Laser skin resurfacing removes skin layer by layer with precision. The new skin cells that form during healing give the skin a tighter, younger looking surface. The procedure can be done alone or with other cosmetic surgeries on the face.
Profractional Laser is a type of laser by Sciton Company used for resurfacing skin. However, Dr. Johnston prefers the fractional CO2 laser from Lumenis for this problem. He finds that patients require fewer treatments and short recovery periods following with excellent results. There are some steps you can take to get the best results from Profractional Laser Treatment.
- Tell us if you get cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth, because laser skin resurfacing can trigger breakouts.
- Do not take any medications or supplements—such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E—that can affect clotting for 10 days before surgery. Tylenol is OK.
- If you smoke, you should stop for two weeks before and after the procedure.
- Dr. Johnston may prescribe an antibiotic medication beforehand to prevent bacterial infections and also an antiviral medication if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters.
What to Expect During and After the Procedure
Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll not have to stay overnight.
For small areas, Dr. Johnston will numb the areas to be treated with a local anesthetic and may also sedate you. You may require general anesthesia if your whole face is being treated.
Treating just parts of the face takes about 30 to 45 minutes. A full-face treatment takes up to two hours.
Following the laser procedure, Dr. Johnston will bandage the treated areas. After 24 hours, you will need to clean the treated areas four to five times a day and then apply an ointment such as petroleum jelly to prevent scabs from forming.
Swelling after laser skin resurfacing is normal. Dr. Johnston may prescribe steroids to manage swelling around your eyes. Sleeping on an extra pillow can also ease swelling.
You may feel itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel.
Healing typically takes 10 to 21 days. Once the skin heals, you can wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness, which usually fades in two to three months.
You will also probably notice that your skin is lighter for a while after surgery. It is particularly important that you use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, which screens ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
It is also important to keep your new skin well moisturized. If you use Retin A or glycolic acid products, you should be able to start using them again after about six weeks or when Dr. Johnston says you can.