Potential Side Effects of Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing involves the use of a laser to stimulate collagen production and the growth of newer, tauter and smoother skin cells. Some forms of resurfacing also involve a laser destroying the outermost layer of skin cells, which can be a delicate process that leaves your skin more prone to potential side effects. Before you elect to undergo resurfacing, you should be aware of the potential side effects so you can judge whether or not the procedure is worthwhile:

Skin Reddening

One prominent side effect of the laser resurfacing is skin reddening, as the skin can be literally peeled apart with the laser in order to expose another layer of skin to the surface. Your skin can also be photosensitive and react to the laser treatment by reddening. You should definitely expect your skin to be redder than usual for at least a week after the treatment. However, be aware that skin reddening can sometimes last up to six months. You can cover the reddening up with makeup until it begins to fade.

Oozing Wounds

It's quite common for the skin treated by laser resurfacing to take a full seven to 10 days before it forms scabs. In the meantime, your skin may ooze out liquids and begin forming a crusty texture. If this persists for more than 10 days or the oozing releases greenish-colored liquid, you may have an infection and should see a medical professional. Otherwise, you should wait and see if scabs begin to form. You should not wear makeup over any oozing wounds.

Prominent Scabs

Scabbing is an essential part of the healing process following laser resurfacing. You must be careful not to pick off the scabs, as you could be left with visible scarring. Scabs should begin to form several days to a week after the procedure. They will then remain visible for a period of a week or two. You can cover the scabs with makeup, but you must be gentle and careful not to scrub them off. It may be better to cover the scabs with bandages.

Skin Infection

A less frequent side effect of resurfacing, but a potentially more dangerous one, is skin infection. Since some of the signs of infection are similar to the common side effects of resurfacing, it may be difficult to tell if your skin has become infected. However, if you notice green or excessive oozing from your skin, your skin is overly red for long periods, your skin is overly tender or painful to the touch, your skin becomes hot to the touch, or you experience fever, you may have an infection. Seek medical attention immediately.

Pigmentation Changes

Patients with darker skin tones especially should take note of the potential side effect for skin pigmentation changes. Sometimes, laser resurfacing can cause permanent lightening or darkening to treated areas of skin, which means that the skin will no longer blend in with the surrounding skin of your natural skin tone.

Your cosmetic specialist can discuss any other potential risks that may apply to your case of laser resurfacing. If she feels that your individual risk for any of these side effects is high, she may recommend another kind of treatment.

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