Laser resurfacing treats a number of different conditions including wrinkles, lines, scars (acne and other types as well), facial discoloration, and severe sun damage. Technically, laser resurfacing works by using light energy to produce a controlled burn of the skin. The energy effectively strips away, layer by layer, the surface of the skin. As the skin heals, the previous photoaged cells are replaced with younger, healthier ones. Depending on the condition and severity of your needs, different lasers might be chosen. During your laser resurfacing consultation at our Baltimore, Maryland area cosmetic surgery practice, Dr. Ronald Schuster can determine the best treatment option for you. The two main lasers used today are the CO2 and Erbium lasers. There is also a laser which combines the use of both types. There is simply no better treatment to achieve the smooth, clear appearance of the skin that lasers can provide.* Call (410) 902-9800 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schuster and learn more!
Laser Resurfacing Recovery Information
While laser resurfacing works exceptionally well, there is a significant recovery period ranging from 5-10 days, again depending on the severity of the problem and the type of laser used. One of the biggest issues with laser resurfacing has to do with the potential lightening of the treated skin such that without make-up, one can see the difference between the treated and non-treated skin. In most cases this “trade-off” is well worth it. Laser resurfacing should only be performed by a Board Certified and properly trained physician, as there are significant risks if it is not performed properly. Laser resurfacing candidates also undergo an extensive pre-operative consultation to determine if this treatment is appropriate for them.
Laser Resurfacing Alternatives
In addition to laser resurfacing, there are other non-laser treatments which achieve some similar results. This includes Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) treatments, or Photofacial therapy. This involves receiving a series of less intense light treatments which have a significantly reduced down time. These treatments are very successful at removing the signs of sun damage such as visible blood vessels and discoloration. It also is reported to stimulate collagen formation within the skin, thus making your skin feel and look healthier. However, IPL™ does not work well for wrinkles or scars.
Patients interested in facial rejuvenation options like IPL™ and laser resurfacing can visit our Baltimore, Maryland area center to discuss their concerns and determine which options are appropriate for them. Other alternatives may include BOTOX® Cosmetic, Restylane®, chemical peels, face lift, eyelid surgery, necklift, brow lift, and more.
Laser Resurfacing Tools and Techniques:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser
- To treat surface wrinkles – laugh lines, crows feet, lip lines
- To tighten skin a bit but not like a facelift – laser resurfacing treatment “tightens the bed sheets but doesn’t change the mattress”
- Excellent for sun damaged or weathered skin. Architecture is actually improved, more orderly and rejuvenated
- Can compliment other facial procedures to achieve optimal results
- Very good for scars from acne, chicken pox and injuries
- Moderate pain – limited to one to two days
- Skin heals in about 10 days. After healing is complete, the skin is a deep red color for two to three weeks and then turns a pink color for two to three months. Makeup can typically be used 7-10 days after laser resurfacing treatment with the CO2 laser
- Recommend 7-10 days off from school/work
- Back to full activity in two weeks
- Effects continue to improve for three months
Erbium: YAG Laser
- Treats fine lines and wrinkles
- Often for use on younger patients
- Not as much “tightening” effect as CO2 laser resurfacing
- Overall recuperation slightly faster than CO2 laser in all phases of healing/redness
- Skin heals in about seven days, redness is more mild than Carbon Dioxide laser resurfacing treatment and gradually fades over four to six weeks (make-up can be used to cover pink color)
- Recommend three to seven days off from school/work, depending on type of employment
- Back to full activity in two weeks
Learn more about Laser care including laser hair removal.
Common Questions About Laser Resurfacing
How long does laser resurfacing last for?
Patients report seeing softer and smoother skin within just a few months of their laser resurfacing procedure. Results can last for several years afterward. Laser resurfacing is safe to repeat in the future if results begin to fade.
How painful is laser resurfacing?
Like other popular cosmetic treatments, you may experience mild discomfort during your laser resurfacing procedure. It is often performed with local anesthesia, in which the area being treated is numbed to minimize any pain. Some patients describe laser resurfacing as a pinching or stinging sensation. Following the treatment, you might experience some swelling or irritation. Dr. Schuster will review the best steps to take after your appointment to minimize the discomfort.
Is laser resurfacing better than microneedling?
Both laser resurfacing and microneedling are effective treatments for achieving smoother, more youthful-looking skin. However, the procedures work in very different ways, and choosing the best option for you depends largely on your desired outcomes. Laser resurfacing can target fine lines, wrinkles, or scars and can even tighten skin, depending on the type of laser being used. The effects are vivid and long-lasting; however, laser skin treatment is typically more expensive and involves a longer recovery time than microneedling. Laser resurfacing is much more aggressive, can treat more severe issues and give much more dramatic results than microneedling.
Microneedling targets depressions in the skin to improve skin texture and appearance. it can also help with mild complexion discoloration. It helps to stimulate collagen. It helps to improve and maintain the health of the skin. It is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time. It cannot treat deeper wrinkles nor skin laxity. The best option for a patient will depend on their specific skin concerns, skin type, and the results they are seeking to achieve. During your consultation, Dr. Schuster can discuss both options based on your unique goals.
Are you awake during laser resurfacing?
It depends on the areas being treated. Small areas such as lower eyelids or around the mouth can easily be treated with just local anesthetic (injection of numbimg medicine. Lareger area and full face treatment are best done with either IV sedation or a light general anesthetic. Depending on the length of your treatment and target area, Dr. Schuster can provide recommendations based on your personal needs and comfort level.
Is laser skin resurfacing better than Botox?
They are completely different. Botox weakens the muscles that are creating the wrinkles. Botox does not do anything to the surface texture or discoloration. Botox results are temporary and need to be repeated every 3-4 months on average. Laser resurfacing treats the wrinkles themselves, tightening and smoothing the skin. Laser resurfacing is much more aggressive and lasts many years.
Schedule a Laser Skin Resurfacing Consult with Dr. Schuster!
Contact plastic surgeon Ronald Schuster, MD, by calling 410-902-9800 to schedule a laser resurfacing consultation at our Baltimore, Maryland area center. You can also fill out the form in our contact page, and our talented team will help you arrange your meeting!
*Individual results may vary