Aging and the environment can leave your skin wrinkled and weathered looking

Time and the environment are primary causes for collagen (the main protein of connective tissue that keeps your skin full and healthy looking) production to decline.  Laser treatment for skin resurfacing uses beamlets of energy light to bore tiny holes in the skin, which works to put the body’s natural collagen production on fast-forward.

There are 2 types of laser skin resurfacing; with the first type, laser resurfacing is done uniformly across your skin, similar to deeper chemical peels or dermabrasion.  In the second type, commonly referred to as fractional resurfacing, the laser bores tiny holes into the deeper layers of your skin.

With uniform skin resurfacing, the surgeon has greater control to the depth of the procedure however, it does impact the entire surface being treated.  With fractional resurfacing there is less chance of surface damage yet can result in deeper tissue complications that may result in scars.

Laser resurfacing can be used to treat a wide array of facial skin conditions, including fine wrinkles around mouth and eyes, aging skin, and to soften or reduce some scars such as acne or chicken pox.  Laser skin resurfacing can also lessen deeper wrinkles but will not erase them completely.

Dr. Walker will work with you to determine if resurfacing is a good option for you.  She will evaluate your skin type, the severity of any sun damage, the extent of uneven pigmentation, and the depth of skin imperfections.

What goes on during a laser treatment?

During laser resurfacing a light source is targeted to a selected area of your skin.  The laser damages your skin in order to "kick start" healing and promote collagen production.

Immediately following the treatment, the skin will appear red and needs to be kept moist by either ointment, dressings or a combination of both.  Most people need to take at least 2-3 weeks away from work following this procedure.  Once initial healing has occurred, camouflage make-up may be used until the skin returns to its normal color.

The whole procedure is done under local or topical anesthesia. You are awake and comfortable the entire time.  Prior to the procedure, topical numbing cream is applied for 60-90 minutes.

Tylenol may be used for post-treatment discomfort but is not always necessary.  One treatment lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours is usually enough.  After treatment, the treated skin is red and gradually fades to normal.  This process can take 6 months or more and the treated area continues to tighten and improve with time.

The best candidates for laser skin resurfacing

You can have your skin resurfaced at almost any age and you may be a good candidate for skin resurfacing if you have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Wrinkled or sun-damaged facial skin
  • Vertical wrinkles around your mouth
  • "Crow's feet" (lines around your eyes) and perhaps some skin laxity in your lower eyelid area
  • Fine wrinkling of your upper eyelids
  • Brown spots or blotchy skin coloring
  • Acne or chicken pox scars
  • Superficial facial scars from a past injury