What is lasersurgery?
Lasersurgery is a surgical procedure that uses an intense, pulsating beam of light to vaporize the outer layer of skin (epidermis).
Then, at lower power, the laser heats the underlying skin (dermis), which stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. As the wound heals, new skin forms that’s smoother and tighter.
Compared to other methods, such as chemical peels or dermabrasion, laser resurfacing gives doctors more control over how deep the treatment penetrates your skin. And lasers allow doctors to more precisely treat delicate facial areas, such as those around your eyes and lips.
In addition to reducing the appearance of mild to moderate wrinkles, lasersurgery also helps treat other signs of sun-related skin changes, including brown liver spots and uneven or dull skin tone. Lasersurgery can also help treat facial scars and blemishes.
Have realistic expectations
Lasersurgery is an effective treatment for minor facial flaws. For example, it can lessen the appearance of fine lines around your eyes, mouth and cheeks. It can also improve your complexion if you have yellowish or grayish skin tones.
But lasersurgery has its limits. It can’t remove deep wrinkles or eliminate excessive or sagging skin (jowls). In addition, the effects aren’t permanent because as you age, you continue to acquire expression lines — lines that result from the natural movement of your face, such as when you squint or smile. Talk with your doctor about your goals and find out whether this procedure can meet your needs.
Recovery from lasersurgery: Results sometimes immediate, sometimes not
Your skin takes about five to seven days to heal. During this time, keep your skin moist by using protective creams and ointments and covering the area with bandages. During recovery, remain at home and engage in limited activities while the crust is present — about one to two weeks.
After this time, you can apply cosmetics to conceal any lingering redness. After two weeks, you can return to your normal schedule.
Your skin may stay red or pink for up to six months following laser resurfacing. In addition, your skin may be sensitive to sunlight for up to a year after the procedure, so it’s important to minimize sun exposure and to use sunscreen liberally.
You may notice an immediate difference in your skin quality and appearance. And gradually during the next six to 12 months, you’ll likely see continued improvement.
Although the effects of laser resurfacing can last for years, wrinkles and expression lines recur as skin ages. Repeat procedures may be necessary.