Laser resurfacing (also called a laser peel, laser vaporization, and lasabrasion) is a cosmetic procedure used to provide a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance to the skin. The procedure removes superficial skin layers, stimulating the formation of new collagen fibers that lead to healthier, firmer, and tighter skin.
Most people report recovering within 5 days to 3 weeks after laser skin resurfacing treatment. How long it takes to recover after laser resurfacing varies depending on factors such as:
- Area treated
- Depth of the treatment
- Type of laser used
- Post-procedure care or routine
Within 5-7 days, the skin may become dry and start to peel. New skin will start to appear as the old skin peels off and may initially appear pink and delicate. The new skin will start to match the rest of your complexion within 2-3 months, although it may take a year for skin tone to return to normal. Skin redness tends to last longer in redheads and blondes.
How does the skin react to laser resurfacing?
- Redness and swelling similar to a sunburn
- Mild burning or itching
- Sun sensitivity
- Stinging sensation
Severe symptoms may include:
- Skin rawness
- Oozing and crusting
Resist the temptation to pick, rub, or scratch at crusty areas. Doing so may cause even more problems, such as infection and scarring.
Skin care after laser resurfacing is critical in order to get the best results. You will likely be given instructions on how to care for your skin following the procedure, such as cleansing the skin regularly and wearing sunscreen. Follow these instructions carefully, and discuss any skin concerns with your doctor.
What skin issues are treated with laser resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing may help treat the following skin issues:
- Uneven skin tone
- Fine lines or wrinkles
- Acne scars
- Sun damage
- Age spots
- Liver spots
- Dull, yellowish, or grayish skin tone
- Birthmarks or moles
- Enlarged oil (sebaceous) glands
- Sagging skin
Most people notice firmer skin right after the procedure, and skin tone may continue to improve over a year. However, results are not permanent, and as you age and your skin continues to change, you may need a repeat procedure.
Can I use makeup after laser resurfacing?
Applying makeup on raw and unhealed skin may cause more skin damage and should be avoided. You should only start wearing makeup again once the skin has healed and your doctor has given you the OK to start using cosmetic products again.
Once your skin has healed, use gentle and oil-free makeup products to avoid further irritating your skin.
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American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Laser Skin Resurfacing: Top 8 Things You Need to Know. https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/skin-resurfacing/the-top-8-things-you-need-to-know-about-laser-skin-resurfacing/
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What should I expect during my laser skin resurfacing recovery? https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/recovery