Laser Skin Resurfacing

Written by Serena Berger
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Laser skin resurfacing is considered a relatively safe and effective alternative to a chemical peel. It is still, however, considered a cosmetic surgical procedure, and as such, it is not one to be undertaken capriciously. Laser resurfacing can give you smoother, brighter, or more evenly toned skin. It can even reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But there are several different types of laser procedures, and any of them may or may not be right for you.

Two Types of Laser Treatments

If you are resurfacing with a laser, it is called an ablative laser. To ablate means to remove, and when an ablative laser is used, you may be cutting or slicing something with it. Removing a scar, for example, would be done with an ablative laser. There will be recovery time after this procedure, as you will briefly have no outer layers of skin until new skin forms.

A non-ablative laser is one which does not do any literal resurfacing. It uses a form of heat (technically a thermescent fibroblast stimulator--you're not going to be tested on that, though) to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Collagen is the substance in the middle layer of skin which keeps it thick and plump enough that the outer layer does not sink into wrinkles. Consequently, non-ablative laser treatment results in very little down time. There's just some swelling or mild redness.

If you are going to get any kind of laser skin resurfacing done, choose your surgeon very carefully. Do not go to a surgeon who wants to save time and money by doing one or two very deep passes. A greater number of shallower passes over your skin with the laser will be much safer and yield a much better result.

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