The skin undergoes several changes over time due to prolonged sun exposure and old age. As you advance in age, you may notice that your skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Wrinkles and fine lines form, and you may also have sun-damaged skin. These skin issues alter your appearance and make you look older. While you can’t evade aging, Leslie Forrester APRN uses laser resurfacing to improve your skin’s appearance and treat minor facial flaws.
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What is laser resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure that harnesses the power of laser energy to help with skin tightening, blemishes, acne scars, and sun spots, leaving your skin smooth and younger-looking. The procedure can be done with an ablative or a non-ablative laser treatment.
An ablative laser removes the top layer of your skin (epidermis) and heats the dermis to encourage collagen growth. Collagen is a natural protein in your body that improves skin firmness and texture. Its production declines with age, but this procedure promotes the development of collagen fibers, giving you a younger-looking appearance. As the bruised epidermis heals, the new skin that grows is usually smoother and tighter. The various ablative laser treatments include an erbium laser, carbon dioxide laser, and combination systems.
A non-ablative laser is a non-aggressive approach; it focuses on the dermis and causes minor epidermal damage. It uses a light source to stimulate collagen growth. Although this approach has a shorter recovery time, the results are less noticeable. Examples of non-ablative laser treatments include intense pulsed light therapy, pulsed-dye laser, and erbium.
How safe is laser resurfacing?
Laser side effects can cause various side effects, but they are less likely to occur with non-ablative approaches. For example, you may have redness, swelling, itching, and pain on the treated skin immediately after the procedure. Some people have more of a burning sensation rather than itching. The redness can be short-lived or intense and last for several months.
Using an ablative laser increases the risk of an infection since the approach involves removing the sin epidermis. The wound can be an entryway for bacteria and germs, leading to a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. A flare-up of the herpes virus is the most common infection that may occur. Most people who experience the flare-up already have the herpes virus, only that it is dormant in the skin.
Some people notice changes in skin color after laser resurfacing. The treated skin can become darker than it was (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation). These changes can be permanent or temporary; permanent changes are likely to occur with dark brown or black skin. Discussing your provider will help establish the laser resurfacing technique that reduces this risk.
Who is eligible for laser resurfacing?
Not everyone may benefit from laser resurfacing; if you are considering this treatment, consult your specialist to ensure it is suitable. Your doctor may caution against laser resurfacing if:
- You have previously had laser resurfacing
- You have a history of keloids
- Your immune system is weak, or you have a connective tissue or autoimmune disease
- You have taken acne medication during the past year
- You have frequent cold sore or herpes breakouts
- Your skin is very tanned
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
Consult your provider at Wrinkle Fairy to know how you can benefit from laser resurfacing.
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