Skin Care After Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing

Fractional skin resurfacing can be done on all skin types and in all races. However, those individuals who have sensitive skin may require lower energy to prevent the side effects.

Most individuals require 4-6 sessions to get the best cosmetic result. Each treatment can be spaced anytime between 7-10 days. Closer spacing of treatment sessions improves the results for fine lines and acne scars, whereas spacing the treatment sessions further apart improves the results for smaller skin lesions and discoloration.

Most individuals begin to see improvement after the first few sessions but the final results are best evident after 2-3 months.

Fractional skin resurfacing is best used to treat skin lesions on the:

- face

- neck

- back of the arms

- chest

Prior to undergoing fractional skin resurfacing, all individuals should:

- avoid a sun tan at least 4-6 weeks prior to the procedure

- avoid taking oral Retinoids for at least 3-4 months prior to the procedure

- avoid taking topical Retinoids at least 2-3 weeks

- start acyclovir if they have had previous herpetic skin infections

Fractional skin resurfacing should not be done in individuals who:

- take oral corticosteroids

- are prone to keloids

- who have active skin infections

- Easily develop skin discolorations following trauma

Following fractional laser resurfacing, all individuals develop a "sun burn" type of skin. The degree of sunburn effect is usually mild and is associated with minimal pain. This minor side effect usually lasts 1-2 days. The mild bruising and swelling persist for a few more days.

There are some individuals who have very sensitive skin and who easily develop swelling- in these individuals the swelling may last for a few weeks.

After the laser treatment, the skin texture does feel rough for a few weeks and with time, the texture becomes smooth.

The downtime after fractional laser treatment is minimal and most individuals are able to resume their daily living activities within 24 hours.

Application of a skin moisturizer is highly recommended after the laser treatment. The moisturizer helps keep the skin moist and free from itching and dryness. If the skin irritation is more intense, one may even apply a topical hydrocortisone cream.

Shaving of the hair may be done after 24 hours.

Make-up and cosmetics creams can be worn soon after treatment and can help camouflage the pink skin

A must for all individuals who undergo laser skin resurfacing is the use of sunscreens. The use of sunscreen is highly recommended for at least 3-6 months after the treatment. Failure to use sunscreens can lead to severe and irreversible discoloration.

Additional skin protection can be obtained by wearing long sleeved shirts and the use of wide brimmed hats

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