While most commonly used to treat fine lines or wrinkles, laser resurfacing can also treat many more skin issues. These include:
- Enlarged pores
- Scars, especially shallow ones caused by acne
- Sun damage
Depending on the type of laser treatment you choose, you can even erase deeper lines. However, laser resurfacing treatment of any kind is not recommended for use on stretch marks. And although it can treat acne scars, if you are currently suffering from acne, you may not be eligible to receive this treatment.
In addition, those with darker skin often are dissuaded from laser treatments. This is because skin pigment absorbs the laser’s light and heat. The extra energy is diffused, but if you have darker skin, there is more pigment present, meaning there is a greater risk that your skin will absorb the extra energy, causing burns, blistering, or discoloration.
However, if you want your skin to look healthier and younger, talk to your doctor about laser resurfacing. If he or she approves you as a candidate, it’s time to start making decisions.
What Type of Laser Should You Use?
There are two types of lasers that are generally used in resurfacing treatments. Each one has its pros and cons.
Erbium lasers can be used to treat wrinkles just about anywhere on your upper body—and it even will get rid of some deeper lines, too. It also works better for those with darker skin, which is sometimes a problem when using other lasers. If you chose to use erbium laser resurfacing, your recovery time will be really fast. Because it actually burns the tissue less, there are fewer side effects and recovery can be as quick as a week.
The more-common laser treatment, CO2 lasers are older in the skin treatment business. However, it is continuously being improved and upgraded. These lasers send pulsed light energy into the skin almost constantly. This vaporizes the old skin with very little heat damage. Recovery does take a little longer than with erbium lasers, however. You might be down for about two weeks.
What If I’m Not Approved?
If, for whatever reason, your doctor decides you are not a good candidate for laser resurfacing, no fear! All is not lost. You have many options, such as peels, masks, and injections that might be a better and healthier way to touch up your face.