What Is Laser Facial?
A laser — light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation — is a single-wavelength source of high-energy light that, when acutely focused, can be used to transmit light onto a designated treatment area. Utilizing the latest innovations in laser technology, cosmetic procedures, such as facial laser resurfacing, offer extreme precision for maximum results. Cosmetic laser resurfacing is a non-invasive facial rejuvenation treatment used to refine the skin’s tone and texture; reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and sagging skin; treat skin irregularities, such as acne, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation; and remediate the symptoms of chronic skin conditions, such as rosacea, both with ablative and nonablative lasers.
Laser skin resurfacing and laser facials are typically performed on an outpatient basis and they may take up to two hours to perform, depending on the type of treatment. Treatment with cosmetic lasers may cause discomfort — our dermatologists may numb the skin with local anesthetics prior to treatment in order to help minimize any pain or discomfort during treatment.
Ablative Vs. Nonablative Lasers
Ablative and nonablative lasers are the two primary lasers used during laser facial treatments. Ablative lasers vaporize top layers of damaged skin, while nonablative lasers stimulate deeper layers of the skin without removing or otherwise damaging the top skin layer. A more aggressive form of laser treatment, ablative lasers typically burn the skin and are ideal for reducing the appearance of mild-to-moderate wrinkles, facial scarring, and skin discoloration. Nonablative lasers are a resurfacing device that stimulates collagen within the skin and are ideal for improving skin texture and tone as well as reducing the appearance of skin irregularities.
How Does Facial Laser Resurfacing Work?
The types of lasers most commonly used in laser skin treatment are carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers and erbium lasers, but fractional lasers and IPL lasers — or intense pulsed light treatments — may likewise be used. Each laser vaporizes damaged skin cells at the surface level of the skin. During treatment, the laser sends short, concentrated, and pulsating light beams through each layer of skin, removing damaged skin cells.
Due to the targeted approach of this procedure, there are fewer risks of lightening of the skin (hypopigmentation) during laser treatment for acne scars. During the procedure, the laser beam simultaneously removes the outer layout of the skin (epidermis) while heating the underlying layers of skin (dermis). This combination stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers and, as the area heals, the newly formed skin is both smoother and firmer.
Contact our dermatology clinic for more information about our available treatments, including laser hair removal or to schedule skin care procedures.
Fractional laser resurfacing reveals new lawyers of glowing, healthy skin and removes hyperpigmentation, fine lines, acne scars, and uneven skin texture. The Fraxel® laser breaks up the laser energy into thousands of tiny beams to treat a small area of skin, reducing downtime following the procedure.
CO2 lasers are used to remove scar tissue, wrinkles, and other skin irregularities from deep layers of the skin through the delivery of short-pulsed light energy. This type of laser removes thin layers of facial skin with minimal damage to the surrounding tissues and encourages skin tightening and increased collagen production.
Erbium YAG Laser
Erbium YAG lasers are used to remove superficial and moderate facial lines and wrinkles within the facial skin, but it may also be used as laser treatment for wrinkles on the neck, chest, and hands. This laser is likewise used to remove vascular lesions, such as broken blood vessels, spider veins, and birthmarks from the skin.
Intense pulsed light treatment, or photo facial, comprises a non-laser light-based treatment that removes dark spots, melasma, redness, and sun damage from facial skin. IPL treatments may reverse the appearance of uneven skin tone and other skin irregularities in 1-3 treatments and is quick, painless, and highly effective.
Pulsed-dye lasers, such as the Vbeam® laser, are typically nonablative lasers that heat the skin and absorb pigments in order to reduce redness, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, and rosacea. Heat closes the affected veins and restores blood flow to healthier veins, resulting in a gradual reduction of skin imperfections.
Benefits Of Laser Skin Treatments
Our dermatology clinic offers comprehensive treatment options for laser skin rejuvenation that preferentially target facial collagen, thereby reducing wrinkles, improving skin tone and texture, tightening the skin, and reducing the visibility of facial pores. The high energy laser and light devices can provide remarkable improvements in the skin and the appearance of patients. While the use of laser treatment for facial rejuvenation is quite common, it is not without risk, which is why treatment should only be performed by an experienced clinician with a trusted dermatology clinic. Laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat the following.
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Crow’s feet
- Drooping eyelids
- Large pores
- Sagging Skin
- Sun-damaged skin
- Uneven skin texture
Am I A Candidate For Laser Resurfacing?
Patients may be good candidates for laser resurfacing if they have fine lines and/or wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, or forehead; shallow scars from acne; or non-responsible skin after a facelift. Laser facials may not be recommended for patients with acne or those with extremely dark skin tones as well as patients with deep wrinkles and excessive or sagging skin. This treatment is also not intended for treating stretch marks. To determine whether you are a candidate for laser skin treatment, contact our office today.
How Do I Prepare For A Laser Facial?
For the best results following a laser facial, your dermatologist may first recommend that patients undergo a series of treatments to prepare the skin for treatment. Oftentimes, these treatments begin six weeks prior to the scheduled procedure, and they are customized to each patient’s particular skin type in order to minimize complications and to obtain the best results from laser resurfacing. Prior to the procedure, the patient should ensure that their skin is freshly cleansed and without any lotions, oils, creams, or fragrances. If there is excessive hair in the treatment area, we may recommend shaving the area prior to treatment.
Patients should avoid sun exposure to the treatment area for two weeks before treatment — when exposed to the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 35 or higher. Additionally, it’s recommended that patients avoid the use of any topic products which cause photosensitivity, such as hydroxyl acids, salicylic acid, retinol, and benzoyl peroxide, for a week before treatment. Injections of Botox® or dermal fillers and chemical peels should be avoided for at least 14 days before laser skin resurfacing. Safety is our priority. If the skin is not ready for laser, we’ll reschedule and address them next time.
What To Expect During Recovery
Skin that is treated with cosmetic lasers may react in multiple ways, but in the majority of cases, the treatment area feels as though it has been sunburned. Patients may experience some redness and swelling as well as itching or stinging for a few days after the procedure. Approximately a week following the procedure, the skin will become dry and peel — patients are advised to avoid scratching or disturbing the treatment area to avoid scarring. In order to ensure optimal recovery, patients should adhere to the following steps. In some cases, the treated skin may remain red or pink in color for several months after a laser facial and patients may experience advanced sensitivity to light for up to a year. Patients should minimize sun exposure and apply sun-protection liberally.
- Clean the treated areas two to five times per day, as directed by your dermatologist.
- Apply dermatologist-provided protective laser skin care treatments to aid in healing.
- Following healing, use a sunscreen that is formulated specifically for sensitive, rejuvenated skin on the face each day — no exceptions!
- Closely follow recovery instructions provided by the dermatologist.
Laser Facial Treatment Before & After
Once the skin has peeled and the recovery process is complete, the skin will be rejuvenated with immediately noticeable improvements to firmness, skin tone and texture, pore size, and tone. Improvements may continue for up to a year following laser resurfacing. While the effects of laser resurfacing can last for multiple years, the normal aging process and exposure to sun and other environmental factors may cause skin issues to reoccur. Laser resurfacing may require multiple treatments in order to achieve ideal results. Contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center for more information or to schedule a laser facial treatment!