As we get older, most of us experience the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around our eyes and mouth, on our foreheads and other facial areas. Some of us also have age spots, acne scars, blotchiness or uneven skin pigmentation that can’t be removed with creams or hidden by make-up. These “blemishes” are due to many factors, including sun exposure, aging, heredity, pregnancy, certain medications and lifestyle behaviors like smoking, alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet.
How Laser Works to Renew Skin
Most of these skin problems can be corrected with laser skin resurfacing – a cosmetic dermatology treatment that directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at blemished or irregular skin to correct discoloration and smooth it out. The laser works by precisely removing small areas of damaged skin from the outer layer, or epidermis. The laser beam also heats the underlying layer of skin, or dermis, of the skin. Laser skin resurfacing, which is also known as “lasabrasion,” “laser peel” or “laser vaporization,” encourages the growth of new collagen fibers as the skin heals, leading to smoother, firmer skin.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Basics
The two types of lasers that are most commonly used for laser skin resurfacing are carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each of these lasers vaporizes the damaged cells at the skin’s surface. These newer-model lasers use less intense heat than their predecessors, so any risk to patients is reduced by limiting the amount of heat absorbed by the skin. This means that patients are less likely to experience pain, scarring, discolored skin, and protracted healing periods after laser resurfacing treatment. The healing time after laser skin resurfacing with newer technology is typically two weeks or less.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Is Used to:
• Remove birthmarks, warts and wrinkles
• Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scars
• Remove varicose and spider veins
• Improve skin color and texture on the neck, chest and hands
Are you a candidate for laser skin resurfacing?
If you have very dark skin or are suffering from active acne (rather than old, inactive acne scars that have not faded or disappeared), you may not be a candidate for laser skin resurfacing. If you have allergies, a tendency to get cold sores or fever blisters, any previous burns or exposure to radiation, you will need to discuss your candidacy for laser skin resurfacing with your doctor. Individuals with darker skin tones may be better candidates for the erbium laser method, as it is less likely to cause skin discoloration than the carbon dioxide method.
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