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Erbium laser skin resurfacing precisely removes the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) so that a new, fresh layer of skin can take its place. The procedure also tightens skin by activating collagen production.
Laser skin resurfacing treatment, often referred to as a laser peel, is performed as an outpatient procedure with the use of a local anesthetic and possibly a mild sedative. You’ll be awake, but will feel drowsy and your skin will be numb so there is no pain during the procedure.
"Wow, the results exceeded my expectations. I was aging early, brown spots, fine & deep lines, etc…Overall all procedures left me feeling great and natural looking." Marilyn Colby
Erbium laser skin resurfacing is the preferred procedures for those who would like to achieve dramatic improvement in skin appearance. This procedure successfully removes superficial lines to moderately deep wrinkles with less pain, fewer side-effects, and a more rapid recovery than other treatments.
Erbium lasers are a milder and less invasive treatment option than a similarly ablative carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. How are the two different? The CO2 laser is able to remove deeper layers of damaged skin than the erbium laser – yet the recovery is far more intense and post surgical care is extensive. Erbium laser treatment provides those whose skin damage is not as severe — or who would simply prefer a more rapid laser skin resurfacing recovery — with an excellent alternative.
This laser can be precisely controlled so that only specific areas such as the mouth or eye area, are easily targeted. Often, the procedure is done in conjunction with another cosmetic operation, such as a facelift or eyelid surgery. A laser resurfacing can provide the “finishing touch” to surgical lifting procedures and take care of fine lines, pigmentation and rough skin.
Lasers work by emitting a specialized light that passes through the skin and is preferentially absorbed by water in the collagen of your skin. The resulting heat generation evaporates very fine layers of skin, diminishing the look of wrinkles and other unwanted textures. Older skin is transformed into newer skin. As new cells form in the healing process, the skin becomes smoother, more evenly colored and softer. Several lasers and light sources are available today for skin resurfacing. Alternatives to full laser resurfacing include fractional C02. In our office Dr. Sikorski offers the nonsurgical MiXto fractional laser for less downtime and lesser degrees of resurfacing needs.
After anesthesia is administered, your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses.
The laser beam will be delivered through a computer-controlled device that automatically scans the area of your skin being treated.
You may hear a snapping or popping noise as the laser gently removes the outer skin cells.
Your procedure may take a few minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated and the depth of your peel.
For superficial or medium resurfacing, the laser can be limited to the epidermis and papillary dermis. For deeper resurfacing, the upper levels of the reticular dermis can also be removed. Varied penetration allows treatment of specific spots, wrinkles or scars. Laser resurfacing offers a number of advantages over other resurfacing methods: precision, little (if any) bleeding and less post-operative discomfort. Deeper peels are about the only procedure that has profound effect on upper lip wrinkles and lines around the mouth.
Laser resurfacing can be done at any age but the procedure isn’t for everyone. In some cases, an alternative skin resurfacing treatment, such as Photo Dynamic Therapy or TCA chemical peel, may still be a better choice.
Patients with olive skin, brown skin or black skin may be at increased risk of pigmentation changes no matter what type of resurfacing method is recommended. Dr. Sikorski will evaluate your skin characteristics and make recommendations accordingly.
Individuals who have taken Accutane in the past 12-18 months or are prone to abnormal (keloid-like) scarring or those with active skin infections on the treatment area may not be appropriate candidates for this procedure.
It is important to follow instructions. Dr. Sikorski will thoroughly explain what you will need to do following your procedure. You will be given some skin care products and instructions on how to use them. This will minimize your risk for infection and ensure the shortest healing time. The top layer of your skin will re-grow and can be covered with make-up in about one week.
Your new skin will be very sensitive to ultra-violet light and you must avoid sun exposure until fully healed. You need to cover your skin, wear a hat and use a good sun screen if your have to go outdoors.
Your healing time will depend upon your actual treatment depth, and you may experience erythema (redness) which may last several weeks. Healing time does vary among individuals. Dr. Sikorski will answer any questions about temporary changes to your skin appearance and how it may be camouflaged.
It will take a few days for your body to regenerate a new surface layer of your skin. Redness is common and swelling may be present in the areas treated, however, this should subside in a few hours. Dr. Sikorski will instruct you how best to care for your healing skin. Your skin will have a residual pink or red color that will dissolve over time.
You will likely experience some mild swelling and discomfort after laser resurfacing. However, this can be controlled with ice packs (frozen peas) and medications prescribed by Dr. Sikorski.
Dr. Sikorski will also provide instructions on how to gently wash and care for your healing skin.
During the healing process, it is very important that you not pick the crusts off the treated area or scarring may result.
Most patients are free of crusts by about 10 days post-operatively. Redness may persist for several weeks.
Your new skin will usually remain bright pink to red in the weeks following the procedure. Dr. Sikorski may prescribe medications to make this color subside more rapidly. After about two weeks or so, most patients can safely apply makeup to conceal this temporary color change. However, some pinkness may remain for up to six months.
It is rare, but some patients may find that their healing skin is unusually sensitive to the makeup that was used prior to treatment. In such instances, makeup should be avoided until a substitute can be found or until the healing progresses to a point at which the makeup no longer causes a reaction.
Above all, in the months following treatment, it’s imperative to protect the treated area from the sun until all the color has returned to normal.
Using sun protection regularly will help maintain your results and reduce the chance of any new sun damage to your skin.
If you must be in the sun, apply a strong sun block with an SPF of 50 or higher and shade your face with a large brimmed hat or visor. If resurfacing was performed around your eyes, it’s best to also wear good quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB 100 percent filters.
The amount of discomfort varies from patient to patient. Dr. Sikorski will discuss your anesthesia options to properly manage any discomfort from the treatment.
Following the correct aftercare procedures prescribed will reduce the risk of infection. You will return the office for follow-up visits to ensure excellent healing.
You will be given either a topical or local anesthetic during the procedure for lesser depths. Sedation can also be provided and is offered to all patients if they desire. Most patients describe the post-procedure feeling as a bad sunburn; this feeling will subside in a few days. Cold compresses will also help subdue the discomfort.
Recovery time is usually 1-2 weeks. Because your skin will heal over a period of several weeks, you may not see the final results until then. As your skin heals, and as new collagen regenerates and fills in the lines and wrinkles, your results will continue to improve. Results will continue to improve for months.
By two weeks most patients feel great about their new look. It takes however, two to three months to see the optimal result because of some residual swelling, and the underlying healing process. For patients who have special important events such as weddings, re-unions, in the near future, we recommend you have your resurfacing procedure done six to eight weeks prior to ensure complete healing and an optimal new look.
The final result from laser resurfacing may take several months to fully appear. However, once the pinkness fades, patients usually notice a significant improvement in the quality of their skin and a fresher, smoother appearance.
It’s important to understand that your results will be long-lasting, but not permanent. Remember, your new skin is not immune to the effects of aging. In the months and years following your laser treatment, your natural facial movements will eventually cause any “expression” lines to recur.
As with other methods of skin rejuvenation, laser treatments can usually be repeated. However, by protecting yourself from the sun and following a skin-care regimen recommended by Dr. Sikorski, you can help maintain your rejuvenated look.
Not sure where to start? Give us a call and chat with our patient coordinator Michelle. Call the office at (949) 448-0487 or Request a callback through this online form.