Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can Laser Treatments Help with Overall Skin Rejuvenation

Laser skin resurfacing is a proven way to help reduce wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and other blemishes as well as tighten skin and balance tone. But precisely because lasers can do so much, and vary widely in how they act on your skin, it is hard to know where to start when researching treatment—even the most perfunctory search reveals a slew of competing devices and methods.

In this guide, we review the following: Can laser treatments help with overall skin rejuvenation, side effects of laser treatment on face, how long does it take for skin to heal after laser treatment, and types of laser treatments for face.

Can laser treatments help with overall skin rejuvenation

We want you to be informed, not overwhelmed. Before you go too far down the Google rabbit hole, we suggest taking a step back from all the hype and reading the following key things to know about laser skin resurfacing.

Don’t get caught up in brand names—instead focus on your goals: what skin problems do you want to address, and what results are you hoping for?

Laser Treatment for Hair Removal

1. When should I have laser skin resurfacing?

Did you know that autumn is considered “laser season”? Because laser-treated skin is hypersensitive to sun exposure for up to a year following some procedures, many cosmetic surgeons recommend undergoing laser resurfacing during fall or winter months, when daytime hours are shorter and you are spending most of your time indoors.

Regardless of what time of year you have your laser procedure, wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen daily and reapply as needed. This not only helps to keep your results looking their best, it also provides protection against skin cancer and helps prevent additional premature aging.

2. Treatments may hurt—or they may not

Patients and doctors commonly compare the sensation felt during laser treatments to a rubber band snapping against the skin. However, what laser resurfacing feels like depends on the laser, the depth and area of treatment, and an individual’s tolerance for pain.

Deeper ablative (where some outer layers of skin are removed) laser treatments may require local anesthetic injections or intravenous sedation to keep a patient comfortable. Examples of ablative lasers are CO2 lasers and Erbium YAG lasers.

Some non-ablative laser treatments (where the laser passes through the skin without removing layers) cause little-to-no pain and require only a topical numbing cream to offset discomfort. Non-ablative lasers include pulsed-dye, ND: Yag, and Alexandrite lasers. Following the procedure, some degree of tenderness in the treatment area can be expected. Your provider will recommend safe ways to control discomfort after laser resurfacing when necessary.

3. Having darker skin does not necessarily preclude you from laser resurfacing

A common misconception is that laser resurfacing is only safe for light skin types. While it is true that certain lasers pose a higher risk for cell damage or discoloration in darker skin, there are safe and effective resurfacing options. For lighter-toned African American, Hispanic or Asian skin tones, Erbium laser resurfacing can sometimes be a good option, posing less risk for discoloration. Patients with darker brown or black skin may need to consider other skin resurfacing options, such as radio-frequency treatments or microneedling.

The best way to ensure a safe, effective treatment for your skin type? Consult with a provider who has extensive training and knowledge in laser resurfacing procedures and experience working with darker skinned patients.

4. It makes a difference who performs your laser skin resurfacing treatments

In the hands of a highly trained, knowledgeable professional, laser resurfacing is a safe way to dramatically improve your skin’s appearance. In the hands of a poorly trained individual, lasers can be ineffective or even dangerous. Choose a laser resurfacing provider based on an individual’s experience, training, and qualification. Don’t make your pick based solely on who offers the best deal or has a brand name laser platform.

Choose a laser resurfacing provider based on experience, training, and qualification—don’t simply look for the best deal or the newest laser platform.

Your best bet? Choose a cosmetic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Every ABCS certified surgeon has undergone a rigorous training fellowship that includes non-surgical treatments such as laser skin resurfacing. You can use our Find-A-Surgeon Tool to locate cosmetic surgeons near you.

5. Certain medications or conditions affect how the skin reacts to laser treatment

Always be upfront and honest with your provider about your medical history and any medications or supplements you are taking. For instance, if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters, laser treatments may induce breakouts. Acne medications that contain isotretinoin (i.e., Accutane) can lead to poor healing or scarring from laser resurfacing, while common over-the-counter products like aspirin can increase the risk of post-procedure bleeding.

Common over-the-counter products like aspirin can increase the risk of post-procedure bleeding; other meds can lead to poor healing or scarring after laser treatments

Diabetes and other chronic conditions can also impact safety and results with laser resurfacing. You should also quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to and after laser treatments to avoid complications with healing and provide your body with the best chance for optimal results.

