Facial laser resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure that directs a laser or intense beam of light toward facial skin to remove the top layer of skin, revealing new skin. Alternatively, facial laser resurfacing can leave the top layer of skin intact while stimulating collagen production beneath. Facial laser resurfacing usually is performed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, uneven skin pigmentation and scars.
Ablasive facial laser resurfacing, usually carried out under local anesthetic, destroys the top layer of skin on the face and heats up the lower layer, called the dermis. Heating the dermis produces collagen, which adds cohesion to skin cells with long fibers of protein. New skin grows on top of this rejuvenated base, and the new skin is less wrinkly or damaged than the old skin. The appearance of scars and blemishes is also smoother and mores blended with surrounding skin.
Non-ablasive facial resurfacing works in the same way, but the top layer of skin is not removed. The dermis is heated through the top layer of skin and stimulated to produce collagen. Collagen improves the elasticity and firmness of the skin, enhancing the appearance of the problem area from beneath the surface.
An individual who is seeking facial laser resurfacing to improve the appearance of wrinkles, uneven skin pigmentation, scars or rough or baggy skin can ask for a consultation with a dermatologist or surgeon. Treatment goes ahead under clinical conditions, where pulsing beams of light are fired at the skin in a controlled manner, specifically aiming for the problem area. Facial laser resurfacing also can be used to treat some forms of skin cancer in the early stages.
After treatment is complete, the wound is dressed under sterile conditions. The dressing is removed after about three days and the wound is washed with water or saline solution. There usually is redness remaining on the skin for about three to six months, and this can be concealed with makeup. A blemish stick containing tones of green eliminates shades of red on the skin.
People who have darker skin tones might be less likely to be offered facial laser resurfacing because it can cause even darker skin pigmentation. Other side effects include the sensation of having sunburn as well as peeling, dryness and itchiness of the skin. After the healing period, the new resurfaced skin should be smoother and more elastic than before, with the same coloring as surrounding skin. The effects on scars are considered permanent, but wrinkles or changes in skin pigmentation or texture might return as the aging process continues.