Laser Skin Resurfacing
Unlike other methods of facial rejuvenation, laser skin resurfacing (LSR) utilizes an Erbium laser or a computerized carbon dioxide (CO2) laser to gently expose the underlying, youthful skin. Now, several years after its introduction, the popularity of LSR continues to grow in the world.
The laser light is absorbed by water in human skin cells. During the treatment, as the laser light passes over human skin, a mere 30 millionth of an inch of tissue is removed at the time.
This incredible control allows the physician to treat only as deeply as needed, from removing winkles to merely refreshing overall skin appearance. After the damaged skin is removed, new skin quickly grows in its place.
Cosmetics are commonly used to conceal wrinkles; unfortunately, they have a limited effect in covering wrinkles and truly restoring one's youthful appearance. Some topical creams provide a temporary benefit by hydrating the dry, external skin.
Most home remedies and secret "European beauty formulas" fall into the hydration group. More recently, topical treatments such as Retin-A and Alpha Hydroxy Acids have become quite popular. But like other topical treatments, they provide only a temporary, less dramatic beneficial.
Why do patients prefer this procedure? Dr. Koh of Dream Laser Center in Korea said, "The new skin feels softer and more youthful after treatment. Since the laser tightens the tissue underneath the skin, LSR can be used to treat lunes in the lower eyelids, forehead, and cheeks. LSR is especially effective in reducing the fine, vertical lines around the lip area that cause lipstick to "bleed". The cheeks may also be treated to smooth long-standing acne scars and pockmarks. In short, LSR can be performed on the entire face, or just in specific regions, depending upon your needs".
Unlike other procedures, using a laser to resurface the skin means the surgeon has precise control of energy and depth, eliminating much of the uncertainty associated with chemical feels and dermabrasion. Procedures like collagen or fat injections are also somewhat beneficial, but require repeated treatments to maintain the effect. Other traditional resurfacing procedures range from acid peels of various strengths to mechanical abrasion. These procedure provide acceptable results when performed by a skilled physician, but the surgery and the recovery period may be time consuming and painful.
The Erbium laser has been designed to remove or noticeably decrease wrinkles and to improve the overall color and skin texture of the face, neck and hands. Although treatment results will vary depending on various considerations, with few exceptions, patients can expect an improvement in the texture and quality of their skin.
Although the Erbium laser has substantially reduced many risks associated with laser procedures, infection, temporary or permanent pigmentation changes, even scarring or other unsatisfactory results may occur.
The level of discomfort is different for every person and also varies by the location and surface area to be treated. Many patients do not request any pain medication during treatment and describe the discomfort as comparable to a sunburn. Laser resurfacing may cause the skin to become raw, red or pink with mild to moderated discomfort for several days following the procedure.
In the first few days after LSR, the skin begins the process of rebuilding itself from the bottom up. During this time, it may appear very moist as new collagen is formed beneath the surface. Minimal to moderate swelling is normal as the skin heals; and dressing materials and ointments are applied to the treated areas to help speed the healing process. During healing, the fresh new skin will appear pink. This hue is easily concealed with makeup that can usually be applied in 6 to 10 days, depending upon each person's response to treatment. Skin complexion should gradually return to its normal tone within a few months.
Noticeable results are typically seen in one or two weeks, with complete healing in only a few weeks.