About Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing at Sessions Plastic Surgery Centre is a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure that uses pulsating beams of light to exfoliate damaged surface skin one layer at a time. The treatment is great for correcting facial lines and wrinkles and for improving skin blemishes, like acne scars, pigmentation, and more. Also called a laser peel, laser skin resurfacing is a great facial treatment for patients desiring softer, clearer, youthful-looking skin. We perform skin resurfacing treatments with either a Fraxel laser or a CO2 laser, both of which can be adjusted according to the condition of the complexion. There is some downtime needed with most laser skin resurfacing procedures. Any concerns or questions can be discussed with La Mesa, CA plastic surgeon Scott Sessions during your consultation.
Types of Laser Treatments
Sessions Plastic Surgery Centre has two types of skin resurfacing lasers, which will be used based on your skin's needs. For milder cases of skin damage, we might choose the Fraxel laser, which is non-ablative. For more aggressive treatment, we may choose the CO2 laser. Both of these lasers are fractionated, which means they can target tiny areas without damaging any surrounding skin.
- Non-Ablative Laser Treatments
Non-ablative lasers do not remove any skin — the laser creates micro-damage to the skin to prompt the body's natural healing response. Non-ablative procedures are ideal for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles on patients who are able to wait several months for strong results.
- Fractional-Ablative Laser Treatments
Fractional-ablative lasers remove the very thin top layer of skin, as well as create micro-damage in the lower layers of the skin. The skin's automatic healing creates firmer, healthier skin from the inside out. Fractional lasers may be used to help deep wrinkles, acne scarring, sun damage, and pigmentation problems.
There are several factors to take into consideration when deciding which laser peel treatment is right for your skin. Laser skin resurfacing is designed for anyone who is unhappy with their general complexion. If you have sun damage, acne scars, age spots, lines and wrinkles, redness, or pigmentation concerns, a laser skin resurfacing treatment can address these cosmetic flaws. In addition, laser skin resurfacing works well for patients who have scaly patches, rough texture, or other irregularities. This treatment is not recommended if you have very dark skin or active acne. Also, it is important to be aware that there is downtime associated with these laser peels. Some patients, depending on the condition of their skin, may need up to 2 – 3 weeks for recovery.
When you schedule a deeper or more intense laser resurfacing treatment, you may be asked to use a retinoid cream for a few weeks before your procedure. This helps prepare the skin for better results. Medication may be prescribed prior to the treatment to help minimize pain and for greater relaxation during your session. If your skin only needs mild correction, a topical anesthetic will be used to numb certain areas the laser will target. For the full face or more intense laser treatments, some form of sedation may be used. During the procedure, you will relax in our treatment chair while the laser glides over your skin, precisely targeting the specific sections for resurfacing. You will feel the warmth from the laser followed by cold air from the built-in cooling system. The laser works to eliminate dead and damaged skin cells while also stimulating natural collagen production.
What to Expect
After lighter peels, a healing ointment is applied to your skin, and you can return home to recover. Your skin will appear red, and there will be some irritation and swelling. This should subside within a couple of days, and the peeling process will last over a 3 – 5-day timeframe. If you are receiving a more intense laser treatment, your recovery period will last longer. The treated areas will most likely be covered by dressings, and the irritation, swelling, and burning side effects will be more intense. Medication can be prescribed to minimize these side effects. The recovery time associated with a deeper laser peel can last 2 – 3 weeks. All patients should reduce their sun exposure after their treatment and apply sun protection frequently. For all peel intensities, the skin will naturally flake, crust, and peel away. To avoid scarring, it is vital that you protect the treated area from UV exposure and do not interfere with the healing process. Once the peeling process has been completed, your skin will feel softer and look rejuvenated, younger, and clearer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does laser skin resurfacing cost?
Laser skin resurfacing costs vary based on the treatment type used and the size of the treatment area. At your consultation, we will examine and evaluate your complexion and talk about your concerns. Then we will be better able to estimate your costs. Sessions Plastic Surgery Centre often runs treatment specials and discounted packages so ask for more information during your consultation.
What's the best type of resurfacing for me?
Dr. Sessions will help you decide which laser resurfacing treatment fits your needs and goals during your consultation. The best treatment for you will depend on the health of your skin, your skin problems, and how deep you want your treatment to go. How long you are willing to give your recovery may also be a deciding factor when choosing your treatment type. When in doubt, it's best to try a lighter treatment to see how you like your results and adjust as needed for your next treatment.
How can I help my skin recover after a resurfacing treatment?
Dr. Sessions or a member of his team will give you tips on how you can help your skin heal after a laser resurfacing treatment. The number one rule is not to pick or peel your skin. This could lead to lasting damage, including scars. You should skip all hair removal methods in the treatment area during healing, which means no shaving, waxing, or depilatory creams. We will recommend an ointment to help soothe and heal your skin.
What are the possible side effects of a laser peel?
Patients rarely experience any unusual side effects from a laser peel. However, like any cosmetic procedure, a slight risk does exist. Possible side effects could include a burning sensation, a rash or bumps, infection, swelling, scars, redness, and hyperpigmentation. Certain medications could increase the chances of some of these side effects so be sure to discuss all of your medication, including OTCs, with Dr. Sessions at your consultation. Following all of your pre- and post-treatment instructions is important in avoiding any of these issues.
How long will my laser skin resurfacing results last?
With the proper skin care, your results could last from 1 – 5 years, or an average of 3 years. It is very important that you always use sunscreen and avoid overexposing your skin to the sun. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as genetics and hormone shifts, can affect your results. Some patients are able to maintain their results longer with the use of medical-grade skin care products.
A Softer, Clearer Complexion
A laser skin resurfacing peel offers excellent results if you want a younger-looking complexion. If you are thinking about a laser resurfacing treatment and would like to learn more about them, as well as other nonsurgical treatments Sessions Plastic Surgery Centre offers, we invite you to call our office in La Mesa, CA today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sessions.