6. Different lasers are optimized for different issues and skin types

The reason there are so many different laser options is that no one laser can treat all patients and all skin concerns. Here are a few varieties you are likely to come across in your research:

When choosing a laser skin resurfacing treatment, focus on your individual goals: what skin problems do you want to address, and what results are you hoping for? The good news is you don’t have to determine this on your own: a board certified cosmetic surgeon or qualified skincare professional trained in laser resurfacing will be able to recommend the best treatment for you based on your skin type.

7. Plan on having multiple treatments

While in some cases, a single laser treatment will take care of a patient’s concerns, most non-ablative lasers call for a series of treatments to produce the most satisfying results. This is a trade-off that comes with a no-downtime treatment, but once the treatment series is complete, results are long-lasting.

Although laser treatments are generally considered non-surgical, not all are downtime-free. Laser resurfacing recovery time varies depending on the type of laser used, as well as an individual’s health and healing rate.

Non-ablative lasers often require no downtime at all, while ablative lasers can require a 2- to 3-week healing process, depending on depth, before the new skin has healed completely and final results are evident.

This does not mean you have to stay at home for a month; it just means that your skin will be raw, red and scab over as it heals. You may not feel comfortable in certain social situations, and you will need to modify your activities to avoid situations where infection is possible (swimming, gym workouts, etc.).

If you are considering laser treatments to improve your skin, we encourage you to contact a board certified cosmetic surgeon. Our member directory is an easy way to locate a surgeon near you. In the meantime, you can read more about lasers and other skin resurfacing treatments in our ABCS procedure learning center.

Laser Skin Resurfacing Before and After

Laser treatments, from laser hair removal to skin resurfacing and pigmentation reduction, are generally very safe procedures. When offered by a trained technician, laser treatments offer long-term solutions to skin concerns such as pigmentation issues, as well as hair removal and beyond. As with any treatment, however, there are side effects that may occur and understanding what they are can help you spot any signs of an issue early.

Minor Side Effects

Side effects from laser treatments, whether laser hair removal or skin treatments, are typically minor in nature. They are typically uncommon when your treatment is done by a qualified practitioner and if they do occur, are typically easy to resolve.

Rare Side Effects

While side effects are uncommon and often resolve either by themselves or with the help of simple treatments, there are some rare side effects that are considered ‘major’ in comparison. From burns and blisters, to infections and effects on the eyelids, here are some rare side effects:

Our technicians are highly trained professionals with decades of experience between them. We take every precaution to prevent any of the above side effects and provide support in cases where underlying conditions may cause problems following treatment. For more information, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team, today.

how long does it take for skin to heal after laser treatment

Are you thinking about laser therapy but aren’t sure it fits into your schedule? Laser skin resurfacing can give you radiant, younger-looking skin with long-lasting results. But as with most medical procedures, it typically requires some downtime. The good news is, facial laser treatments usually do not involve a lengthy recovery, and in some cases, patients heal in less than a week.

Let’s looks at how laser rejuvenation works and what to expect with recovery, so you can determine if it’s right for you.

How Does Laser Resurfacing Work?

Laser resurfacing is a high-precision skin rejuvenation procedure used to diminish blemishes, wrinkles, lesions and scars. During the process, a medical professional applies a concentrated beam of light to the target area. The laser beam stimulates collagen growth, leading to tighter, smoother and more youthful-looking skin.

There are two types of lasers used to perform skin resurfacing — ablative and nonablative lasers. Your dermatologist will recommend an ablative or nonablative laser, depending on your wants and needs. Here’s how they differ:

Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers eliminate the unwanted outer skin called the epidermis by precisely vaporizing each layer. The laser simultaneously heats the dermis, which is the deeper skin layer, stimulating cell growth. The process causes new skin to form as the epidermis heals.

Ablative laser resurfacing is an effective technique for improving sun-damaged or aged skin. Your dermatologist might recommend this form of laser therapy to improve the appearance of deep wrinkles and scars.

Nonablative Lasers

Nonablative lasers stimulate cell growth without removing skin layers. Your doctor might recommend this method to treat spider veins, fine wrinkles and rosacea. Since nonablative laser resurfacing does not involve vaporizing skin layers, it typically produces less dramatic results than ablative procedures but entails a faster recovery.

