the patient’s aesthetic goals, skin type and how much downtime can be tolerated.