Laser Skin Resurfacing Therapy

Several modern therapies are based on focused light, popularly known as laser. The term laser is an acronym and comes from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser light is focused into a specific wage length, unlike other light sources, which greatly increases its power. Some lasers are so strong they can even cut through steel plates or diamonds.

Laser skin resurfacing is a modern and very effective treatment with cosmetic applications. It restores the health of the skin and can cure some facial skin diseases, as well as eliminate the damage caused by aging or exposure to sunlight. It is a cheap therapy compared to other options, while being safe and effective at the same time. The therapy is also known as a laser peel because it strips the outer skin layers, which are usually damaged. This forces the body to produce collagen and a new top layer of skin, which will be healthier and smoother than the old one.

This therapy relies on a powerful beam of light to correct skin issues and is a very popular cosmetic procedure. It is effective against many skin problems but mainly used to eliminate age spots, wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, face blemishes, acne scars and stretch marks.

Many laser skin resurfacing treatments are based on fractional lasers. Their big advantage is that fractional lasers are able to focus on a very small area of skin, unlike other options that target large areas. As a result, the healthy surrounding tissues are not affected at all and the recovery time is reduced compared to conventional treatments.

Laser skin resurfacing is excellent against irregular skin that is covered by blemishes or scars. The light is focused into very powerful pulsating beams, which destroy the top layers of damaged skin. Since it vaporizes the skin and peels it, this therapy is also known under the alternative names of laser peel, laser vaporization or lasabrasion.

Some of the skin issues that can be effectively corrected by laser skin resurfacing are small acne signs or the wrinkles and fine lines that appear on the forehead and around the eyes or mouth. People who recover from a facelift can also benefit from this treatment.

However, it can't always be used. People with very dark skin should avoid it, as well as individuals with serious acne problems. It is ineffective against stretch marks. Your doctor is the best qualified to decide if this is the right procedure for you or an alternative treatment should be used.

How does laser skin resurfacing work?

Several types of lasers can be used for laser resurfacing but the most common are erbium and carbon dioxide (CO2). They have the same effect and destroy the damaged skin cells on the surface by vaporizing them.

CO2 Laser Resurfacing

This is an old therapy that has been tried and tested for many years. It is safe and effective against many skin problems, such as scars, warts, wrinkles or oversized sebum glands.

Fractionated CO2 is a new form of this very old therapy. It uses ultra-pulses, which are continuous light beams with a very short beam. The laser is applied in a so-called scanning pattern and only vaporizes small skin layers. This keeps the heat damage at minimum levels and speeds up recovery, which lasts no longer than two weeks.

Erbium Laser Resurfacing

Erbium laser skin resurfacing is more powerful and is able to eliminate deeper skin problems such as lines or wrinkles, not only from the face but from the hands, neck or chest as well. It is able to do it without causing serious damage to healthy tissues. Even if the laser penetrates deeper, it actually causes less side effects when compared to CO2 laser skin resurfacing, while recovery is faster. Your doctor can give you an estimate but recovery shouldn't take more than one week. Possible side effects are swelling, inflammation or bruising but this type of laser skin resurfacing is more effective for darker skin types.

Benefits of a laser skin resurfacing procedure

This cosmetic treatment is usually very effective and restores the beauty and youthful look of your skin. In most cases, it is used to remove a wide range of skin issues, like acne scarring, age spots, birthmarks, blotchy patches, fine lines and wrinkles. However, the therapy is also recommended simply to rejuvenate the skin, if it starts to have a rough texture due to the effects of sun exposure in time. If the laser is allowed to penetrate deeper into the skin, it boosts the synthesis of collagen in the lower layers.

Laser treatments can also eliminate larger skin growths, such as warts or moles. Early cancer tumours can also be safely removed this way. Laser therapy is commonly used after facial injuries or in order to restore facial skin after a surgical procedure that results in scarring.

The body needs around two weeks to recover and grow a new skin layer that will replace the vaporized one. The new skin will always be healthier and better looking. Some minor symptoms can persist for several months, for example a pink skin color. A common practice is to use makeup to cover such skin discolorations. If you plan to have a laser skin resurfacing procedure, you should arrange for one or two weeks away from work. Ask your doctor if you want a more accurate estimate of the recovery time.

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