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Laser Face Resurfacing What to Expect


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Laser resurfacing is used to get rid of acne scars, aging spots, sun damage, freckles, and other skin imperfections. It can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Are you considering skin laser resurfacing? Approximately 176,332 laser treatments were done on people ages 40 and older in 2009 – so you are not alone. Read on to learn about what to expect, benefits and side effects of the dermatology procedures.

What to Expect – Skin laser resurfacing is done by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Skin laser resurfacing is considered an out patient procedure, which legally requires you to stay over night for observation. Depending on the size of the treatment area, local anesthetic will be applied, or you will be sedated if the entire face is undergoing face laser resurfacing.

Treating just parts of the face takes about 30 to 45 minutes. A full-face laser resurfacing treatment takes up to two hours. After the completion of the laser face resurfacing, your doctor will bandage the treated areas. After care within the first 24 hours after your procedure entails applying petroleum jelly to the treated areas to avoid the formation of scabs.

Side Effects – Side effects are relatively limited for these types of procedures. Swelling and itching are common patient reactions between 12 and 72 hours after their procedures. Depending on your procedure, the healing process can take up to anywhere from 10 to 21 days. Patients have reported noticing a lightening in skin after laser resurfacing procedures. As a result, it is increasingly important to protect your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Benefits and Risks – The benefits of laser skin resurfacing is smoother, clearer, more youthful looking skin. Risks are not common, but include:

  • Burns
  • Scarring
  • Changes in the color of skin
  • Infection
  • If you are considering skin laser resurfacing, spend some time doing proper research about costs, specialized doctors, risks and benefits before you make your decision.
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