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Laser Spa Laser Resurfacing

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Glowing Skin with Laser Resurfacing in Birmingham, Alabama

Laser Skin Resurfacing, also known as a Laser Peel, reduces facial scars, wrinkles and blemishes by removing the outer layer of skin (epidermis) while heating the underlying skin (dermis) to stimulate the growth of new collagen. As the treated area heals, the new skin that forms is smoother and firmer.

Advancements in laser technologies give the Certified Laser Technicians at Hedden Plastic Surgery & Spa Greystone a new level of control in laser resurfacing, permitting extreme precision especially in delicate areas. With laser skin resurfacing, damaged skin is removed in a very precise manner one layer at a time.

Laser resurfacing can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the entire face or those that develop in specific regions of the face, such as the upper lip and around the eyes.

Safe and effective laser skin resurfacing procedures performed by the experienced technicians at our Birmingham, Alabama cosmetic center include Pearl Laser Resurfacing and Pearl Fractional Laser Resurfacing.

Laser Skin Resurfacing Candidates

Laser skin resurfacing can improve minor facial flaws such as:

  • Fine lines or wrinkles around or under the eyes, forehead or mouth.
  • Scars from acne or chickenpox.
  • Non-responsive skin after a Facelift.
  • Aged or sun-damaged skin.
  • Liver spots.
  • Yellowish or grayish skin tones.
  • Warts.
  • Birthmarks.
  • Enlarged oil glands on the nose.

Pigmentation disorders such as sun spots and age spots are treated with lasers or specially formulated Chemical Peels. Careful consideration of your natural skin color and type will determine the treatment best suited to minimize your risk of developing additional pigmentation or loss of pigmentation (whitening of the skin).

The appearance of acne scars and other skin conditions can be improved with laser and fractional resurfacing, or with mechanical resurfacing such as Dermabrasion or Dermaplaning. The degree of scarring and your skin type and color will determine the available treatment options.

Laser skin resurfacing may not be the best choice if you have active acne, very dark skin, deep wrinkles, excessive skin or sagging skin.

People with darker skin tones have a greater risk of healing with darker pigmentation, or hyperpigmentation. This may be minimized by use of a bleaching agent.

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Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Consultation

Laser skin resurfacing model

During your consultation for laser skin resurfacing, be prepared to discuss:

  • Your goals.
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments.
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
  • Previous cosmetic treatments.

Your laser provider will also:

  • Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
  • Discuss your skin rejuvenation options.
  • Examine and measure your face.
  • Take photographs.
  • Discuss the likely outcomes of skin rejuvenation and any risks or potential complications.

Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your laser skin resurfacing procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether pre-treatment stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Risks and Safety Information

Complications of laser skin resurfacing can include:

  • Acne flares: Your provider will recommend a treatment regimen.
  • Bacterial infection: Your provider may recommend taking an antibiotic prior to the surgery and afterward.
  • Cold sore reactivation: May occur if you have laser resurfacing around the mouth.
  • Hyperpigmentation: The treated area can become darker in tone. A bleaching solution may be recommended. More rarely, you may have hypopigmentation, a lightening of the skin.
  • Milia: These small white bumps may appear during healing. They can be removed by gentle cleansing with a washcloth.
  • Prolonged redness: The redness takes longer to disappear for some people.
  • Scarring: Rare but possible.
  • Swelling: If you are having laser resurfacing around your eyes, an oral steroid may be prescribed to manage swelling.

Laser skin resurfacing's targeted approach means there are fewer problems with hypopigmentation, a lightening of the skin, for procedures such as laser acne scar removal.

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure

Laser skin resurfacing model

For best results, you may begin with a series of skin treatments to prepare your skin. These treatments often begin 6 weeks or more prior to your procedure. They are customized for your individual skin type to minimize complications and obtain the best result.

Laser skin resurfacing is usually performed on an outpatient basis at our Birmingham-Hoover, Aabama laser spa and typically takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

In preparation, your face will be thoroughly cleaned and you may be given eye protection.

Two types of lasers are commonly used in laser resurfacing — carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Both work to vaporize superficial, damaged skin cells. Laser skin resurfacing with the CO2 laser precisely removes thin layers of skin with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. The erbium laser is typically used to remove superficial and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face, but can also be used on the neck, chest or hands.

