Laser Skin Resurfacing

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A wide variety of lasers and related devices can help our skin look fresher and more youthful by correcting wrinkles, discoloration, and even scarring. An experienced provider understands the differences between the wide varieties of available devices and can recommend an appropriate treatment for the patient.

Laser skin resurfacing describes the process by which a laser or similar device is used to deliver heat to the skin in a very specific manner. In response to this stimulus, the skin undergoes a healing process that results in elimination of discolored, sun-damaged areas, producing fresh, new skin. The regenerated skin is smoother in texture and appears more youthful.  Laser skin resurfacing was first introduced in the early 1990s. The original procedure removed the entire outer layer of the skin’s surface, smoothed deep wrinkles, rejuvenated even severely damaged skin, and helped smooth acne scars very effectively.

Newer laser and energy-based technologies improve the appearance of sun damaged or scarred skin without the longer recovery times associated with traditional laser skin resurfacing.  The major difference between these technologies is the amount of controlled injury they produce.  Some conditions require more aggressive treatment, while others can benefit from a superficial treatment.  One solution that shortens recovery time after laser resurfacing is to deliver energy in a grid-like pattern as opposed to treating the skin’s entire surface area.  This approach is known as fractional resurfacing.  As only a percentage of the skin’s surface is affected by each treatment, several fractional resurfacing sessions may be required to achieve best outcomes.

To help you understand which treatment might be best for you, here are a few things to consider:

  • Superficial resurfacing treatments that only affect the top layer of the skin may help improve skin smoothness and brown discoloration, but will not reduce wrinkles.
  • The recovery time after superficial treatments is shorter than after a deeper treatment.
  • Deeper treatments are more likely to produce improvement in skin wrinkling and even induce skin tightening.
  • Superficial treatments can often be performed using topical anesthetic creams thereby avoiding the need for injections.
  • Deeper treatments are more uncomfortable and tend to require injections or other forms of anesthesia.
  • Many different types of energy can be used to produce improvements in the appearance of our skin. The brand name of the device or the type of device used is less important than the knowledge and skill of the person determining which treatment is best for you.
  • Treatment of scars is complicated and may require a combination of devices and medical treatment.

The following sections of this website will explore the various ways in which lasers and other state of the art technology-based devices can be used to help correct skin which has been damaged by aging, sun exposure, medical conditions, and accidents or injuries.