Laser skin resurfacing technologies are an excellent option for treating a range of common skin conditions and concerns, including signs of aging like wrinkles or age spots. These treatments can effectively rejuvenate the skin with little to no downtime required. Patients in Oregon and Washington can choose Silver Falls Dermatology through our many convenient locations for laser skin resurfacing treatments including IPL and Palomar Icon 1540 laser.
What is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure which uses a laser or light technology to remove damaged or dead cells from the surface of the skin to treat common issues such as skin laxity, wrinkles and fine lines or hyperpigmentation. There are two basic types of laser skin resurfacing: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative treatments completely remove the epidermis, which is the thin outermost layer of skin cells. Non-ablative treatments are less aggressive while still working to stimulate collagen production.
IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, is a rejuvenating treatment which can be used for a range of issues including hyperpigmentation, scarring, skin laxity or lines and wrinkles. IPL is not technically a laser treatment, as it utilizes many different wavelengths in rapid flashes of light, similar to a photo flash. During the treatment, IPL penetrates to the dermis layer of the skin without causing any harm or damage to the epidermis. This means that the treatment can effectively generate new collagen and target hyperpigmentation while reducing overall downtime or side effects.
Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing can have several benefits. The treatments can be used to treat a range of issues with the skin’s tone or texture, especially common signs of aging or sun damage. Some common conditions or concerns that patients may treat using laser skin resurfacing include:
- Acne scars or other scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven, rough or crepey texture
- Sun spots or age spots
- Redness or hyperpigmentation
- Sagging and skin laxity
- Stretch marks
- Enlarged pores
Candidates for Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing treatments typically work by targeted pigmented skin cells, which are damaged by the laser or light. This triggers the natural healing process which causes the rejuvenating effects of the treatment. However, this also means that most laser skin resurfacing options are not suitable for those with tan or dark skin tones, as the treatment would cause scarring or irregular pigmentation. During a consultation, your provider will evaluate your skin tone and skin type to determine whether you are a suitable candidate. Your provider may also recommend another treatment option if you have taken isotretinoin within the past year, have a history of keloid scarring, are prone to cold sores or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure
Prior to your laser skin resurfacing treatment, a topical numbing solution will be applied to keep you comfortable. You will also wear protective eyewear throughout the treatment. As the laser or light is directed to your skin, you will notice a warming sensation. Treatments may take 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the size of the treatment area.
After Laser Skin Resurfacing
After your laser skin resurfacing treatment, side effects including swelling, redness and some irritation can be expected. Your provider may instruct you to use ice or a cold compress to help reduce discomfort and swelling. Downtime after non-ablative treatments is brief, with most patients resuming their normal activities within a few hours of the treatment. Most patients will require multiple treatment sessions from non-ablative lasers to achieve their goal results. An average of about three total treatments is typical. During a consultation, your provider can explain a tailored treatment plan that will address your concerns.