Laser resurfacing, also called a "laser peel", strips off areas of damaged skin layer by layer with the help of a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser.
The procedure is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It particularly smoothes crow's feet around the eyes and fine lines around the mouth. Laser resurfacing is also effective in treating facial scars - such as acne scars - and for evening out skin texture.
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Laser resurfacing is performed with a beam of CO2 laser light; which vaporizes the top layers of damaged skin. The goal is to strip the outer layers of damaged skin away leaving a top layer of fresh skin. During the healing process, new skin cells form and the skin becomes tight and smooth.
It's believed that laser resurfacing produces less bruising, bleeding and discomfort post-op than other resurfacing methods, although it still poses a risk for some patients. Patients with dark skin tones have been prone to altered pigmentation. This is why it's important to be referred to a professional physician through your doctor or dermatologist.
A laser resurfacing procedure can take a few minutes to treat, but larger areas can take up to 2-hours. Often, the procedure is done in combination with another cosmetic surgery - like a face lift
. You might feel a little swelling and discomfort after your laser resurfacing procedure, and your new skin will appear raw and red for a few weeks. Patients should refrain from applying makeup until their skin is fully healed.