Laser skin treatment is a method to treat a wide range of blemishes including acne, birthmarks, broken capillaries, scars, wrinkles, and fine lines. Also known as laser skin resurfacing or rejuvenation, it can improve skin that shows signs of age or damage including liver spots, sun damage, irregular pigmentation, and scars.
During this skin treatment procedure, a laser beam is concentrated on the area that is to be treated, removing the damaged cells. Laser skin treatments are sometimes done with non-ablative lasers, meaning that the procedure does not vaporize the outer layer of skin. This procedure is relatively painless; the sensation of the beam entering the skin has been described as the feeling of a pinch or a rubber band snapping. Because the surface of the skin is not cut during this non-invasive procedure, the healing process goes much faster than with other cosmetic procedures.
Laser skin resurfacing methods vary in how far they penetrate the tissue. With ablative lasers, the laser removes the outer surface of the skin. These work in a similar way to sanding a tabletop, to reveal a new, smoother surface. The heat of the laser also stimulates the underlying tissue, causing collagen to form. This collagen will smooth out any wrinkles and fill out your skin from the inside, making it smoother and tighter.
After a laser resurfacing session, your face may be red for a few hours or days, but you can expect to return to your normal activities immediately. The treatment results of resurfacing can be subtle; it may take up to five treatments to achieve the results you want because the goal is to produce gentle, yet noticeable, changes in your appearance.
There are several different lasers used for skin treatments including carbon dioxide, erbium, and Q-switched. The same types used for resurfacing are used for other laser treatments as well. The way they work makes them ideal not only for smoothing and tightening the skin and evening out the skin tone, but also lessening the appearance of scars or other marks.
During each treatment session, first the skin will be numbed to reduce your discomfort, then the beam is moved over the surface of the area. Depending on the size of the treatment area, the procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to one and a half hours. You can have the whole face treated with the laser, or focus on the areas around the eyes, forehead, or another problem area.
Afterwards, you’ll need to protect your face with sunscreen and use plenty of moisturizers. The healing time depends on how deep the energy has penetrated the skin. A deeper treatment requires more healing time, but typically fewer sessions than a procedure that has not penetrated very far into the surface of the tissue.
Although growing old is part of life, laser skin treatment can help turn back the clock. Although laser procedures are not magic and cannot fully stop the effect of time, they can help you look and feel younger.