Managing Your Discomfort

Laser skin resurfacing can be painful. Your skin may be numbed with local anesthesia. You may also receive a sedative to help you relax. General anesthesia may be used if you opt for extensive resurfacing or are having other cosmetic procedures at the same time. Afterward, you will be provided with painkillers to keep you comfortable.

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Recovery

After your laser skin resurfacing procedure, a specialized dressing will be applied to protect the treated tissues. Further dressing changes or specialized topical treatments may be needed to enhance healing. Your skin will usually become dry and peel after about 5 days to a week.

You will be instructed on how to care for the treated skin. You will also be reminded about the expected duration of your results, specific concerns to look for and when to follow-up with your provider.

Skin that is treated with laser resurfacing may react in different ways, but most of the time it feels like a mild sunburn. You will have some redness and swelling. You may also experience itching or stinging for a few days after the procedure.

Depending on the treatment, some people may have what looks like a severe sunburn. The skin will be raw, oozing and may even blister. A yellow liquid may ooze from treated areas to form a crust. Do not scratch or pick at crusts because this can cause scarring.

To achieve an optimum look, follow these steps for an easier recovery:

  • Clean the treated areas two to five times a day with saline or a diluted vinegar solution as directed.
  • Apply protective skin care treatments recommended to help your skin heal.
  • If directed, use a liberal amount of moisturizer on your new skin each day.
  • Elevate your head with an extra pillow at night.
  • Use an ice pack during the first day or two to ease swelling and discomfort.

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Results

Laser skin resurfacing models

After the treated area peels, your new, rejuvenated skin may stay red or pink for up to several months, but will gradually lighten. It may take up to a year for the pinkness to go away. It is very important to protect your skin during this time of healing. Redness tends to last longer in blondes and redheads.

You may resume application of Retin-A and/or glycolic acid products about 6 weeks after laser skin resurfacing or as directed.

Once your treated areas have healed, makeup may be used to tone down the color. Try a green-based, oil-free makeup to neutralize the red color.

A series of treatments is often required to achieve improvement in skin texture and clarity. Repeat treatments are essential to maintaining your results.

Following laser skin resurfacing, your skin will continue to age naturally. You may develop similar conditions to those that have been treated or other skin conditions.

Sun Exposure

Daily sun protection is essential for the first year after laser skin resurfacing to prevent irregular pigmentation. The skin care professionals at Hedden Plastic Surgery & Spa Greystone can help you select a sunscreen formulated for the sensitive, rejuvenated skin on your face to best protect the treated areas. Diligent sun protection for life will help to maintain your new, younger, smoother skin.

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Skin Rejuvenation Words to Know

  • Ablative: Resurfacing treatments that remove the uppermost layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis) to varying degrees.
  • Dynamic wrinkles: Expression lines that may appear as folds when the skin is not moving and deepen with facial movements or expressions.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection to help you relax.
  • Laser and energy therapies: Ranging from ablative to non-ablative, these treatments use laser energy, light energy, radio waves, ultrasonic energy or plasma energy to treat the skin.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision to relieve pain during an operation.
  • Loss of skin tone: Weakening of the supportive skin structure that results in a loss of skin firmness or the development of cellulite.
  • Nasolabial fold: Deep creases between the nose and mouth.
  • Non-ablative therapy: Treatments that do not remove any skin but penetrate the skin or treat the skin superficially (only on the surface).
  • Pigmentation: Freckles, sun spots, melasma or other darkened patches of skin resulting mainly from sun exposure.
  • Scars: As the result of acne or injury to the skin, scars may be rolling (a wavy appearance to the skin), pitted, discolored or have raised borders.
  • Static wrinkles: Wrinkles that are visible at all times.
  • Tear trough: Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
  • Vascular conditions: Blood vessels visible on the surface of the skin, vascular lesions that appear as tiny blood filled blisters or even a constant flush of facial redness.

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Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Please contact our Birmingham, Alabama Laser Center today to find out more about rejuvenating your skin with Laser Skin Resurfacing.