Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure used to improve the skin’s appearance, where top layers of the skin are removed via focused laser light energy. Other types of lasers penetrate into deeper layers of the skin to provide benefits. The main objective of laser skin resurfacing procedure is to make the skin tighter, smoother, even out the tone, color and texture. Laser resurfacing in San Francisco is often performed using different types of lasers, including carbon (IV) oxide lasers, and fractional lasers for more specific problems.
The Ideal Candidate
The most suitable candidate for this procedure is a light-skinned person, who is a non-smoker, and who is generally in good health. They have to have realistic and positive expectations about the results of the procedure. The best candidate is free of skin infections such as acne. If you take certain medications, such as some steroids, you may be unsuitable for the procedure. People who tend to have unusual scarring, for instance keloids, are not suitable for the procedure.
Who Can Benefit
Laser skin resurfacing will be beneficial to people with skin imperfections such as loose skin, wrinkles, scars, enlarged pores, rough skin texture, vascular lesions like broken capillaries, hyperpigmentation, and unwanted tattoos. Pre-cancerous lesions can also be effectively removed using this procedure.
Laser resurfacing procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. During the healing period, you’ll be required to completely stay out of the sun, and keep the skin moist. You’re also expected to wear a sterile dressing over the treated area. The surgeon will provide instructions on how the treated area should be washed and cleaned. Expect some discomfort, swelling, and possible rusting of the skin. Don’t pick at the scabs as this can lead to scarring and infection. If you’re in pain, over-the-counter medication is usually sufficient to manage it. You may also be given prescription medication for pain by the surgeon.
Recovery and Downtime
Patients are typically advised to rest for one to two weeks, unless the procedure was a very light peel. However, self-conscious patients prefer to remain unseen by people until the worst of the crusting, peeling and redness subsides. This could take up to two months, depending on the depth of the procedure. If you decide to return to work before the peeling is over, you must continue to follow the instructions given by your surgeon, especially regarding sun exposure and protective skin barriers.
Complications and Risks
Possible risks associated with laser skin resurfacing include a burning sensation, tenderness, prolonged redness, itching, easy flushing, and increased sensitivity to light. In some cases, the procedure can bring about the reappearance of an existing infection or virus. You may also experience some irritation caused by sensitivity to the healing cream, but this usually resolves on its own. Long-term risks and problems may include changes in skin color, for instance hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation. If the surgeon goes too deep during the procedure, it might result in scarring.
Laser resurfacing procedures cost anywhere from $800 to $8000, depending on the geographical location, the number of treatment sessions, the depth of the procedure and the size of the surface being treated. Skin resurfacing is usually not covered by insurance unless it’s being performed to improve scars from a previous reconstructive procedure or trauma, or to treat precancerous skin conditions.