Many patients come to Dr. Brian Biesman with specific questions about the benefits of laser skin resurfacing, the types of lasers available today, and about its appropriateness for addressing their particular skin concerns.
Dr. Biesman has been performing laser skin resurfacing since the early 1990s. And, he has been fortunate to play a significant role in the development of several new technologies over the years, as well as techniques. This article will provide some basic guidelines as to what laser skin resurfacing is, why it is used, and when it is or is not recommended.
To begin with, what is laser skin resurfacing? Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure in which a qualified doctor, like Dr. Biesman, uses lasers to cause a controlled injury to the skin. As the skin heals, you will often see a remarkable transformation.
Dr. Biesman’s background as an oculofacial plastic surgeon leaves him to be especially interested in resurfacing the eyelids. His many years of experience and his expertise as a laser surgeon make him uniquely qualified to perform laser resurfacing of the face, neck, chest, arms, and more. Lasers can be used all over the body to achieve a wide range of beneficial outcomes.
The Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing
There are a number of things resurfacing doesn’t do, but there is also a ton of stuff that laser resurfacing does do. Laser skin resurfacing is great for treatment of:
- Sun damage
- Aging changes in your skin
- Fine wrinkles
- Deep wrinkles
- Superficial discoloration
- Deeper changes in the skin
- Treatment of surgical scars
- Treatment of traumatic scars
- Treatment of acne scars
- Treatment of burn scars
A lot of patients ask specifically about laser skin resurfacing as a treatment for melasma or hyperpigmentation. Melasma is the brown discoloration that many patients get; it is an extremely common problem, and it is also very tough. It’s not something you can cure with laser resurfacing. Sometimes lasers or other energy-based devices, like IPL, can be used to help manage it, but for the most part melasma is a condition that’s best managed medically.
For example, laser resurfacing does not treat spider veins, it doesn’t treat blue veins under the eye, it doesn’t remove tattoos, and it doesn’t treat vascular birthmarks, all of which can be treated with other types of laser therapy.
Types of Lasers Used for Resurfacing Treatments
The spectrum of laser resurfacing devices is broad. If you have very mild changes in your skin, you just need a light resurfacing treatment. Dr. Biesman and his team also perform laser skin treatments on a maintenance basis to keep your skin looking fresh and beautiful.
If you happen to be someone who hasn’t kept up with skincare over the years, and if you have a lot of sun damage, deep wrinkles and lines, or discoloration, there are types of lasers that can address that, as well.
Some lasers are more aggressive in their treatments, and some are more superficial. It is crucial to note that aggressive lasers aren’t always better. Dr. Biesman’s job as a leading expert in laser surgery is to match the aggressiveness of the treatment with your condition.
Superficial conditions that are very mild can be addressed with very light treatments, where there may be just a day or so where your skin is pink, but with no real downtime. More advanced changes may take a couple of weeks to heal, but you get long-lasting results if you’re willing to put in that investment. More aggressive treatments can give you years, if not decades, of outstanding results. By contrast, a very superficial treatment with minimal downtime is something that you’ll probably need to keep up with on a regular basis.
Specific Types of Lasers
A lot of patients ask for treatment with certain, specific types of lasers. As you consider your own aesthetic objectives, it may be helpful to have some background knowledge about the different lasers that are available for skin resurfacing.
One very popular, well-known brand name is Fraxel. Fraxel is just that: A brand name, like Mercedes, BMW, or Chevrolet. Under that umbrella, there are actually a number of different devices. There is no such thing as a generic “Fraxel treatment.”
Some Fraxel laser treatments are associated with a little bit of pinkness of the skin, but very little in the way of healing. Others come with a bit more downtime, and some can actually have a full one to two weeks of downtime.
Some laser resurfacing treatments, such as the UltraPulse (which is the original gold-standard device), can have anywhere from three days of recovery time to a full two weeks.
When treating scars, and especially acne scars, Dr. Biesman may do something called fractional skin resurfacing. This usually involves three to six days of recovery time. It will probably take more than one fractional skin resurfacing treatment to get best outcomes, because by definition these treatments only affect a fraction of the skin’s surface. After two or three treatments, most patients see great results.
In general, the more aggressive the treatment, the longer the recovery, the better the results, and the longer those results last. The less aggressive the treatment, the faster the recovery, the lower the risk, and the greater number of treatments required. Additionally, you will probably need to keep up with these less-aggressive treatments on a more regular basis.
The Risks of Laser Skin Resurfacing
There are risks associated with any medical procedure, and laser skin resurfacing is no exception. It’s really important to understand the relative level of risk involved with the treatment that is recommended for you.
In most cases, the risks are minimal. If your treatment is performed by someone who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable, then even if something starts to go sideways, it can be recognized and treated. It is very uncommon for there to be anything that doesn’t go well with a laser resurfacing treatment.
Learn More About the Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Overall, this is a phenomenal procedure, and Dr. Biesman encourages patients to find out more about all of the benefits of laser skin resurfacing and its potential applicability. Click here to view Dr. Biesman’s laser skin resurfacing before and after photos and contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment.