Laser skin resurfacing is an advanced skin rejuvenation treatment that improves fine lines, and lightens skin blemishes. Practitioners have relied on laser technology for decades to remove certain skin lesions. This nonsurgical procedure uses laser beams of light and heat to target localized trouble areas on the face. It is most commonly used to correct sun damage by stripping injured skin layer-by-layer with controlled precision. This procedure is also referred to as lasabrasion, laser vaporization, or laser peeling.
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Laser skin resurfacing removes the outer layer of skin and heats the underlying layer to stimulate growth of new collagen fibers. During this process, damaged skin cells on the outer layer are stripped away, leaving a new layer of healthy skin to grow. If small sections of the face are being addressed, the procedure will typically take about 45 minutes. A full-face treatment, or larger areas of skin, can take up to 2 hours. Multiple sessions are sometimes needed to attain the desired results.
Ablative vs. Non-Ablative
Laser skin resurfacing is either ablative or non-ablative. During an ablative procedure, an intense beam of laser light energy is directed at the skin, removing the outer thin layers. This process generally results in a longer recovery. The results, however, can be a bit more dramatic. A non-ablative laser does not remove any layers of skin. Instead, it stimulates the growth of collagen, which helps tighten underlying skin. This process offers a lighter recovery. Results will not be immediate, but will appear over the course of multiple appointments.
Considered the gold standard among many practitioners is CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser resurfacing. This is an ablative method, which removes both the epidermis and some of the underlying dermis to promote collagen growth so new, healthy skin can thrive. Examples include the Sciton Laser Skin Resurfacing System, the UltraPulse CO2 and the Fraxel (fractional CO2) lasers. These are newer generation lasers that deliver short-pulse light energy as well as continuous light beams to produce customized results for each patient’s specific needs.
During/After the Procedure
Some mild swelling will occur after a laser resurfacing treatment. It is common for the face to have crust and scaling as it heals. The treated area may appear red or pink for several weeks. Normal activities can usually resume within a couple of weeks. Patients who have sensitive skin or who have had adverse reactions to facial products may have increased side effects. Laser skin resurfacing will leave the face exposed with a new layer of healthy, yet sensitive, skin. It’s advised to wear sunscreen every day and limit sun exposure as much as possible.
The cost for laser skin resurfacing varies according to the technology used and the number and size of areas treated. The average cost can range between $1,000-$2,500. Factors included are medications (including anesthesia if needed), practitioner’s fee and machine use costs.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $1,000 - $2,500
- Recovery Time
- 2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 1-2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- Procedure Recovery Location
Laser Skin Resurfacing FAQs
While laser skin resurfacing does not stop the aging process, the results can still be long-lasting. As patients continue to age, they may consider additional treatments.
Ablative vs. Non-Ablative
While one is not better than the other, they have varying degrees of intensity and recovery. Both techniques provide nice results. During your initial consultation, we will discuss which is best for you. Factors include the patient’s aesthetic goals, skin type and how much downtime can be tolerated.