Learn more about treatment options for aging skin.
Ablative laser resurfacing is a procedure that uses a
wand-like laser instrument to remove the upper layers of skin. It is sometimes
referred to as “laser peeling” since it removes old skin cells in order to
reveal newer, more youthful cells. Since the technique uses a laser, an ASDS
doctor has precise control over the depth of treatment, lessening complications
to surrounding tissue. An antibiotic or antiviral medication is sometimes
prescribed prior to the procedure.
Why choose laser resurfacing for aging skin
Ablative laser resurfacing works primarily by removing the
top layer of skin. It also heats the layers underneath to promote collagen
production, which stimulates skin in the treatment area to heal in a smoother,
more even appearance. Laser resurfacing can be used to lessen the appearance
- Irregular pigment
As with any treatment, there are risks associated it, though
they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS doctor. These include:
The average cost for laser resurfacing is between $1,750 and
$2,300. Since laser resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, treatment
usually isn’t covered by most medical insurance companies. There are certain
situations where insurance covers the procedure, such as removal of
precancerous growths and scar modification. Other factors affecting cost
include size and location of the procedure.
How to prepare for the procedure
Before the procedure, an ASDS doctor will usually review the
patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the
doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the
procedure. Patients also should:
- Discuss any susceptibility to cold sores or fever blisters
around the mouth since the procedure can trigger breakouts in at-risk
- Avoid medications or supplements that can affect blood
clotting – such as aspirin, ibuprofen or vitamin E – for 10 days before surgery.
- Avoid smoking for two weeks before and after the procedure.
What to expect after the procedure
Following treatment, your ASDS doctor may bandage the
treatment area. Patients will be required to:
- Clean the treatment area after the first 24 hours, and then
four to five times a day thereafter.
- Apply an ointment, such as petroleum jelly, after cleanings
to prevent scabs from forming.
Laser resurfacing patients also can expect the treated area
- Be swollen for 24 to 48 hours after treatment.
- Itch or sting for 12 to 72 hours after treatment.
- Slough and peel off old skin five to seven days after
Healing typically takes 10 to 21 days, depending on the size
and location of the procedure. After the treatment area is fully healed,
- Use only oil-free makeup for at least two to three months.
- Avoid sun exposure and apply an appropriate sunscreen to the
area, which will have a lighter appearance following resurfacing.
- Keep new skin well-moisturized.
Find a doctor for your aging skin treatment
Visit “Find a dermatologic surgeon” and choose “Laser
Resurfacing” from the dropdown menu. In 2011, ASDS doctors performed nearly 1.6
million laser/light therapy procedures. Because ASDS doctors are trained in a
variety of the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to
evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient’s