Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing is an increasingly popular skin rejuvenation procedure that works to improve the appearance of facial skin by diminishing wrinkles, fine lines and minor scars. Like other skin resurfacing techniques, laser skin resurfacing encourages the growth of new, vibrant skin by removing the outermost layers.
The University of Kansas Health System offers laser skin rejuvenation as part of a full spectrum of nonsurgical aesthetic services to help you feel confident about your look. Our specialists will work closely with you to help you decide the best treatment options to help you reach your appearance goals.
What is laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin rejuvenation is the process of precisely removing layers of skin to trigger the body’s natural healing response. Collagen production and cell turnover increase as a result, and the creation of new skin cells gives your complexion a smoother, more youthful look.
Laser skin resurfacing is typically performed as a series of treatments for optimum results. Laser treatments can be an effective option to reduce the appearance of acne scars, uneven pigmentation and even fine lines and wrinkles. In some cases, your treatment provider may recommend combining laser resurfacing with additional procedures or products, such as incorporating medical grade skin care into your at-home skin care regimen.
Who can have laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing is most appropriate for people who are concerned about mild skin conditions caused by aging, sun damage or other complexion irregularities. If you have 1 or more of the following conditions you may want to consider laser rejuvenation:
- Acne scars or other minor scars
- Crow’s feet or wrinkles around the eyes
- Some precancerous skin lesions
- Sun damage/photoaging
- Vertical lines or wrinkles around the mouth
Your aesthetic provider will help you determine whether laser skin resurfacing or a different skin treatment is best for you.
How does laser skin rejuvenation work?
During the procedure, a medical laser (typically a CO2 or erbium laser) is aimed at the area to be treated, causing the skin cells to vaporize. The laser itself is so precise that only the exact area treated is affected by the radiation, which minimizes pigmentation problems and other side effects. The CO2 laser is most often used to treat the entire face, while the erbium laser is effective on smaller areas.
See laser skin resurfacing in 3D
Benefits and risks of laser skin resurfacing
Previously, laser skin resurfacing was a painful procedure that required significant downtime after treatment. Today’s lasers are safer and more precise than ever, delivering effective results with fewer risks compared to older generations of laser skin treatments. Following the recommendations of your treatment provider before and after your appointment helps reduce the risk for any adverse side effects from laser rejuvenation.
What happens during laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing takes place right in our office with local anesthesia. Prior to treatment, your provider may ask you to begin using creams to moisturize your skin to help minimize side effects and support healing. General anesthesia may be used, but typically only if the entire face is treated. The time needed to complete the procedure varies depending on how much of the skin is treated.
The provider administers the laser to the treatment areas, controlling the intensity of the beam, its movement and the depth at which it penetrates. The application of short pulsed light beams or steady light beams to the treatment area work to target the outer skin layers. Usually only 1 or 2 treatments are needed. To truly benefit from a skin care treatment, you will want to combine your customized at-home regimen with in-office treatments targeted at specific problem areas.
Recovery from laser skin resurfacing is fairly simple. When the procedure is complete, a gauze dressing will be applied to the area. You will be given instructions on how to cleanse and moisturize the skin, and how long to wear the gauze dressing. Be prepared to experience some swelling and discomfort for the first couple of days after treatment. After about a week, you will begin to see your new, vibrant skin emerge.