Skin Resurfacing (Laser Resurfacing, Chemical Peel)

Purpose: To improve wrinkles, scarring, age spots, dull weathered skin.

Incision: None.

Anesthesia: Depending on the depth and area of the face. Either local anesthesia only or sedation plus local anesthesia.

Recovery: Depends on depth.

Cost: depends on extent.

Overview: Skin resurfacing is a procedure used to improve the appearance of the skin. There are many different ways to resurface skin and each way has varying degrees to which it can be done. The healing time and results are directly related. There aren’t really any shortcuts; the more result you want, the longer the healing. The gold standard of resurfacing is the deep peel. Methods include dermabrasion, chemical peel, or laser peel. Similar results can be achieved by all 3 if done to a similar level. Understand that just about any skin care provider you visit will offer some sort of peel, but only specially trained surgeons and dermatologists perform this “gold standard” type of peel. I prefer to use the Sciton dual mode Erbium laser because of consistency and low complications. The full depth peel over the full face requires IV sedation along with numbing of the skin using local anesthetic. Treating a smaller area, such as the lips, can be done with only local anesthesia. The local anesthetic lasts 8 hours so after you wake up, your skin is still numb for about 6 hours. For the first 5 days after the procedure ointment and a dressing are worn on the skin. The next 5 days include only ointment. At this point makeup can be worn. The skin will be pink and this usually takes 3 months to resolve. Makeup typically will fully cover the pink by 2 weeks. The laser removes the top layer of skin (epidermis) and puts a controlled burn into the deeper layer (dermis). The epidermis removal takes away most of the age spots and other surface issues. The new epidermis that grows in will be brighter and will not only look healthier, it will be healthier.. The dermal injury stimulates collagen growth which is how the wrinkles are improved. Within 10 days, the epidermis has grown back which is why makeup can be worn. Elastin is only minimally improved which means it won’t give your skin the elastic spring of youth, but it will significantly improve the etched in wrinkles. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done for elastin regeneration. The procedure at this deep level will also remove pre-cancerous lesions and is known to reduce your risk of future skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It will not help with melanoma. Recovery from this procedure is messy and annoying at first because of the ointment, but pain really isn’t an issue. Risks include but are not limited to infection, scarring, pigmentation (color) changes to the skin.