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Laser Resurfacing

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What to Expect continued...

You may feel itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel. 

Once the skin heals, you can wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness, which usually fades in two to three months.

You will probably notice that your skin is lighter for a while after surgery. It is particularly important that you use a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen, which screens ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays, to protect your skin during that time. When selecting a sunscreen, look for one specially formulated for use on the face. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Also limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can help protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. 

It is also important to keep your new skin well moisturized. If you use Retin A or glycolic acid products, you should be able to start using them again about six weeks after the procedure or when the doctor says you can.

Once the treated areas have healed, you can wear makeup to hide the pink to red color that is typically seen after laser skin resurfacing. Green-based make-ups are particularly suitable for this camouflage since they neutralize the red color. Oil-free make-ups are recommended after laser resurfacing. The redness in the laser treated sites generally fades in two to three months. But it may take as long as six months for the redness to completely disappear. Redness generally lasts longer in people with fair skin.

People with darker skin tones are more likely to get darker pigmentation. Using  a bleaching agent before and after laser skin resurfacing may minimize that - as well as strict sun avoidance with use of a daily broad spectrum sunscreen.

Complications of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Although skin resurfacing cannot produce perfect skin, it can improve the appearance of your skin. Potential risks of the procedure include:

  • Burns or other injuries from the laser's heat
  • Scarring
  • Changes in the skin's pigmentation, including areas of darker or lighter skin
  • Reactivating herpes cold sores
  • Bacterial infection

Milia, which are small white bumps, may appear in the laser-treated areas during healing. Your doctor can treat those.

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