What are the indications for laser resurfacing?
Damaged skin and wrinkles (rhytids) are the result of aging, sun exposure, lifestyle choices, weight changes and acne or other skin disease. These skin changes as well as the loss of the luminosity and clear skin complexion associated with youth, may be improved with a variety of skin resurfacing techniques. Laser resurfacing and skin peels remove the superficial layers of damaged skin and stimulate a collagen response in the deeper layers which repairs and re-aligns the damaged collagen fibers. Sun-damaged cells are removed and there is a more even skin complexion with fewer lines and irregularities. A skin-resurfacing laser or a chemical peel, can be used on the entire face and neck or on specific areas such as around the mouth and the eyes. Skin color is not necessarily a barrier to treatment. As an added benefit a laser or a chemical peel may also produce a tightening effect on the skin.
If you are having other facial cosmetic surgery such as a facelift or eyelid surgery you may be able to have laser skin resurfacing or a chemical-peel at the same time.
Dr. Kirwan will assess your skin type and the extent to which you have sun damage, uneven pigmentation and skin imperfections. Fine lines require different approaches to treatment than deeper wrinkling.
The Effects of Laser Resurfacing
The effect of skin resurfacing using an Erbium or Carbon Dioxide laser is similar to the results obtained using chemical peels. The laser, however, removes skin layers by vaporization rather than with chemicals.
The risks of laser resurfacing are few but include infection or abnormal healing. If you have a history of allergic reactions or herpes, skin resurfacing can cause a recurrence of these conditions. Medications are used to prevent outbreaks of cold sores and to protect from bacterial infection after the treatment.
Following laser resurfacing, you should avoid sun exposure until the redness of the skin has resolved. However, it is recommended to avoid the harmful effects of the sun with sun block and head coverings even after the redness has faded in order to prevent further sun damage to the skin.
Crusts may or may not form over the treated skin and you will be advised about how to manage any crusts and when to restart your skin program. Usually after a laser treatment, water-based ointments are applied until the skin is healed.
Camouflage makeup can be used within a two weeks of resurfacing and you should be able to return to work within a week to ten days.
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