Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Skin Rejuvenation
During a laser skin rejuvenation procedure, the physician uses a laser to send short, concentrated pulsating beams of light to the skin. The light allows for excellent precision, so only the damaged skin receives treatment. The irregular skin is removed one layer at a time by the laser. While the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is being removed, the lower lying layers, called the dermis are being heated. The warmth stimulates the grown of collagen fibers, which are the protein that give your skin its firmness and elasticity. The new skin that forms will be firmer, smoother, and healthier.
Most patients can expect their treatment to take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Times vary based on the size of the area of skin being treated and the extent of the skin damage.
Laser skin rejuvenation can be painful. To control the discomfort, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Some patients receive sedation to keep them at ease. In some cases, patients have laser skin rejuvenation performed simultaneously with other plastic surgery procedures. General anesthesia may be administered in these situations.
Following the procedure, pain medication can be prescribed by the doctor to help manage discomfort that may persist afterwards. Most patients feel that the sensation is similar to mild sunburn.
Special dressings will be applied. Dressings may need to be changed and/or topical treatments may need to be applied to aid healing. You will experience some redness and swelling. Some people also report itching. If the skin begins to ooze and crust over, do not pick at it. Specific instructions will be given on how to clean the area.
After 5 – 7 days the skin will become dry and begin to peel. The new skin will be pink, but will begin to gradually return to your normal skin tone within two to three months. Make-up can be applied as camouflage after the area has healed.
It can take up to one year in some patients for the pinkness in the new skin to completely return to normal. It is important to continue to care well for your skin and practice excellent sun protection.
The following complications may arise as a result of laser skin resurfacing. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following: acne flare ups, hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), bacterial infection, reactivation of cold sores, excessive swelling, or small white bumps (milia). Most side effects can be treated. Scarring, though rare, can also occur; especially if the skin is picked at while healing.
Most health insurance companies will not cover elective plastic surgery procedures unless they are medically necessary. Speak to your insurance company to find out what they will and will not cover. Contact our patient coordinator if you have any questions, need help with your insurance provider, or would like to hear about financing options.