What Skin Conditions Can Laser Skin Resurfacing Treat?

Laser rejuvenation is primarily used to treat common blemishes and reduce the appearance of aging, enhancing the patient’s natural beauty and boosting their self-confidence. You might consider laser resurfacing to improve any of the following:

Is Laser Resurfacing Right for You?

If you have skin blemishes you’d like to see disappear, you probably can’t wait to undergo laser resurfacing. While this treatment can be an exciting step toward a new you, it’s essential to consider if you’re a good match for the procedure first.

Are you healthy and have light to medium-dark skin? If so, you may be an excellent candidate for laser skin resurfacing. A medical professional will need to evaluate you before scheduling the procedure to ensure you get the results you want.

You may not be the best candidate for laser resurfacing if you’re experiencing active acne or have very dark skin. Individuals with dark skin have a higher risk of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, permanently changing the skin color. If you have dark skin, consider an advanced microneedling treatment like Morpheus8, a gentle, low-risk alternative that produces beautiful results.

Your doctor might also advise against laser resurfacing if you:

If you qualify for skin resurfacing, it’s still essential to discuss your expectations and risks with a professional beforehand. You’ll enjoy a more satisfying experience and optimal results when you know what to expect and how to prepare for the treatment.

How to Prepare for Laser Resurfacing

Before your laser resurfacing session, you’ll likely need to take the following steps:

What to Expect During Laser Resurfacing Treatment

Laser resurfacing is generally a quick procedure performed in a doctor’s office or medical spa. Before treatment, a medical professional will apply a local anesthetic to the area to keep you from feeling discomfort. If you’re treating a large area, like your back, your doctor might recommend general anesthesia.

After preparing your skin with an anesthetic, the dermatologist or aesthetician will carefully move a laser around the target area. When they’re done, they’ll wrap the area with a dressing material to protect your skin.

Here’s what else you’ll want to know:

How Long a Session Usually Takes

A laser resurfacing session typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes, but this also depends on the size of the area being treated. For example, if you’re receiving full-face treatment with an ablative laser, you can expect the session to last up to 2 hours. A partial-face treatment is faster and generally takes less than an hour.

Side Effects of Laser Treatment

When a qualified medical professional performs laser resurfacing, it’s a safe and effective treatment method for damaged or discolored skin. Still, as with most medical procedures, laser resurfacing can cause side effects. Side effects of ablative laser resurfacing may include:

Nonablative laser resurfacing may also cause a few side effects, such as:

When You’ll See Results

You will see the results from laser skin resurfacing once you heal and new skin has formed. With that said, the type of treatment you receive impacts how quickly you’ll notice an improved appearance.

For example, according to the AAD, laser resurfacing produces the fastest results for tightening sagging skin. You can expect to see tighter skin and fewer wrinkles within two weeks after you heal from the treatment. For several months after the procedure, you’ll notice improvements as your body produces new collagen.

If you’re treating pigmentation, like age spots, you can expect immediate results. The pigment will continue to improve for months after the procedure.

types of laser treatments for face

Laser skin treatments are one of the many types of facials that can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and acne. Lasers can also brighten skin tone, smooth skin texture, and restore elasticity and plumpness to your face.

This guide will cover how lasers work when it comes to skincare, types of laser treatment for the face, and the best way to enhance the effects of any laser treatment.

How Do Laser Treatments Work? A Crash Course in Lasers

A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to figuring out which laser treatment will be right for you.

What Exactly Is A Laser?

The answer to this question lies in the word itself. “Laser” is an acronym: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of RadiationTo really understand what a laser does, let’s take a trip back to science class and understand light.

All light travels in waves, and the distance between each wave’s peak is called a wavelength. The light we see each glowing from lightbulbs or shining on our skin as we lounge by the pool contains a mix of different light colors, and each color has its own wavelength. For example, red light has a longer wavelength than blue light. All of these different wavelengths together create a “white” or neutral light—this is the light we see from the sun and our light bulbs.

Think of each light color like a different instrument, each playing a song at their own tempo. Kind of noisy and unfocused, but is it music? In the general sense, sure—this is natural light. A laser is technically a light, but it’s a little different than our day-to-day light sources. Lasers produce light of similar wavelengths, creating a narrow beam of concentrated light. These artificially created lights are like a brass band playing the same tune at the same tempo—focused, precise, and powerful 1.

