LASER SKIN RESURFACING FOR SCARS AND WRINKLES
What is Laser Skin Re-Surfacing?
- Using a special scanner attached to a carbon dioxide laser, your dermatologists can delicately exfoliate your skin accurately layer by layer.
- The superficial layer of skin is removed and the deeper layer of skin is exposed. Here collagen is stimulated and a new layer of skin is formed over a period of time.
- With this precise control over the interaction between the laser energy and the skin, bleeding is eliminated and scarring, generally associated with other wrinkle treatments, is significantly reduced.
What are the indications for Laser Skin Re-Surfacing?
- Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth,
- Deep laugh and frown creases,
- Acne, Traumatic, Chicken-Pox and Surgical Scars,
- Photo damaged skin,
- Miscellaneous lesions and conditions
Is laser Skin Re-Surfacing suitable for me?
- Your dermatologists will take your medical history, age, skin type (including pigmentation) and desired results into consideration to determine whether you are a suitable patient for Laser Skin Re-Surfacing.
- Be sure to mention any past or present viral infection, sun sensitivity, drug (e.g. roaccutane) used within past year, problem with wound healing or prior chemical peels or dermabrasion to your dermatologists.
Treatment of Laser Skin Re-Surfacing
How many times must I come for Skin Re-Surfacing procedure?
- This depends on the type and depth of the wrinkle or scar you have. One or more treatment sessions may be required.
When can I do my Laser Skin Re-Surfacing?
- Your dermatologists will usually schedule a test patch (about 3 cm in diameter) for you before conducting the full laser skin re-surfacing.
- The reason why a test patch is done is to ascertain the risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring you may have.
When can I do my full Laser Re-Surfacing?
- If all goes well with the test patch (allowing 6-8 weeks postoperatively to look for adverse effects), and you remain committed to have the laser treatment, your dermatologists will schedule you for full laser re-surfacing.
- The whole procedure usually takes less than 1 hour.
- You can expect to go home immediately after treatment.
How long does it take for the laser wound to heal?
- Following the laser re-surfacing procedure you may expect slight swelling and redness on the treated sites.
- The initial redness fades in a few weeks to light pink, which can be easily camouflaged with cosmetics. The redness usually disappears completely in one to three months for most patients.
- Generally patients enjoy a short recovery time after laser skin re-surfacing.
When can I return to work?
- You can return to work as soon as you feel comfortable.
- Most patients prefer to wait until their laser treated areas can be covered with cosmetics (usually by day 7) before returning to work.
Are there special precautions to follow after the Laser Re-Surfacing treatment?
- It's important to avoid direct sun exposure for several months following the laser treatment.
- Some patients may experience transient hyperpigmentation (increased pigmentation) or hypopigmentation (decreased pigmentation) on the laser resolve in several months.
what type of anaesthesia do I need?
Usually you will need local anesthesia for laser skin re-surfacing treatment.
Some patients will need topical anesthesia only.
Topical anesthesia cream applied under occlusion 1-2 hours prior to the laser resurfacing treatment may provide pain relief during the treatment(no injection is needed)
Instructions for skin care after Laser Skin Re-surfacing
- You have been treated with carbon dioxide laser skin re-surfacing. The treated skin is very delicate and should be treated with care.
Care of the Treated Skin
- Keep the dressing on the treated skin dry for 24 hours following the laser skin re-surfacing treatment.
- Remove the dressing 24 hours later:
- For test patch only: You can do your own cleansing and change the dressing at home.
- You may be asked to come back to the clinic the next day to change your wound dressing.
- If the wound dressing is stuck to the wound, soak the dressing in saline solution to loosen it.DO NOT forcibly tear away the dressing.
- Clean the wound with cotton balls soaked with the prescribed cleansing solution. Apply gentle pressure and clean the laser wound and the edges of the laser wound thoroughly.
- Remove all crusts and scabs by soaking them with the cleaning solution.
- After cleansing the laser wound, dry the wound with sterile gauze.
- Apply the antibiotic ointment prescribed to you with cotton applicators.
- Cover the wound with non-adherent dressing provided. Secure the dressing with tape.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the treated area 1 or 2 more times (as instructed by your dermatologists) daily for 7 days or until the skin surface is completely healed.
- For pain relief, adults may take two of paracetamol 500 mg tablets every six hours. (Make sure that you are not allergic to it, and do not exceed 8 such tablets with 24 hours).
- If swelling occurs on the treated skin apply an ice pack wrapped in a soft cloth over the wound dressing.
Precautions to take following your Laser Skin Re-surfacing treatment
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
- DO NOT rub, scratch or pick at the treated skin.
- Avoid swimming and contact sport before the laser wound heals.
- If the laser treated skin shows sign of infection (e.g. Presence of pain, redness, swelling or pus) notify your dermatologist or the nurse-in-charge of the Operating theatre at the National Skin Centre immediately.
What to expect after Laser Skin Re-Surfacing treatment of my "wrinkles"?
- Wrinkles are removed by destroying and removing the top layer of skin.
- When the skin laser wound heals, it becomes tightened and the wrinkle lines disappear or become less prominent.
What are the side effects and possible complications of Laser Skin Re-Surfacing treatment?
You may feel mild pain during the laser skin re-surfacing procedure.
Laser Wounding Healing
- Laser treatment causes a superficial burn on the surface of the skin which takes several days to heal.
- This is associated with some skin swelling, oozing and crusting on the treated skin.
- It usually takes 4-10 days for the skin to heal.
- Redness is usual & should not be regarded as a complication of laser treatment.
- It typically lasts 2-3 months & can be camouflaged with cosmetics.
- Hyperpigmentation following laser treatment is most often seen in patients with dark skin color tones but it can occur in patients with light color skin tone.
- Pigmentation may be minimized by applying a bleaching cream prescribed by your dermatologists.
- Milia & acne may occur, especially if occlusive ointments are used after laser treatment.
Herpes simplex infection
- Herpes simplex infections can occur in patients who had a past history of cold stores.You should report any sign of herpes simplex infections(presenting as blisters & erosions to your dermatologists immediately)
- The risk of scarring may be increased in patients who have recently been treated with oral retincids (e.g.roaccutane).It may occur in those who develop secondary bacterial infection after laser treatment.
- Secondary bacterial infection may occur if the laser wound is not properly cleansed & dressed.