What is Laser Resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is the use of beams of light to rejuvenate the skin. Laser stands for light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation. There are many different lasers and many different strengths. They can be used to treat wrinkles; acne, facial scars, aged or sun damaged skin, enlarged oil glands, warts and birthmarks.
How does it work?
Laser resurfacing uses a beam of energy that vaporises or ablates the upper layers of the skin. The levels to which the energy is applied can be varied as can the type of laser to create different results.
What are the different types of laser?
Intense pulse light and lasers are used to treat a variety of skin conditions, birthmarks, growths and cosmetic complaints. Common lasers include CO2, Erbium (Er): YAG, Pulsed dye, Q switch Neodymium (ND: YAG) and KTP. Each have different pros and cons and no one laser can treat all skin conditions.
How is laser resurfacing performed?
You will start some skin treatments prior to laser resurfacing and these will be customised to your skin type. Most laser resurfacing does not require anaesthetic and the treatment takes around 30 mins to 2 hours depending on the type of laser and the area in question. The laser is passed over the area and you will feel some discomfort during this time. Following the procedure the area is kept moist with ointment or surgical bandages for the first few days. The skin is typically red or pink and may be covered with a fine crust. The treated areas must be protected from sunlight after the procedure and once healing has occurred sun factor cream should be applied.
What are the risks?
The risks for lasers are related directly to the strength of the laser used. Often lasers that obtain the most dramatic results are also those with the greatest risks associated. Common minor complications include crusting, swelling and redness. Uncommon complications include hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation and scarring.