What is laser skin resurfacing?
If aging, acne, or too much time in the sun has left your face with blotches, scars, wrinkles, or lines, laser skin resurfacing may help your skin look younger and healthier. Laser skin resurfacing removes skin layer by layer with precision. The new skin cells that form during healing give the skin a tighter, younger-looking surface. The procedure can be done alone or with other cosmetic surgeries on the face.
How much it costs?
Laser skin resurfacing is measured as a cosmetic process, so it is not enclosed by health insurance. Costs vary between the types of lasers used. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), non-ablative laser treatments cost around $ 1,031 per session, while ablative treatments cost around $ 2,330 per session. Your total cost also depends on the number of sessions you need, as well as the area to be treated. Some more experienced dermatologists may also charge more per session. You will likely need several laser resurfacing sessions until you achieve your desired results.
Who should get this procedure?
You might consider this procedure if you have age or acne-related skincare concerns that are not treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat one or more of the following skin concerns:
- Age spots
- Acne scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Crow’s feet
- Sagging skin
- Uneven skin tone
- Enlarged oil glands
Your natural skin tone can also determine whether this is the best type of cosmetic procedure for you. People with lighter skin tones are often good candidates because they carry a reduced risk for hyperpigmentation
Laser skin resurfacing risk factors
Like other cosmetic procedures, laser skin resurfacing does pose the risk for side effects.
By following your doctor’s pre-care and post-care instructions, you may reduce your risk for these types of complications. Depending on your medical history, you may be prescribed a precautionary antibiotic or antiviral medication.
Taking acne medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), may increase your risk for scars. You should talk to your dermatologist about any medical conditions you have, as well as all medications you take including Aspirin, for example, which can affect post-laser treatment recovery by increasing your bleeding risk.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing can also cause side effects, including:
- Infection: Non-ablative laser resurfacing can lead to an outbreak of the herpes virus.
- Changes in skin color: ablative laser resurfacing can temporarily make the treated skin darker than before the treatment (hyperpigmentation).
- Mild swelling and redness: The swelling and redness usually last only hours or days.
Laser resurfacing is not for everyone. Your doctor may warn you against laser resurfacing if:
- You have taken the acne medication isotretinoin (Claravis, Myorisan, Zenatane) in the past year.
- You have an autoimmune disease or a weak immune system.
- It has a tendency to form scars.
- You have received radiation therapy to your face.
- You are prone to developing cold sores or have had a recent outbreak of cold sores or herpes virus.
- Have a darker skin tone.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How do you prepare
Before undergoing laser resurfacing, your doctor will likely:
- Ask about their medical history: Be prepared to answer the questions about current and past medical conditions as well as any cosmetic procedures you have had in the past.
- Do a physical exam: Your doctor will examine your skin and the region to be treated. This will help you determine what changes can be made and how your physical characteristics, for example, the tone and thickness of your skin, may affect your results.
Before laser resurfacing, you may also need to:
- Take medications to prevent complications: If you people have ablative laser resurfacing, or non-ablative laser resurfacing, and you have a past of herpes infections in the region of the mouth, your doctor will advise an antiviral prescription before and after treatment to stop the viral infection.
- Avoid exposure to the sun without protection: Too much sun up to two months before the procedure can cause permanent uneven pigmentation in the treated areas. Intense sun exposure can also reactivate the herpes virus in some people. Talk to your doctor about sun protection and acceptable sun exposure.
- Stop smoking: If you smoke, try to quit at least two weeks before and after your treatment. This improves your chances of avoiding complications and helps your body heal.
Possible side effects
By following your doctor’s pre-and post-care instructions, you can reduce the risk of these types of complications. Depending on your medical history, you may be prescribed a precautionary antibiotic or antiviral medication. Taking acne medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), can increase your risk of scarring. You should talk to your dermatologist about any medical conditions you have, as well as all the medications you take, including those over the counter.