According to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 18 million Americans opted for cosmetic surgeries in 2018.
Undoubtedly, the popularity of cosmetic treatments is increasing. However, not all treatments are invasive in nature. For example, the Laser Skin Resurfacing procedure uses laser light to treat several cosmetic issues.
What Is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
For laymen, laser skin resurfacing, as the name suggests treated superficial skin issues. For example, acne-, age-, or sun-related issues are some of the most common reasons for seeking a resurfacing treatment.
It is noteworthy that the term, laser skin resurfacing, is a generalization of several treatments combined under one name. However, they are typically divided into two subcategories- Ablative and Non-ablative
Ablative Skin Resurfacing
Generally speaking, an abrasive skin resurfacing procedure is used when the top layer(s) of the skin is to be removed. Conditions like scars, warts, wrinkles, and fine lines are some of the common reasons for seeking an ablative skin treatment.
Ablative lasers, usually, use carbon dioxide or erbium. The type of laser to be used depends on the skin issues to be treated.
Non-Ablative Skin Resurfacing
Unlike ablative skin resurfacing, there is no removal of outside layers of the skin. Instead, a non-ablative procedure uses pulsed lights, pulsed-dye lights, and sometimes, fractional lasers.
In most of the cases, where non-ablative lasers are used, the treatment procedure demands the pigmentation of the top layer. That is why pulsed-dye lasers and fractional lasers are used.
Who Needs Laser Skin Resurfacing?
In most cases, patients suffering from any cosmetic issues would primarily prefer over-the-counter products. For example, for acne treatment, people usually seek natural products such as turmeric and aloe vera.
But, most people don’t really know what to do when over-the-counter products fail their expectations.
Usually, a dermatologist or a physician would suggest anyone suffering from superficial skin issues to seek to resurface treatment if cosmetic products fail.
Nevertheless, here are some of the conditions that are treatable with the help of laser skin resurfacing:
- age spots
- scars whether or not related to acne
- fine lines and wrinkles
- crow’s feet
- sagging skin issues
- uneven skin tone
- if oil glands are enlarged
Besides these conditions, there are other factors at play, as well. For example, a patient’s skin tone would also decide if this procedure is suitable for them or not. In general, people with lighter skin tones can benefit the most from this treatment. And it is primarily because they have a reduced risk of hyperpigmentation.
However, it is also noteworthy that the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons suggests otherwise. They highly condemn the disbelief that this treatment is only for light skin tones. Perhaps, they mention that there are different types of lasers suitable for different skin types. And, likewise, a dermatologist or a professional can determine the best.
How To Prepare For Laser Skin Resurfacing?
It is recommended to consult with a dermatologist or a cosmetic expert before getting laser skin resurfacing. Experts at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute, suggest that there are several pre-treatments that go on for several weeks before the actual procedure is carried out. The reason for pre-treatments is to improve tolerance and reduce the risks of side-effects.
Typically, the procedure targets the outer layer of the skin, while simultaneously heating the inner layers. Heating helps promote collagen production.
Collagen fibers are fundamental to skin structure and texture. So, when new fibers are produced, the resulting skin is firmer and smoother in texture.
Nevertheless, there are also some preparatory procedures that the patients need to take care of themselves.
- Cosmetic surgeons suggest cutting out on any medicines or supplements that may affect clotting. Common drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and vitamin E supplements are better known for delaying blood clotting. It is recommended to cut such drugs at least 10 days before the procedure.
- It is also recommended to quit smoking at least 2 weeks before the treatment. Nicotine, which is a major component of tobacco and other smoking agents, can delay the healing process.
- In some cases, the surgeon may also prescribe antibiotics prior to treatment. This is to prevent any bacterial infection from the procedure. At the same time, patients who easily get cold sores or fever blisters can benefit from the antiviral properties of these antibiotics.
For best results, only a professional who has experience with the particular treatment should be consulted. In short, the patients should seek professionals who have successfully concluded laser skin resurfacing treatments before.
Aftercare And Recovery
Though surgeons perform skin resurfacing procedures, these aren’t necessarily classified as a surgical procedure. Meaning, the patients can leave medical supervision almost immediately after the treatment.
However, there are some aftercare tips and recovery precautions that medical professionals would suggest.
- Use ice packs to help prevent swelling and redness caused by ablative laser treatment.
- Avoiding public places where infections may easily spread, such as the gym and spa.
- Cleaning the treated area 2 to 5 times every day with saline or vinegar-based cleansers.
- Change dressing over the treated area every day. Additionally, covering the treated area with a light breathable cloth when stepping out in the open can prevent dirt and germ accumulation.
- Moisturizers can help with recovery.
- Laser-treated skin can be sun-sensitive for up to a year after the treatment. It is recommended to wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating. It is to prevent skin from sunburn and sun damage.
- Dermatologists usually prescribe collagen supporting medicines and drugs to enhance healing and prevent inflammation. However, if the inflammation persists, it is rather suggested to visit the doctor for consultation.
The success of laser skin resurfacing not only depends on the type of laser and skin type. Perhaps, the choice of the surgeon also plays a key role in the success of the treatment. As already mentioned, it is recommended to look for a professional who holds expertise in the dedicated procedure.
It is rather vital to have the best carry out the procedure, for minimal damage. And, notably, checking out the portfolio of a surgeon might help regarding the same.