Laser resurfacing treatment improves the texture and tone of
your skin by selectively heating and damaging (ablating) the skin layers to trigger
a rejuvenating healing process. Laser resurfacing can reduce the appearance of pigmentation
issues, wrinkles, loose skin, and certain types of acne scarring. Fully
ablative lasers damage whole areas of skin and are more effective. Fractionated
lasers ablate a percentage of your skin for a milder recovery, but may require
How laser resurfacing is performed
Laser resurfacing is an in-office procedure performed under local
anesthesia and takes about one to two hours.
Your dermatologist will numb your skin with a topical
anesthetic. An injected anesthesia or nerve blocker may also be used for very
deep resurfacing. Your treatment areas are then marked with a pen, and the
laser hand piece is passed over your skin. The hand piece shines a targeted
laser beam that damages, or ablates your skin down to a preselected
depth—usually the superficial to mid layers. There may be some discomfort
during treatment, and you’ll feel a zapping, or rubber-band snap sensation.
Fully ablative lasers damage full areas of your skin, and
are more effective than fractionated lasers. Treatment discomfort and recovery
can be more significant though. Fractionated lasers ablate your skin in tightly
packed pin-points, rather than a whole area, leaving tiny sections of untreated
skin between the points of damage. This makes for a more comfortable procedure
and a milder recovery, but multiple treatments may be necessary for best
Recovery and results
Most laser resurfacing treatments will take
about one to three weeks of downtime depending on how aggressive the laser was.
You can expect mild to moderate discomfort, redness, dryness, swelling, and
peeling during the healing process. Your skin will completely heal after one to
three months and will be significantly smoother, even looking, and tighter. You
may need multiple treatments for best results.