What To Know About Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser Skin Resurfacing is a term used to denote lasers that resurface a portion of the skin to improve the texture, tone, wrinkles, and overall appearance. It is used on the face most commonly, but can also be done on the neck, chest, hands, and less commonly the arms. Laser skin resurfacing is a hugely popular way to address a variety of skin problems without surgery, but figuring out which treatment, brand, device, and provider is right for you can be a daunting task considering the number of treatments on the market.
As board-certified physicians, Drs. Timothy and Jennifer Janiga are here to make it easy for you to love your skin with the best laser treatments for your unique skincare needs. Here’s what you should know before researching the many cosmetic lasers available.
Start With Your Skin in Mind
It is common when looking for laser treatments to start with a specific brand in mind instead of starting with your skin in mind. Maybe you’ve heard your friends talk about their laser treatment or seen an ad for a new device that piqued your interest, but that doesn’t mean that specific laser is right for you.
Instead, start by identifying the top skin issues you’d like to correct. With this in mind, you can come to a consultation with your doctor to have an informed discussion of your options for laser skin treatment. If you and your doctor feel that laser resurfacing is the best option to treat your skin concerns you will still have some decisions to make regarding that resurfacing.
Options for Laser Skin Resurfacing
Resurfacing can be done “light,” “medium,” or “heavy.” At JanigaMDs we have the years of experience with lasers required to help guide you in a very specific treatment program. The lighter resurfacing has less downtime and may require more treatments to get the same results as one heavy treatment, but it is appropriate for many people based on work and social obligations. Some others prefer to do the “heavy” treatment as they prefer to get it all done at once. The healing time can vary from 2-8 days depending on the level you and your doctor have chosen.
Erbium vs CO2 Gas
All resurfacing lasers use a gas to target water in the skin to deliver energy and heat to repair damage. The two gases are erbium and CO2. JanigaMDs utilizes both types and after your consultation we will decide with you which one is better for your skin.
In general, the erbium gas lasers may give more tightening while the CO2 usually helps more with superficial etched wrinkles, while both do a great job at stimulating collagen. Some patients that need both tightening and superficial improvements may seek a combination approach.
Ablative vs Non-ablative
Laser Resurfacing can be non-ablative or ablative; at JanigaMDs, we work with both options. Non-ablative means that it shoots through the surface of the skin (causing very little damage at the top layers) to affect the deep layers of collagen. This allows for a quicker recovery as the surface is not affected very much. Most of the light resurfacing with 2-3 days of recovery are this type.
Ablative resurfacing means that it “ablates” or removes some of the top layers of the skin. These commonly are the medium and heavy resurfacing and recovery tends to be longer as the surface must heal also. Ablative and non-ablative can also be combined to give you both deep and surface improvements.
Full vs. Fractionated Resurfacing
Resurfacing lasers can be full resurfacing or fractionated. Full resurfacing removes the full top layers of the skin and was the only type available for decades. The recovery was 2-3 weeks and very intense.
Nowadays, fractionated is the most common type as it is a quicker recovery, less risk of infections and side effects, and can be done in the office. Fractionating can be done with both erbium and CO2 lasers and is a technique where small areas are treated within a grid and leaves some areas of normal skin as islands in between treated skin for quicker healing. Think of it like pixels where some of the pixels are treated areas and some are left alone. We are still able to fully resurface for severely wrinkled areas like the upper lip or around the eyes and this is most commonly done in small areas of the face now to give the best improvements and balancing the more intense recovery in those areas.
Schedule Your Laser Skincare Treatment Today
Although not the same as a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Jennifer Janiga, this quick overview will hopefully help clarify what may be the right treatment for you and give you a path forward on the questions you want to ask at your consultation.
Laser resurfacing can be more complex and more tailored than asking for one specific brand. We at JanigaMDs have more than 30 years of combined laser experience, and pride ourselves on helping you choose the best laser resurfacing option for your skin, your desired recovery time, and your best results. Contact our team of skincare professionals to find out which treatment will work best for your skin type and desired results.