Laser skin resurfacing is one of the most effective ways to treat age spots, wrinkles, acne scars, and other skin imperfections. It also helps tighten skin and even out the skin color. Though the treatment is widely popular yet there is so much to know about it. In order to make you aware about the Laser skin resurfacing, here are top eight things that you need to know.
1. Time of Taking the Treatment Matters
It is recommended to take the laser treatment during suitable time. As per dermatologists, autumn is considered “laser season”. This is the time when skin is least exposed to sun and can be well-protected. Laser- treated skin is hypersensitive to sun exposure for up to a year. This is why it is recommended to take laser resurfacing during either winter of fall months because people tend to spend more time indoors during this time.
Patients undergoing laser treatment should wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen everyday regardless of the season. By reapplying the sunscreen when required they can make the most of the treatment. Not only will the results last longer but it will also protect their skin against cancer and premature aging.
2. No Gain Without Pain?
The pain caused by laser resurfacing treatment is often compared to a rubber band snapping against the skin. However, there are many other factors that affect the pain felt during the treatment. These factors include the depth and area of treatment, an individual’s tolerance for pain and the laser.
In case of deeper ablative (some outer layers of skin are removed), doctors may need to give local anaesthesia or intravenous sedation so as to make the patient feel comfortable. CO2 lasers and Erbium YAG lasers are included in ablative lasers.
In case of non-ablative laser treatments patients experience negligible pain and only a topical numbing cream is used to treat the discomfort. Non-ablative laser treatments are those when the layers of the skin are not removed to pass the laser through it. Pulsed-dye, ND: Yag, and Alexandrite lasers are included in non- ablative lasers. A patient may feel tenderness in the treatment area after the procedure is completed. However, there are various ways to ease the discomfort if and when required.
3. Dark Skinned People Can Also Opt For The Treatment
One of the most common misconceptions associated with laser resurfacing is that it is not safe for darker skin tones. The truth is that some lasers can be more damaging for darker skin but there are various other safer options that can be considered. Erbium lasers are considered good for Hispanic or Asian skin tones or lighter-toned African American. Erbium lasers are less risky for discoloration. For people with dark skin tones there are other effective and safe options including radio-frequency treatments or microneedling.
4. Know Your Dermatologist & Choose Your Surgeon Wisely
For those who wish to improve the skin’s appearance dramatically, it is highly important to choose the surgeon wisely. Lasers can prove ineffective or damaging if the treatment is performed by a poorly trained surgeon. While choosing a laser resurfacing provider make sure to consider some points like individual’s experience, training, and qualification. The worst mistake one can make is to make the decision purely on the basis of brand name or cheap deals.
5. Skin’s reaction to laser treatment is also determined by certain medications or conditions
Before you choose to undergo laser resurfacing treatment, make sure to consult with your surgeon in detail. Talk about the supplements and medications that you are taking. For example, laser treatments may cause breakouts in patients prone to cold sores or fever blisters. Some of the acne medications contain isotretinoin that can cause scarring or poor healing. Common over-the-counter medications like aspirin may cause post-procedure bleeding.
The results and safety of laser resurfacing can also be affected by diabetes and other chronic conditions. The candidates are also suggested to quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to and after laser treatments. Smoking may adversely affect the healing process and provide best possible results.
6.Different Types of Lasers are used for different skin problems and types
There are different types of laser treatments available for different types of skin problems. Some of the most common types of lasers that one comes across is given below:
- CO2 Lasers fall under the ablative lasers category and they are generally used to remove and reduce wrinkles, scars, warts and other skin imperfections.
- Erbium Lasers fall under both ablative and non-ablative category as they can be of both types. They are among the most popular options for treating wrinkles, skin laxity, fine lines, and age spots.
- Pulsed-Dye Lasers help reduce redness, broken capillaries, hyperpigmentation and rosacea. These non-ablative lasers heat the skin and absorb pigments.
- Fractional Lasers is used to target and treat a fraction of skin. This is the latest advances in non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments where laser is broken into thousands of tiny beams. These can be either ablative or non-ablative.
- IPL (intense pulsed light) are used to treat skin imperfections like acne, rosacea, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. Though they do not fall under laser treatments yet they are used to treat similar skin issues.
The wide range of lasers available in the market makes it quite challenging for patients to choose the right laser treatment. It is quite possible for patients to get deceived by the brand names and laser wavelengths. However, one should always concentrate on individual goals. Discuss about your problem and the expected results so as to choose the right laser. In order to get the right advise one can consult a board certified cosmetic surgeon or qualified skin care professional.
7. Plan on having multiple treatments
While some skin problems can be treated in one single laser treatment sitting, others including non-ablative lasers need multiple treatments. Though they may take a series of treatments but the final results are long-lasting.
8. Depending on the treatment, you may need some downtime
Laser treatments can also have downtime despite being non-surgical. The recovery time in laser resurfacing can depend on various factors including individual’s health as well as the type of laser that is performed.
In most cases, non- ablative lasers do not have any downtime but ablative lasers can require a 2 to 3 week to recover and heal. The healing time depends on the depth and it is only after that the final results can be seen.