Laser Skin Resurfacing Recovery Time

Patients who experience aging, acne, or too much sun exposure which resulted in dark spots, scars, wrinkles, or lines, may benefit from laser skin resurfacing to give their skin a more youthful and healthier appearance.

Laser skin resurfacing removes precise layers of the skin to improve the appearance. The new skin cells, which form during the healing process, give the skin a firmer and more youthful surface. The procedure can be performed on its own or in addition to other cosmetic surgeries.

Laser Resurfacing Preparation

It is helpful to begin the process with a consultation. The consultation with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist will help determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

Be sure to communicate with your doctor if you experience cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth as laser skin resurfacing can trigger these types of breakouts.

In preparation for laser skin resurfacing, your doctor will ask that you not take any medications or supplements about two weeks before surgery as it can impact your ability to clotting.

Patients should also stop smoking for at least two weeks before and after the procedure as it can have a negative impact on your healing.

The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic medication before the procedure to prevent bacterial infections. An antiviral medication may be prescribed to patients who are susceptible to cold sores or fever blisters.

Procedure Expectations

Laser resurfacing is performed by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist and it an outpatient procedure which does not require an overnight stay.

The doctor may opt to treat wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, or forehead on their own or decide to treat the entire face. For smaller areas, the doctor will use a local anesthetic or may also sedate you. In the event your whole face is being treated, you may require general anesthesia.

The treatment of portions of the face takes about 30 to 45 minutes, while a full-face treatment takes up to two hours.

Once the laser resurfacing procedure is complete, the doctor will places bandages on the treated areas. 24 hours after treatment, the treated areas will need to be cleaned four to five times a day. An ointment, such as petroleum jelly, will also need to be applied in order to prevent the formation of scabs.

Following the procedure, swelling is normal. The doctor may prescribe steroids to minimize swelling around the eyes. You may feel an itching or stinging sensation for up to 72 hours after the procedure. About a week after the laser resurfacing, the skin will become dry and start peeling.

In most cases, the healing will take about 10 days to three weeks. Patients can wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness once the skin heals. The new skin should be kept well moisturized. Check with your doctor before resuming the use of Retin A or glycolic acid products.

Laser Resurfacing Risks

While laser skin resurfacing helps improve the appearance of your skin, there are potential risks which include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Burns or other injuries from the heat of the laser
  • Change in the pigmentation of the skin
  • Scarring
  • Triggering of cold sores

Laser Skin Resurfacing Cost

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser skin resurfacing in 2018 was about $2,071. As with any procedure, the cost can drastically vary based on various elements. In most cases, laser skin resurfacing is considered to be a cosmetic procedure and it is not covered by insurance.

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