Laser Skin Resurfacing

Fractional resurfacing – Lasabrasion – Laser peel – Laser resurfacing – Laser vaporization – Skin resurfacing

If you are looking for a way to turn back the hands of time to recapture the look you had before fine lines, wrinkles, scars, uneven tone, and age spots set in, laser skin resurfacing may be a solution for you.

As the laser penetrates layers of skin, your natural collagen is stimulated to create a new, unblemished layer of skin.

The depth of the laser and the degree of improvement varies by the type of laser used. Advances in laser technology have made the procedure and recovery easier, but this treatment is not a casual procedure. In the realm of lasers, light treatments heal faster and produce less dramatic results while deeper laser treatments take longer to heal but produce the maximum degree of improvement. Full coverage laser treatment removes the entire surface of the damaged skin while fractional laser treatment removes about 80% of the skin surface and leaves the remainder untreated. Some spas, salons, or offices offer extremely light laser with very rapid healing. These types of treatments do not produce the dramatic results of deeper lasers. The length of laser recovery is usually tied to the anticipated final result. Light, fast healing lasers may require multiple treatments and don’t produce the results comparable with the deeper longer healing laser treatments.

Who Is a Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing?

  • A person who is in good health who desires facial skin rejuvenation.
  • A person who has lines, wrinkles, scars, or uneven pigmentation on the face.
  • A person who wishes to improve the quality, texture, and color of the skin.

Who Is Not a Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing?

  • People with active acne
  • People who have olive, tanned, or very dark skin tones, due to the length of time it takes to regain normal pigmentation
  • People who have a medical condition or are taking medication that may impact scarring or the body’s ability to recover
  • A person who cannot tolerate having their face red and unpresentable for several weeks or in some cases, several months. Most of this pinkness can be hidden with makeup after 7-10 days.

Intended Results of Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Reduction of the appearance of scars, age spots, crow’s feet, droopy eyelids, sagging skin, scars, sun damaged skin, and wrinkles
  • Achieving a new, refreshed appearance to the skin, with less discoloration and blemishes

Procedure Description for Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Usual laser medications include antibiotics, antiviral and discomfort prescriptions. Anti-swelling steroids may also be used.
  • Light laser treatment may be performed with topical or local anesthesia
  • With deeper laser treatment the patient will be given anesthesia to ensure they are relaxed and numb.
  • The patient’s vital signs will be monitored during the procedure.
  • The cosmetic surgeon will use a laser to precisely treat the skin which stimulates the growth of new skin cells below the surface.
  • The procedure may take between 30 to 60 minutes
  • After the procedure, the skin will be dressed, and recovery instructions will be given, which include washing the face each day and reapplying the doctor’s dressing of choice.

Healing and Recovery for Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Laser skin resurfacing can have extremely dramatic improvement in wrinkles and brown spots but can be a demanding recovery. Although the lighter lasers may heal in several days, deeper treatments will confine the patient to home for up to 2 weeks. Laser recoveries vary dramatically and any patient undergoing laser treatment should discuss recovery specifics with the doctor and staff.
  • As the skin heals, it will appear red and swollen. Depending on which type of laser was used, this may last from a few days to two weeks.
  • Your cosmetic surgeon will advise you of how to manage pain and maintain topical treatments and or dressings as you heal.
  • Once the skin has healed, it may appear red or pink for a few months, but the appearance will immediately appear rejuvenated.


The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.

Are you considering a Laser Skin Resurfacing? Visit our Find a Surgeon Directory to find a highly-qualified cosmetic surgeon near you.

Reviewed by Joe Niamtu, III, DMD, a cosmetic facial surgeon in Richmond, Virginia.