Laser skin resurfacing is a treatment that removes the top layers of your skin to improve skin texture and tone. Laser resurfacing can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and it is also a good for treating pigmentation disorders, such as sun damage and age spots.  View some of our laser resurfacing photos.

During the laser resurfacing procedure, an intense beam of light energy (laser) is directed at the treatment area which destroys the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and at the same time heats the underlying skin (dermis) to stimulate the growth of new collagen fibres. As the wound heals, new skin forms that is smoother and tighter.

Laser skin resurfacing allows the doctor to treat delicate facial areas (such as those around your eyes and lips) very precisely as the laser gives them more control over the penetration of the skin than some other resurfacing treatments, such as chemical peels and dermabrasion.

Laser resurfacing is normally safe when performed by a qualified, experienced physician. Ensure that you follow all the advice that your laser resurfacing surgeon gives you, to minimize the possibility of experiencing some of the more serious risks and complications. As with any medical procedure, patients undergoing laser skin treatment may experience certain side effects and complications. Most of these are temporary, though some may turn out to be permanent. Common laser skin resurfacing side effects include:
  • Redness and irritation
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Itching
  • Lightness
  • Burning sensation
  • Easy flushing

Though the majority of laser resurfacing surgeries are successful, laser skin resurfacing risks and complications may include:

  • Pigmentary changes, such as hyper pigmentation or skin lightening
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Excessively deep penetration causing an injury that the skin cannot repair
  • Skin burns
  • Textural changes
  • Skin surface irregularities

To reduce the risks involved in this procedure, carefully follow all of your laser skin resurfacing surgeon’s instructions, both before and after the laser facial procedure.

A laser skin resurfacing procedure takes from just a few minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the area being treated and the severity of the skin condition. Laser resurfacing procedures may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgical facility, or surgeon’s office.

Extensive laser resurfacing, or resurfacing performed in conjunction with another surgery (i.e. a face-lift), is generally performed in an outpatient surgical facility or hospital. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after the laser resurfacing procedure, and stay with you for a day or two to help you out if needed. Laser resurfacing is usually performed under local anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative; so that you will be awake but very drowsy and relaxed during the procedure. For complete laser facial resurfacing, or if other procedures such as a face-lift are being carried out at the same time, doctors commonly use intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, so you will be asleep for the entire procedure(s).

Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed to remove facial oils. Antibiotic is then applied to kill bacteria. Your laser skin resurfacing doctor will then numb the skin with the local anesthesia. A beam of light from a microphone-shaped instrument (the laser) is then passed over the skin to vaporize the outer layers (epidermis) of damaged skin. Brief, high intensity emissions of light from the laser remove layers of damaged or wrinkled skin at precisely controlled levels of penetration. The laser skin treatment doctor may penetrate more deeply in some areas, in order to remove deeper scars, stubborn spots, and wrinkles. As the laser skin treatment works, you may hear it zapping, and smell burning. Finally, your facial resurfacing doctor may apply a protective ointment, bandage or special moisture-retaining tape to the treated area.

After the procedure, your skin will be red or pink, and swollen, but this swelling will subside in time. The new, smoother skin starts to appear over the course of a few months.