Laser Skin Resurfacing

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Laser skin resurfacing is an effective and long-lasting way of reducing the damaging effects of sun exposure, aging and certain skin disorders. It is specifically useful for improving:

  • Fine lines or wrinkles around or under your eyes, mouth or forehead
  • Leathery, sun-damaged skin
  • Scars from acne or chickenpox
  • The appearance of liver spots, warts or birthmarks
  • Irregular changes in your skin colour, such as blotchiness or brown spots
  • Enlarged oil glands on the nose
  • Non-responsive skin after a facelift

Resurfacing lasers are either ablative or non-ablative. Ablative lasers use rapid pulses of high-intensity light to remove the damaged upper layers of your skin, thereby revealing smoother unblemished skin beneath. The laser also triggers new cell growth to repair the damage.

Non-ablative lasers are less invasive. They act by stimulating collagen growth and tightening the underlying skin, without removing the upper layers of the skin. Although the results may not last quite as long as ablative skin resurfacing, there are far fewer side effects and a much faster recovery.

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You may be directed to use creams or lotions prior to the procedure to prepare your skin. Depending on the laser treatment chosen, your doctor will provide topical, local or general anesthesia for the procedure. You then lie back as the laser is passed over the face. It takes approximately an hour and half to do the entire face.

Immediately after the procedure, your resurfaced skin may be covered with petroleum jelly or other protective ointment, and in some cases, dressings, tape, or a bandage may be applied.

Your recovery will depend on the technique and depth of treatment. A more superficial treatment will require less healing time than a deeper treatment. Your doctor will be able to discuss specific care instructions and what you can expect during recovery, based on your treatment.

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Swelling, redness, oozing and peeling are common after ablative techniques. The redness can last for months, but green-tinted makeup can help hide it. A more serious but less common potential side effect is hyperpigmentation, in which the treated skin appears darker than the surrounding skin. Contact your physician if you’re concerned that any pain, redness or swelling are signs of a problem.

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