Laser resurfacing is just one of the non-surgical procedures we offer to combat the signs of aging. It is an option for patients who want to rejuvenate their skin, remove fine lines and wrinkles, treat blemishes, acne, and skin discoloration- all without having to hide unsightly scarring.
There are two forms of laser skin resurfacing: ablative and non-ablative. An ablative laser treatment removes the surface layers of skin, exposing the newer and less blemished skin underneath. Non-ablative lasers stimulate the growth of collagen, which is the protein that gives our skin firmness. This tightens the skin and gives you a more youthful look.
Ablative laser treatment involves the use of light energy to effectively burn off the top epidermal layer while simultaneously heating the underlining layers, which stimulates collagen. This treatment usually takes between thirty minutes and two hours. You will be given topical anesthesia to help deal with any discomfort during the procedure (patients having their whole face treated might be given more general anesthesia).
Patients who have ablative treatments will experience some redness and swelling after the procedure. You may also develop some crust on the treated area- this will resolve, but you must not pick at it or you might form scars. Most people can begin wearing makeup after one to two weeks. You will need to keep the area moist and stay out of the sun in the meanime.
Non-ablative treatments are much less intense and can generally be done in-office. This procedure damages the collagen in the dermis, encouraging new collagen growth without the removal of the top layer of skin. It takes around 15 minutes, and will usually take more than one treatment to achieve your desired results.
Non-ablative procedures do not result in any downtime; in fact, you can usually go back to your normal activities immediately. You might have some redness or slight swelling, and will need to wear sunscreen, but the redness will resolve after a day or two.
It is also essential that you have a board certified plastic surgeon perform your ablative laser treatment. They are more trained in safety techniques, and have more training in the newest and most up-to-date procedures. A licensed esthetician or a board certified plastic surgeon can perform a non-ablative laser treatment, which is less dramatic and has less risk. If you use a non-certified professional for either procedure, you increase your risk of developing difficulties.