Lasers use various crystals or pigments to amplify light to clear the surface of your skin by heating the outer layers. The wavelength of the light and the energy level can be adjusted to suit your skin type, the degree of sun damage, or the depth of the lines. After using the laser, the outer layers of your skin will peel off, and new collagen formation will be stimulated, revealing a smoother, healthier layer of skin.
Laser peels can be more powerful than chemical peels, and more finely controlled than dermabrasion. This may be useful for treating finely wrinkled lower eyelids skin during an eyelift, treating the forehead, nose and areas around the mouth during a facelift, or as a full face treatment without any surgery.
Types of procedures
- Erbium microlaser peels: This type of peel refreshes facial skin with topical anesthesia in the treatment room.
- Erbium facial resurfacing: This option provides a deeper, more thorough skin rejuvenation under IV sedation in the operating room.
- Pretreatment with antiviral and/or antibiotic medication may be required depending on the depth of the peel and your medical history
- Topical anesthesia, local anesthetic injections, or IV sedation are used depending on the depth of the peel and the extent of the areas to be treated
- The laser is activated to the intended treatment areas with eye goggle protection
- Moisturizer is applied to the skin both after the treatment and at home for several days
- Micro laser peels offer a rapid recovery in 2-3 days
- Deep resurfacing requires more aftercare with a week for the skin to recover
Risks & Benefits
While microlaser peels have limited discomfort after treatment, deep resurfacing may be more uncomfortable for a few days. If you have a history of cold sores, there is a risk of an outbreak, which can be prevented by using antiviral medication ahead of time. Topical care can be done at home with soap and water and moisturizer without nursing assistance. Rarely, a laser can produce a burn or scar that takes more time to heal. Temporary pigmentation can be treated with topical steroids and sunblock.
Lasers have revolutionized the ability to reduce deep lines and wrinkles, clear advanced sun or smoke damage, and restore youthful appearance to the skin. While surgery may tighten or reposition excess or loose skin, the laser’s role is to treat skin texture and color in a way that surgery cannot.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell whether to use a laser or a chemical peel to remove my dark sunspots and sun damage?
Your plastic surgeon can evaluate your skin type and degree of skin damage to recommend the best method of treatment. In some patients, either technique can be useful, and the decision may depend on cost and how much recovery time you have.
Why is the laser more expensive than chemical peels?
Lasers are highly sophisticated instruments that can be tuned for many depths of peel and for many skin types. This allows your plastic surgeon to safely dial-in a wide range of correction in a way that chemical peels or dermabrasion cannot offer.