How Lasers Can Help You Have Beautiful Skin
For many, just hearing the word laser can bring to mind images of sci-fi movies or scientific laboratories. In reality, lasers have many practical uses, including skin care.
Lasers have been used as an effective skin care treatment for decades. Whether its fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, age spots, or skin discoloration, lasers can help remedy the issue. But you may be wondering how this technology works, and furthermore, if it’s safe.
As experts in laser skin treatments, we wanted to tell you exactly what’s involved in laser therapy and assure you that it is safe and effective for a range of skin maladies.
How Laser Skin Resurfacing Works
A laser is simply a concentrated beam of light. When applied to the skin at the right intensity, it removes skin, layer by layer, revealing fresh new skin underneath. Lasers also help stimulate the skin’s production of collagen, which helps keep skin firm, more youthful, and fresh.
There are two types of lasers:
- Ablative lasersremove layers of skin, while also stimulating collagen growth. This is a more intense treatment suitable for acne scars and wrinkles, but may also result in temporary scabbing, redness, and in some cases, infection (treatable with antibiotics). About two or three weeks of recovery time is required, but once that passes, the skin is drastically improved.
- Non-ablative lasers don’t break the surface of the skin, making non-ablative treatments the gentler option, although patients can expect some minor and temporary irritation and redness at the treatment site. Sometimes, an individual just needs a single treatment to produce the desired results, while others may need several appointments for the best outcomes.
Preparing for Your Procedure
If you choose to have a laser skin treatment, then here are some tips to help you prepare:
- Don’t take medication or vitamin supplements that have blood thinning properties for at least 10 days before the procedure. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E.
- Stop smoking at least two weeks before the procedure and plan on staying tobacco free for at least two weeks after.
- Take antibiotics if prescribed by your doctor to help prevent bacterial infection.
The Day of the Procedure
Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure. The doctor will numb the areas of the face being treated with a local anesthetic and may also administer a mild sedative. If your whole face is being treated, then your doctor may decide to use general anesthesia. A treatment can take 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size of the area being treated.
Post-Treatment Skin Care
Following the laser procedure, your doctor will bandage the treated area. Starting 24 hours after treatment, you will need to clean the area four to five times a day, then apply an ointment, such as petroleum jelly, to prevent scabbing.
Your skin may itch or sting for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel. This is all a perfectly normal part of the healing process. In general, you can expect to be completely healed within 10 to 21 days.
After your skin is healed, plan on using a broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF of 30 or more) on your face and neck every day. For at least three months, limit your time in the sun, especially during peak daylight hours, and wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Risks of Laser Resurfacing
Skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of your skin, but there are some risks to be aware of.
- Burns or scarring
- Changes in the skin’s pigmentation
- Reactivation of herpes cold sores
- Bacterial infection
Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.