In 2012, Jennifer Aniston admitted to Conan O’Brien that her flawless skin is the result of laser resurfacing. While she says she looked like a “battered burn victim for a week,” the end result does turn heads. She’s considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. When she first started seeking laser treatments, her goal was to remove sunspots. It’s also useful for removing scars from acne and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Two Laser Resurfacing Techniques
Erbium lasers use bursts of energy to remove outer layers of skin. This technique is more precise than other methods of skin resurfacing and leads to less bleeding during the procedure. As the laser passes over the skin, the water within the skin evaporates. Collagen shrinks so the skin starts increasing production to help the skin heal. Laser resurfacing done with the Erbium laser provides very long-lasting results but with recovery times that are about half that of resurfacing with CO2 lasers. .
Fractionated CO2 lasers are similar. The fractionated CO2 lasers pass over the skin, targeting fractions of the skin in a checker-board pattern. While this causes what feels and looks like a sunburn, by leaving fractions of the skin untouched recovery and healing times are shorter. The fractionated CO2 laser causes skin cells to grow and replace the older cells. As the new cells grow, collagen forms too.
Depending on the severity of your acne scars, sun spots, or wrinkles, more than one treatment may be needed. Your doctor will explain how many treatments you’ll need to have flawless skin.
Recovery Following Laser Resurfacing
After a laser resurfacing treatment, you may experience some swelling and your skin may look red for up to four weeks. You will need to wash your face regularly and apply any ointments your doctor recommends to prevent scabbing. After laser resurfacing, you may need one or two weeks before you can return to work, and you must avoid sunlight for a number of weeks. You’ll see results in two or three months.
The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing is by talking with a qualified facial plastic surgeon. Call Dr. Kulak’s office at (703) 481-0002 to schedule a consultation. You can also complete the online contact form.