The erbium laser skin resurfacing is a widely used treatment for wrinkles and fine lines. It is claimed to rapidly improve the facial features with a much younger and healthier looking skin
The erbium laser is used to erase superficial lines and moderate sized wrinkles from the face with less downtime, minimal pain and rapid recovery. It is a much safer laser than the CO2 laser. Because the erbium laser is not powerful, it is only designed to treat the most superficial lines and the wrinkles on the face.
The erbium laser works by removing the outermost layer of the skin to reveal the underlying skin that is smoother and younger looking. The procedure also activates collagen to promote further tightening of the skin.
The erbium laser resurfacing is performed as an outpatient procedure. Since the laser does sting a little, the physician may apply a local anesthetic to numb the area. The laser is then used to remove the necessary layers of skin to eliminate the superficial to moderate facial lines and wrinkles.
After the procedure, a bandage may or may not be placed on the treatment site. For small treated areas only a small dressing is applied. When the entire face is resurfaced, a bandage is used. This bandage is usually removed in a few days. To prevent scarring one is encouraged not to scratch the face and apply a topical antibiotic.
A moisturizing agent should be applied to prevent drying of the skin. Once skin heals, the newly formed pink skin is obvious. At this time, cosmetics can be applied to camouflage the redness. The redness may persist for 3-6 months.
Individuals with darker skin tones have a greater risk of healing with darker pigmentation. This can be decreased by use of a bleaching agent before laser skin resurfacing as well as continued use of this agent after healing.
The erbium laser can be used to treat lines and wrinkles on the:
Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead may be treated individually, or a full-face laser abrasion may be performed.
A partial-face laser abrasion may take 30-45 minutes and the full-face treatment takes 60-90 minutes.
Erbium laser skin resurfacing is now approved by the FDA for the treatment of fine lines and moderate wrinkles.
Individuals who have undergone the procedure claim that the treatment greatly improves the face with the new smoother and younger-looking skin. Erbium laser skin resurfacing has also been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, which further smoothens and tightens the skin.
Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing include:
- Skin discoloration (increased or decreased pigmentation) may result in the laser-treated areas. In general, the hyperpigmented areas may be treated with bleaching cream to speed fading of the pigment.
- Herpes infection: Reappearance of a cold sore may occur, especially after laser skin resurfacing around the mouth. This can be prevented by taking an anti viral medication before the procedure and continue taking 7-10 days after the treatment.
- Facial swelling. All individuals are encouraged to sleep with the head up for the first 24 hours. This effectively limits swelling. One can also apply a cold compress for the first 24 hours which lessens the pain and the decreases the swelling.
- Scarring is rare after Erbium laser but can occur when the laser has deeply penetrated the skin