4. It makes a difference who performs your laser skin resurfacing treatments
In the hands of a highly trained, knowledgeable professional, laser resurfacing is a safe way to dramatically improve your skin’s appearance. In the hands of a poorly trained individual, lasers can be ineffective or even dangerous. Choose a laser resurfacing provider based on an individual’s experience, training, and qualification. Don’t make your pick based solely on who offers the best deal or has a brand name laser platform.
Your best bet? Choose a cosmetic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Every ABCS certified surgeon has undergone a rigorous training fellowship that includes non-surgical treatments such as laser skin resurfacing. You can use our Find-A-Surgeon Tool to locate cosmetic surgeons near you.
5. Certain medications or conditions affect how the skin reacts to laser treatment
Always be upfront and honest with your provider about your medical history and any medications or supplements you are taking. For instance, if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters, laser treatments may induce breakouts. Acne medications that contain isotretinoin (i.e., Accutane) can lead to poor healing or scarring from laser resurfacing, while common over-the-counter products like aspirin can increase the risk of post-procedure bleeding.
Diabetes and other chronic conditions can also impact safety and results with laser resurfacing. You should also quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to and after laser treatments to avoid complications with healing and provide your body with the best chance for optimal results
.6. Different lasers are optimized for different issues and skin types
The reason there are so many different laser options is that no one laser can treat all patients and all skin concerns. Here are a few varieties you are likely to come across in your research:
CO2 Lasers are generally ablative lasers used to treat scars, warts, wrinkles and other deeper skin flaws. Popular brands of CO2 lasers include AcuPulse by Lumenis, MiXto Pro laser by Lasering USA, and CO2RE by Candela.
Erbium (Er:YAG) Lasers can be ablative or non-ablative. They promote collagen remodeling, making them popular options for treating fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, and age spots.
Pulsed-Dye Lasers are typically non-ablative lasers that heat the skin and absorb pigments to reduce redness, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, and rosacea. One of the most popular pulsed-dye lasers is the Vbeam Perfecta by Candela.
Fractional Lasers break up the laser energy into thousands of tiny beams to treat only a fraction of the skin in the area, which reduces downtime. Fractional lasers can be ablative or non-ablative, and are used to treat a number of age-related blemishes. Popular fractional laser brands include Fractora by inMode and Fraxel by Solta Medical, IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments technically are not lasers but are often used to treat similar concerns as lasers, such as sun damage, vascular lesions, acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Popular IPL skin resurfacing brands include Vasculaze by inMode and Lumecca by inMode. Learn more about IPL treatments.
When choosing a laser skin resurfacing treatment, focus on your individual goals: what skin problems do you want to address, and what results are you hoping for? The good news is you don’t have to determine this on your own: a board certified cosmetic surgeon or qualified skincare professional trained in laser resurfacing will be able to recommend the best treatment for you based on your skin type.
7. Plan on having multiple treatments
While in some cases, a single laser treatment will take care of a patient’s concerns, most non-ablative lasers call for a series of treatments to produce the most satisfying results. This is a trade-off that comes with a no-downtime treatment, but once the treatment series is complete, results are long-lasting.
9. Depending on the laser treatment, you may need some downtime
10. Although laser treatments are generally considered non-surgical, not all are downtime-free. Laser resurfacing recovery time varies depending on the type of laser used, as well as an individual’s health and healing rate.
Non-ablative lasers often require no downtime at all, while ablative lasers can require a 2- to 3-week healing process, depending on depth, before the new skin has healed completely and final results are evident.
This does not mean you have to stay at home for a month; it just means that your skin will be raw, red and scab over as it heals. You may not feel comfortable in certain social situations, and you will need to modify your activities to avoid situations where infection is possible (swimming, gym workouts, etc.).