Laser skin resurfacing is one option may people explore when they want to improve the appearance of wrinkles, lines, blotches, or scars caused by acne, too much sun exposure, aging, or other skin damage. Laser skin resurfacing works by removing layers of skin, thereby encouraging the growth of new skin cells and resulting in younger-looking, tighter, and smoother skin. This may be the only procedure done, or it may be done at the same time as other cosmetic procedures.
Specific areas of the skin can be targeted with laser skin resurfacing, such as laugh lines, smoker’s lines, crow’s feet, acne scars, or frown furrows, or the entire face may be treated for the most dramatic results. The procedure is also used in some cases to remove warts, pre-cancerous lesions, benign tumors, and certain skin cancers.
It’s important to understand that this procedure works by first creating a wound, and the skin’s natural healing processes work to form new, fresher-looking skin. During healing, this wound must be cared for like any other wound to ensure the best results.
If you think laser skin resurfacing may be right for you, the first step is to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options. If it is determined that you are a good candidate, there are several things you can do right off the bat to ensure that you get the results you want.
First, make sure to follow your doctor’s pre-procedure instructions. He or she will probably counsel you to avoid taking things like ibuprofen and vitamin E, which can affect clotting. You should also avoid smoking, which delays the healing process and exacerbates scarring. In addition, your doctor will probably want you to take an antibiotic, which is important in preventing infection – another factor that affects scarring and final results.
Laser skin resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will not have an overnight hospital stay. You may receive local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the area being treated and your and your doctor’s preferences.
After the procedure some patients need light dressings, but most are just instructed to use topical hydrating ointments instead of true bandages. Generally, after the first day, you will be instructed to clean the treated areas several times a day and apply an ointment to prevent scabs, which worsen scarring. Moisture is an important part of the healing process.
To maximize your results, stay out of the sun or, at a minimum, use sunscreen every time you go outside. A scar treatment can also minimize your risk of developing lasting scars from the procedure and improve your overall result. Choose one that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, and avoid those that contain questionable ingredients such as hydroquinone.
The skin may take up to three weeks to heal. The skin will typically have a pink appearance that may last for several weeks. This can be easily covered with makeup, but be sure to apply your scar treatment before your makeup, as it does its best work when applied directly to your skin. Swelling is normal and using an extra pillow or two at night to sleep in a more upright position can help.
Laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective procedure and many people who choose it are thrilled with the results. Combine it with an effective scar therapy and impeccable adherence to your doctor’s instructions for younger, smoother, more beautiful skin.
Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.
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