• 2016-4-960

    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    Part of a progressive medical subspecialty, ASDS member dermatologists perform medically necessary and cosmetic procedures to improve the health, function and beauty of skin through every stage of life.

  • 2016-3-960

    From forehead furrows to frown lines…

    Performing more than 5 million cosmetic procedures each year, ASDS member dermatologists offer many treatments that are less intense, safer and have quicker recovery times than ever before.

  • 2016-2-960

    3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year

    Any suspicious new growths or changes should be examined by a dermatologist immediately. ASDS member dermatologists are trained to select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient.

  • 2016-1-960

    From excess fat to wrinkles…

    Offering a range of office-based cosmetic procedures, ASDS member dermatologists can select the appropriate treatment choice to meet your individual goals.

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In This Section

Laser Resurfacing


Uses for Laser Resurfacing


Learn more about specific conditions where laser resurfacing can be used


What is laser resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing is a procedure that uses a laser to improve the appearance of skin or treat minor facial flaws by removing layers of skin. The two most common types of resurfacing lasers are:

Carbon dioxide (CO2): This type of laser is used to treat wrinkles, scars, warts and other conditions.Erbium: This type of laser is used to remove superficial and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck and chest. It causes fewer side effects than CO2 lasers. 

Stefani Kappel, MD, talks about the benefits of laser resurfacing.


What should first be done before considering laser resurfacing?

An ASDS member dermatologist will review your medical history, conduct a physical exam and discuss your expectations. Patients who have a history of herpes infections will be prescribed an antiviral medication before and after treatment to prevent viral infection. An oral antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent bacterial infection. Patients may be asked to apply a topical retinoid on their skin for about four weeks before the procedure. Excessive sun exposure should be avoided.


When is laser resurfacing appropriate?

John Q. Binhlam, MD, discusses laser skin resurfacing.


Laser resurfacing can be used to treat:
Acne scars Age spots Crow's feet Droopy eyelids Sagging skin Scars Sun-damaged skin Wrinkles  

Who is not a candidate for laser resurfacing?

Patients who have active acne or very dark skin usually are not good candidates for laser resurfacing.

M Lupo MD, patient SCD - after IPL_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) fractionated ablative CO2 resurfacing - wrinkles - photoaging 
Photo courtesy of D. Wu 
S. Fabi patient before and after Intense Pulsed LIght to chest 
 Before (left) and after (right) fractionated ablative CO2 resurfacing - wrinkles - photoaging
Photo courtesy of D. Wu

Is laser resurfacing painful?

Medication is often given to help the patient relax during the procedure and to reduce pain. Topical anesthetics are used to numb small treatment areas. For larger treatments, a nerve block or conscious sedation may be utilized.

What are the potential complications of laser resurfacing?

  • Swelling
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching
  • Scarring
  • Pigmentation issues
  • Infection
  • Bumps due to obstruction of sweat glands


What can I expect after having had laser resurfacing?

Treated areas usually are dressed for healing after the procedure. Patients will be required to soak, apply ointment and re-dress the treatment area daily. Healing takes three to 10 days, depending on the depth of the resurfacing and type of laser used.

For more information and referrals

M Lupo MD, patient SCD - after IPL_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) fractionated CO2 ablative laser resurfacing
Photo courtesy of J. Waibel  
S. Fabi patient before and after Intense Pulsed LIght to chest 
 Before (left) and after (right) -  fractionated ablative CO2 laser 

Photo courtesy of J. Waibel  

For more information on skin conditions and treatments, along with a list of ASDS members in your state, please visit the find a dermatologic surgeon section of our website.

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