For over fifteen years laser resurfacing has been the gold standard for major, powerful skin rejuvenation. For those with essentially fair skin who have developed severe sun- and age-related damage, there is no better way to produce rapid and profound changes to the skin.
However, full laser resurfacing is no easy “lunchtime” treatment! You can expect to spend a week fully indoors after having this done, and thereafter your skin will still be quite pink for another couple of weeks or so as healing continues. Still, if you want big changes to your skin, you have to expect some big downtime.
The immediate effect of the laser is to remove skin cells in their entirety. Unlike the IPL that targets primarily pigmented cells and blood vessels, the Erbium laser heats all cells regardless of their colour. It does this very quickly, very neatly, but very powerfully.
The therapeutic strategy, then, is to use this laser to remove the entire epidermis, and along with it practically all the unwanted pigment and much of the apparent sun-damage.
The epidermis then recovers by way of migration of new epidermal cells from pores and sweat glands.
To do all this, the face has to be anaesthetised. For comfort, we would generally offer some light sedation.
Once the treatment has been completed the face looks quite raw. Dressings or ointment is applied (depending on your doctor’s preference).
We would want to see you the next day, then say three days later, and then a week later. You would have to stay home for around a week, for during the first week the raw skin has to be kept moist.
After one week, the skin has recovered to the point where it can remain dry, but it is quite pink. It can at this point be covered with makeup and you can venture out again.
Over several weeks the pinkness fades; and the freshness and smoothness of your new skin becomes apparent.