Laser skin resurfacing is a skin care treatment performed by dermatologists with help of lasers to enhance skin texture and appearance. Based on individual requirements, dermatologists may suggest either ablative or non-ablative lasers. Where ablative lasers include carbon dioxide or Erbium. Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing procedures are used to eliminate scars, warts, and deep wrinkles. Erbium is used for fading finer lines and wrinkles and superficial skin issues. Both these types of lasers help to remove outside layers of the skin.
Laser Resurfacing

Non-ablative lasers don’t remove skin layers, and these comprise pulsed light, pulsed-dye lasers, and fractional lasers. This type is beneficial for treating skin conditions like rosacea, spider veins, and acne breakouts.

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Read this article to know more about this skin treatment, ways to do and its side effects.

Who Should Get This Procedure?

You may go for this procedure if you have sun damage, acne, and age-related skin care issues that are not treatable with OTC products.

A laser skin resurfacing procedure may be used to treat one or more of the following skin problems:

  • Age spots
  • Scars
  • Acne scars
  • Fine Lines and wrinkles
  • Crow’s feet
  • Sagging skin
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Enlarged oil glands
  • Warts

The skin tone of a person can also determine if this type of cosmetic procedure works or not. Generally, individuals with lighter skin tones are good candidates as they are less prone to hyperpigmentation. However, this treatment may not be suitable for people with active acne breakouts or sagging skin.

What To Expect

This skincare procedure targets the outer layer of your skin while concurrently heating the lower layers in the dermis and this will improve collagen production. Well, new collagen fibers will support create new skin cells that are suppler in texture and firmer to be touched. Laser resurfacing involves the following steps:

Before the procedure, the skin needs to be prepared. This comprises a set of treatments done several weeks prior to the procedure. The idea is to increase the skin’s tolerance to professional treatments, and it can also lessen the risk of side effects.

On the day of the procedure, the dermatologist will apply topical anaesthesia to the region being treated. This helps to ease pain and make the patient more comfortable during the treatment. However, if a large region of skin is being treated then the doctor may recommend a sedative or painkillers.

Then, the skin is cleansed well to get rid of any excess oil, impurities, and bacteria.

Now the doctor uses a selected laser, which is moved slowly around the selected region of the skin.

Finally, the doctor will dress the treatment region in wraps to help shield the skin from any damage.

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Possible Side Effects And Risks

Laser skin resurfacing like other cosmetic procedures may pose the risk of certain side effects, which include:

  • Burning
  • Bumps
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scars
  • Redness

It is important to follow your doctor’s pre-care and post-care instructions to lessen your risk of complications. Furthermore, the doctor may also prescribe certain precautionary antibiotic or antiviral medications based on the patient's medical history. Also, you should inform your dermatologist about any past medical conditions you have, as well as all medications you take including OTC medicines to mitigate risk. Moreover, doctors recommend that patient should quit smoking for at least two weeks before the procedure. As smoking after laser resurfacing can also increase your risk of side effects.

Aftercare And Recovery

You can go home immediately after completing laser resurfacing procedure. However, downtime and recovery are needed to ensure the skin heals well, as this lessens your risk for side effects and helps one attain the desired outcomes.

Recovery Process

Usually, healing takes between 3 to 10 days, the deeper the laser, the longer the recovery time. Also, recovery from ablative laser treatment may take up to three weeks.

During the recovery time, the skin may look red and scab over. Slight peeling will also develop. You can use ice packs to help lower any swelling.

You don’t have to stay at home during the recovery process, but you must avoid places of germs like a gym that can increase your risk of infection.


Your regular skin care regimen also needs to be adjusted. You will be required to clean the treated region two or three times per day. Instead of regular cleanser, choose saline or vinegar-based solutions suggested by the doctor.You will have to change the dressing every day to assure your skin stays clean.


Your skin may be sun sensitivity for up to one year following each laser skin resurfacing treatment. Applying sunscreen with SPF of 30 can lessen risk for sunburn and sun damage.

You should use sunscreen every morning to shield the skin (even on a cloudy day). Ensure to reapply as needed through the day.

Outcome Of The Procedure

With non-ablative laser treatments, there is no risk of any side effects, but one may need several sessions to attain desired results. Whereas ablative lasers may correct the problems in one session.

Further, the results may vary from person to person and based on skin issues being treated. The results aren’t permanent, and you may need to repeat the procedure after few years.