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Laser Skin Resurfacing



Overview

Laser skin resurfacing uses a CO2 laser to selectively destroy the epidermis and the superficial part of the dermis that makes up skin. This forces the dermis to make new collagen. The new collagen that is formed is thicker, better vascularized, and is more like collagen of youthful skin. It also dramatically tightened the collagen which subsequently dramatically helps improve wrinkles. This effectively rejuvenates the skin.

Because the dermis within the skin is better vascularized, thicker, and has been tightened the skin has more of a youthful glow. Wrinkles and skin discolorations are dramatically improved and sometimes removed altogether. Age spots can be eliminated or markedly improved.

Facial aging involves all the layers of the face. Laser skin resurfacing does a remarkable job of rejuvenating the top layer otherwise known as the skin. It is able to dramatically improve the fine wrinkles and excess skin around the eyes. It does not do as well with the deeper wrinkles but it will improve them. It does very little to improve jowling or sagging of the face. This requires a face lift.

There are several lasers available and each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. We will limit this discussion to the CO2 laser which is the laser most widely used for skin rejuvenation. Other lasers, while they have their merit with skin rejuvenation, are more widely used in other areas such as tattoo removal.


Benefits

The CO2 laser when used correctly has the ability to address many of the aging problems seen in the skin. Most dramatically, compared to any other procedure, the laser has the ability to tighten skin in addition to its other qualities. Here is a list of some of its benefits.

  • Has the ability to contract skin resulting in tightening.
  • Effectively treats fine wrinkles.
  • Can help with treating deeper wrinkles.
  • Improves dermis blood supply resulting in a healthy glow appearance.
  • Increases thickness of dermis which has thinned out due to aging.
  • Removes skin discoloration and age spots.
  • Creates a rejuvenated, youthful look.

Are you a good candidate?

The best indication for using a CO2 laser is to help remove the fine wrinkles around the eyes and face. It also does a good job in decreasing the dark circles underneath the eyes. Other indications for having laser skin resurfacing include


  • Fine wrinkles around the eyes and face.
  • Dark pigmentation underneath the eyes.
  • Stretched, lax skin.
  • Skin discoloration and age spots.

People who are not good candidates are people with people with very dark skin. These people have a higher risk of skin discoloration and hyper pigmentation from laser skin resurfacing. These people may be better served with chemical peeling which has less risk of causing this problem. Other people who are not good candidates are those who expect laser skin resurfacing to do things that it is not capable of doing. For example, the laser will not address the deeper tissues of the face that result in facial sagging. Nor does it help much with deep wrinkles although it does improve them. To decide what is best for you a consultation with a plastic surgeon is necessary.

People who have been on the drug Accutane within the last two years should not have laser skin resurfacing as it adversely affects skin healing and may result in scarring.

Possible complications

Possible complications include lightening of skin, hyper- or hypo pigmentation, scarring, prolonged redness, reactivation of herpes if you have had it in the past, and infection or wound healing problems.

Do's and Dont's prior to surgery

    Medications. Certain medications thin your blood and should not be taken within three weeks of surgery.