Laser resurfacing (also called a laser peel, laser vaporization, and lasabrasion) is a cosmetic procedure used to provide a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance to the skin. The procedure removes superficial skin layers, stimulating the formation of new collagen fibers that lead to healthier, firmer, and tighter skin.
Most people report recovering within 5 days to 3 weeks after laser skin resurfacing treatment. How long it takes to recover after laser resurfacing varies depending on factors such as:
- Area treated
- Depth of the treatment
- Type of laser used
- Post-procedure care or routine
Within 5-7 days, the skin may become dry and start to peel. New skin will start to appear as the old skin peels off and may initially appear pink and delicate. The new skin will start to match the rest of your complexion within 2-3 months, although it may take a year for skin tone to return to normal. Skin redness tends to last longer in redheads and blondes.
How does the skin react to laser resurfacing?
Each person’s skin will react differently to laser resurfacing, and symptom severity may range from mild to severe. For a few days after the treatment, you may experience:
- Redness and swelling similar to a sunburn
- Mild burning or itching
- Sun sensitivity
- Stinging sensation
Severe symptoms may include:
Resist the temptation to pick, rub, or scratch at crusty areas. Doing so may cause even more problems, such as infection and scarring.
Skin care after laser resurfacing is critical in order to get the best results. You will likely be given instructions on how to care for your skin following the procedure, such as cleansing the skin regularly and wearing sunscreen. Follow these instructions carefully, and discuss any skin concerns with your doctor.
What skin issues are treated with laser resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing may help treat the following skin issues:
- Uneven skin tone
- Fine lines or wrinkles
- Acne scars
- Sun damage
- Age spots
- Liver spots
- Dull, yellowish, or grayish skin tone
- Birthmarks or moles
- Enlarged oil (sebaceous) glands
- Sagging skin
Most people notice firmer skin right after the procedure, and skin tone may continue to improve over a year. However, results are not permanent, and as you age and your skin continues to change, you may need a repeat procedure.
Can I use makeup after laser resurfacing?
Applying makeup on raw and unhealed skin may cause more skin damage and should be avoided. You should only start wearing makeup again once the skin has healed and your doctor has given you the OK to start using cosmetic products again.
Once your skin has healed, use gentle and oil-free makeup products to avoid further irritating your skin.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Laser Skin Resurfacing: Top 8 Things You Need to Know. https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/skin-resurfacing/the-top-8-things-you-need-to-know-about-laser-skin-resurfacing/
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What should I expect during my laser skin resurfacing recovery? https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/recovery
Top Recovery Time From Laser Skin Resurfacing Related Articles
Slideshow: The Truth About Beauty Product DangersLearn the truth about beauty product dangers. Hair straighteners, dyes, shampoos, creams, and cosmetics are bad for your health. Learn the options for those who want fewer and gentler chemicals in their beauty products.
Brow Lift Cosmetic SurgeryA brow lift or forehead lift tightens the sagging skin in the forehead region. There are two methods of lifts: the classic lift and the endoscopic lift. Recovery from the brow lift procedure depends upon the method performed.
Can Scars Be Removed by Laser?You cannot get rid of a scar with laser treatment. However, laser treatment can make a scar less noticeable. Laser treatment for a scar can be considered as an approach to replace one scar with a less visible scar. The treatment involves using a focused light (laser) to either remove the outer layer of skin or stimulate the production of new skin cells to cover the scarred or damaged skin cells.
Chemical PeelChemical peels are performed to reduce fine lines, treat wrinkles, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat some types of acne, and reduce age spots. During the treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. The skin blisters and eventually peels off.
Cosmetics SlidshowTake this quiz and test your skin savvy on makeup, mascara, and other cosmetic skincare beauty products.
What Is the Difference Between Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery?The terms plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are often used interchangeably. Although both disciplines of medical science aim at improving a person’s body, they are different from each other in many aspects.
How Much Does It Cost for Laser Skin Resurfacing?Laser resurfacing is a procedure that removes layers of the skin and improves its appearance or treats minor facial flaws such as blemishes or acne scars by using lasers.
Is Laser Resurfacing Permanent?Laser resurfacing does not have permanent results. Many people notice immediate results on their skin. This may continue to get better for up to a year. With changes to the skin because of aging, new wrinkles and expression lines appear. Thus, as per your need, you may need a laser resurfacing again.
Neck Lift SurgeryNeck lift surgery reduces visible signs of aging in the neck and jawline by tightening sagging skin. Learn about how a neck lift is performed and what to expect during the recovery process as well as potential complications. Check out the center below for more medical references on cosmetic surgery, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
propolisPropolis is a natural adhesive and resin-like substance produced and used by bees that is commercially available in the form of capsules, mouthwash solutions, throat lozenges, powder and topical formulations such as ointments, creams, and lotions. Propolis has many uses, which include common cold and respiratory infections, inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such as colitis and diverticulitis, cancer, herpes simplex infections, improvement of insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, reducing alcohol-induced liver injury, treatment of wounds, burns, acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis; and others.
Skin RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
silver nitrateSilver nitrate solution is used topically as an anti-infective agent to cauterize infected wound tissue, and remove warts and excess granulation tissue. Common side effects of silver nitrate include discoloration of skin, local irritation and burning on the application site, and methemoglobinemia. There are no well-controlled studies on silver nitrate use in pregnant women. Use if potential benefits to the mother outweigh possible risks to the fetus. There are no studies on use of silver nitrate in nursing mothers; avoid use.
Tattoo with Laser Treatment PictureLasers remove tattoos by breaking up the pigment colors with a high-intensity light beam. Black tattoo pigment absorbs all laser wavelengths, making it the easiest color to treat. What type of laser is chosen to remove other colors is based upon the pigment color. Tattoos can never be fully removed and usually leave scarring.
vitamin E topicalVitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and is used as a topical emollient to moisturize and soothe skin that is irritated or chafed from diaper use or other minor skin irritations. Vitamin E uses include healing of scar and surgical-wound tissue, moisturization and healing of skin, prevention of premature aging of the skin, and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Common side effects of vitamin E topical include redness (erythema), irritation, stinging, and burning. Consult with your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Does a Dermatologist Do?A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the hair, nails, and skin. They can diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases of the skin, hair, and nails, as well as cosmetic concerns.
What Is CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a procedure involving the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a skin surface-removing laser (ablative laser) to remove scars, warts and deep wrinkles. CO2 skin laser resurfacing can also be used to treat age spots, sun-damaged skin and superficial to deep hyperpigmentation.