What is a Laser Facial Procedure?

Lasers and skincare are a match made in dermatological heaven. Lasers permeate through the layers of skin to help promote collagen and elastin growth. Did you know that collagen production starts to decline around age 25, and continues on this downward trend, picking up steam in women after menopause? This is why many women have turned to laser treatments.

The more collagen your cells produce, the better your skin looks.

How Do Laser Treatments Work?

Different lasers do different things, but they all work in a similar way. The intensely focused light supports old, damaged skin on a cellular level. From there, the laser heats and damages the deeper layers of the skin. But don’t worry, this damage is actually a fantastic thing. Lasers force your body’s skin systems to go into an ultra-healing mode. When the skin cells are damaged by a laser, your body responds by producing rejuvenating collagen. Therefore, this laser therapy works to improve your skin texture and the overall appearance of any skin type.

After your recovery time is up, your skin will be smoother, brighter, more even, and firmer—especially if you’re prepping and caring for your skin using our Regenerating Skin Nectar with TriHex Technology®. Recommended by dermatologists everywhere, this incredible formula directly supports your cell’s collagen and elastin production, speeds recovery time and makes your laser treatment results last even longer.

Ablative, Non-Ablative, and Fractional Lasers

Two words you’ll hear when learning more about laser therapy treatments are “ablative” and “non-ablative.” Understanding the difference can help you determine which laser skin treatment is right for you 2 .

The main differences between these two? Invasiveness, recovery, and results.

An ablative laser treatment is more invasive which means the recovery time can be longer. Non-ablative lasers are less invasive, meaning the recovery time is typically shorter.

While non-ablative procedures are less invasive, the results are not as great as ablative. Ablative procedures require only one or two sessions to achieve maximum results. Meanwhile, you may need between four to six non-ablative treatments to get the same effects.

But ablative and non-ablative lasers do have one thing in common—both types of lasers can also be fractional lasers.

Fractional lasers help to reduce recovery time, give the skin specialist more control over the treatment. Bonus? Aesthetic practices offer fractional varieties of both ablative and non-ablative lasers.

Top 5 Types of Laser Treatments for Face Concerns

Now that you’ve mastered the nuances of lasers and have become a veritable 007 of skincare, here are the 5 most popular laser treatments for your face 3 :

#1 Ablative Fractional CO2 Lasers

Ablative fractional CO2 laser resurfacing promotes collagen production and tighter, firmer, smoother skin by removing columns of skin cells throughout the layers of the face, neck, and chest. This powerful laser treatment targets:

Ablative fractional C02 lasers are extremely effective, yet invasive—that means this ablative laser resurfacing treatment has a longer recovery time of up to two weeks.

#2 Pulsed-Dye Lasers

This non-ablative laser procedure heats and partially damages the skin layers beneath the epidermis—the topmost layers of skin. As a result, the skin heals, leaving behind even skin tone and texture. Pulsed-dye lasers work especially well with combatting pigmentation problems. Pulsed-dye lasers are known to do the following:

Since this procedure is non-ablative, the recovery time takes anywhere from a few days to just about a week. This laser therapy is still going to give damaged skin a rejuvenated appearance with the added benefit of less recovery time than its invasive counterpart, an ablative laser treatment.

#3 Non-Ablative Fractional Lasers

All the power of a fractional laser with the “gentleness” of a non-ablative laser, non-ablative fractional lasers are elegant skincare solutions. By heating and slightly damaging just the deeper layers of skin, your body’s collagen growth will increase and the older, dryer, and less attractive skin cells will be cleared away.Non-ablative fractional lasers can:

Recovery time for this laser treatment is short and sweet, about one to three days. However, for optimal results, you’ll need to return for additional skin resurfacing treatments.

#4 Erbium Laser Treatment

Erbium lasers promote collagen growth and natural skin remodeling. They can be ablative or non-ablative, making them a great choice for your first treatment. You might consider erbium laser treatments if your skin concerns or skin condition includes the following:

Recovery time for this treatment depends on whether your specialist recommends an ablative or non-ablative laser. An ablative erbium laser treatment will take longer time for your skin to recover, a non-ablative erbium laser treatment will take less.

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