Don’t be surprised if researching laser skin treatments leaves you a bit confused. There is an ever-changing range of technologies and procedures grouped under the umbrella terms laser skin rejuvenation or laser skin resurfacing. At our Guelph dermatology practice, we are dedicated to the research and science behind laser and energy treatments, and to educating our patients about their options.
With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most common questions we hear about laser skin resurfacing—procedures designed primarily to minimize wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and other blemishes, as well as tighten skin and improve its overall texture.
What Is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Versatile and effective, laser skin resurfacing uses precision laser beams to remove the skin’s outer layer and simultaneously heat the underlying layer. Creating controlled injuries to the skin stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. The healing process produces new skin that is smoother and firmer.
What Is Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing?
At deRMA Skin Institute, fractional CO2 laser treatments are the mainstay of our approach to nonsurgical skin rejuvenation. Traditional CO2 laser treatments removed all of the skin’s outer layer in the treatment area, making them rather painful and requiring lengthy downtime. Fractional laser treatments deliver thousands of tiny beams that penetrate only a fraction of the skin in the treatment area, significantly reducing the discomfort and downtime for patients. Patients who get fractional laser skin resurfacing usually need a series of treatments to get the desired results.
What’s the Difference Between Lasers?
As you probably know, not all lasers are the same. By having an array of laser technologies at our practice, we can recommend a treatment—or combination of treatments—that’s best for you. The types of lasers we offer include:
ClearLift™: This is sometimes called a “lunchtime” or starter laser treatment because it’s gentle and doesn’t require downtime. It’s a non-ablative laser, which means it penetrates the skin’s surface without damaging the skin.
Fractional lasers: This includes the CO2 laser mentioned earlier. Fractional lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative and are considered the gold standard for minimizing wrinkles and scarring, along with improving the skin’s tone and texture.
Erbium: This is another fractional laser that stimulates the body’s natural healing response and is ideal for treating fine lines, brown spots, acne scars, and sun damage.
Intense pulsed light (IPL): Even though often called laser treatments, IPL procedures involve delivering pulses of light energy rather than laser beams. IPL is often considered a go-to treatment for red spots, veins, brown spots, and skin texture changes.
Can I Get Laser Skin Resurfacing if I Have Dark Skin?
Some patients with darker skin believe laser resurfacing is only safe for lighter skin. Although certain lasers do pose risks of discoloration for darker skin, there are laser technologies that can be used safely and effectively on darker skin. Erbium laser treatments, for example, are an option for patients with darker skin. Radiofrequency treatments or microneedling are better for people with dark brown or black skin.
How Should I Prepare for Laser Skin Treatments?
Avoiding direct sun exposure as much as possible in the weeks before your treatment will increase its effectiveness. It’s also important to stop smoking at least 2 weeks before the procedure (and for 2 weeks after the treatment, as well). Certain laser and energy treatments may require some skin preparation prior to treatment, but your provider will provide clear instructions in such cases. Finally, let your provider know what medications you take because some, such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, may need to be temporarily paused.
No matter which laser skin resurfacing treatment you opt for, the most important choice is your choice of provider. A board-certified dermatologist such as Dr. Dusan Sajic has the experience and training to recommend the ideal treatment for you and produce excellent results. Contact us to request a cosmetic consultation using the online form or call us at 1-888-803-3762 to schedule an appointment.