Laser skin resurfacing is a tried-and-true technique for refreshing and renewing your skin, while reducing the look of common age-related complaints such as wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, discoloration and sun damage. But precisely because laser skin care technology is so effective, and there is such a wide range of options that provide different results, trying to determine which type of laser skin care is best for you can be overwhelming.
At the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery, we want you to be a more informed patient when it comes to your options for skin care. So let’s step back from all the hype surrounding laser skin resurfacing treatments, and get down to the basics. Here are the top seven things you need to know about laser treatments for your skin.
1. Different lasers are optimized for different issues and skin types.
So why are there so many types of lasers, anyway? Well, different lasers are designed to treat different patients and skin concerns.
The two types of lasers used in skin care are called ablative and non-ablative. The main difference between them is that ablative lasers are more invasive and require a longer recovery time.
At our Atlanta skin care clinic, we specialize in these types of lasers:
● CO2 lasers are ablative lasers that fully remove the top layers of dull and damaged skin. They’re best for treating scars, warts, wrinkles and other deep skin flaws.
● Fractional lasers break up the laser into thousands of tiny beams to treat only a fraction of the skin in a given area, which reduces recovery time after the procedure. Fractional lasers can be ablative or non-ablative, and can treat several age-related skin imperfections.
Instead of obsessing over the pros and cons of different types of laser treatments, concentrate on your individual goals: What problems do you want to address through laser skin care, and what results are you trying to achieve? The good news is, you don’t have to figure all this out by yourself. We can provide you with a complimentary skin examination using our VISIA Complexion Analysis machine. VISIA takes close-up photographs of your face to highlight imperfections such as fine lines, wrinkles or discoloration. Looking at your results, our skin care experts can make the best recommendations based on what your skin needs most.
2. What time of year you have laser resurfacing makes a difference.
You may think of autumn as a time for beautiful foliage or Thanksgiving spent counting your blessings among family and friends. But did you know fall is also “laser season?” Here’s why: Following some laser treatments, your skin can be hypersensitive to sun exposure for as long as a year. That’s why many cosmetic surgeons recommend undergoing laser resurfacing during the fall or winter, when more hours of darkness usually mean you spend more time inside.
Regardless of when you decide to get your laser procedure, get in the habit of wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and reapplying generously as needed. This practice not only helps keep your results looking their best – it also protects you from skin cancer and other signs of premature aging.
3. Certain medications or conditions may lead to poor healing or scarring after laser treatment.
Be prepared to have a frank and truthful conversation with your doctor about your complete medical history, including any medications or supplements you take. For example, if you often get cold sores or fever blisters, laser treatments may trigger a breakout. Acne medications such as Accutane can result in slow healing or even scarring after laser resurfacing, while common over-the-counter products like aspirin thin the blood and increase the risk of post-procedure bleeding.
Diabetes and other chronic health conditions can also affect your safety and results with laser resurfacing. If you smoke, quit at least two weeks before and after laser treatments to minimize the risk of complications and create the best chances of optimal results from your procedure.
4. Plan to have multiple laser treatments.
Depending on what you hope to achieve, a single laser treatment may address all your concerns; however, most non-ablative lasers require a series of treatments to reveal the best possible outcome. Once all your treatments are complete, you can expect to enjoy long-lasting results.
5. Depending on the treatment, you may need some downtime.
Yes, laser treatments are non-surgical, but that doesn’t mean there’s no downtime associated with them. Your recovery time after a laser procedure will vary depending on the type of laser used and depth of your treatment, as well as your overall health and how closely you follow your doctor’s instructions for the best healing results.
Non-ablative lasers often require no downtime at all, while ablative lasers can require a two- to three-week healing process (depending on depth) before the new skin fully heals and you get to see your final results.
6. Having darker skin doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get laser resurfacing.
You may have heard laser resurfacing is only safe for light skin types, but this is a common myth. While certain lasers may pose a higher risk for cell damage or discoloration in darker skin, there are several resurfacing options for darker-complected patients.
The best way to ensure a safe, effective treatment for any skin type is to choose a provider with extensive training and experience in laser resurfacing procedures.
7. Who performs your laser resurfacing procedure has a tremendous influence on your results.
When done by a specially trained, knowledgeable skin care professional, laser resurfacing is a safe way to noticeably improve your skin’s appearance. However, in the hands of a poorly trained individual, laser treatments can be unsuccessful or even dangerous. Rather than hunting for the best deal or a specific brand name of laser, do your homework and choose your laser resurfacing provider based on experience, training and qualifications. Your best bet is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon such as Dr. Pradeep Sinha. Dr. Sinha has completed hours of extensive training that includes non-surgical treatments such as laser skin resurfacing.
If you’re interested in learning more about the laser skin care options available to you, please contact our clinic to schedule your complimentary consultation today.