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How to Care for Your Skin after Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure that can help reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and other skin irregularities. The procedure works by directing short concentrated beams of light to the affect areas, removing irregular skin, layer by layer, until reaching the desired result. This treatment procedure may also be referred to as lasabrasion, laser peel, or laser vaporization. 

Laser resurfacing is an effective way to improve the appearance of your skin. However, removing the superficial layers of the skin carries the risk of complication and infection if not properly taken care. Laser resurfacing essentially removes your face’s defensive barrier against the elements until it returns during the healing process. 

Initially after Laser Resurfacing Treatment

Your skin will appear red and feel sensitive or irritated, similar to being sunburned. Your doctor will bandage the treated areas following the procedure to help protect the exposed skin. Once home, it is now your responsibility to inspect and clean the treated skin, bringing any concerns to the attention to your doctor as soon as they occur. 

After the first 24 hours, you will need to remove the bandages to cleanse the treated areas as instructed by your doctor. This may need to be done up to four to five times a day using saline or vinegar-based solution (outlined below). After a thorough cleaning, ointment such as petroleum jelly (or any occlusive moisturizer) should be applied to prevent the formation of any scabs. You may be prescribed antibacterial ointment to apply instead.

If blistering, crusting, or scabs develop, do not attempt to remove them as they may lead to infection or scarring. Instead, contact your doctor to have them inspected. 

Mild swelling of the face is normal after receiving laser resurfacing treatment for which you may be prescribed steroids medication to help manage. It is also advised to elevate your head at bedtime by sleeping on an extra pillow for the first four days to help minimize potential swelling. Ice packs may also be used on the treated areas as needed.  

Once New Skin Beings to Appear

After about five to seven days, your skin will become dry and being to peel as new skin begins to form underneath. Your new skin will appear pink at first but gradually return to its natural tone in about one to two weeks. Once your skin has healed, you can wear oil-free makeup to conceal any lingering redness until it completely resolves. 

Keeping your skin well moisturized is very important after the healing process. If you use products containing Retin A or glycolic acid, it is acceptable to start using them again about six weeks after your procedure or when your doctor advises. 

New skin is highly susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun, potentially reversing your results. It is very important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays and has an SPF of 30 or higher. It is also beneficial to limit your time in direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.  

If sunlight can’t be avoided, wearing a broad-brimmed hat or a scarf can help protect your skin from direct sunlight. It is recommended to avoid unprotected sun exposure for one year after laser resurfacing to prevent irregular pigmentation. 

Vinegar-based Solution instructions

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon of white vinegar in 2 cups of water
  2. Soak gauze in the solution and gently apply to the treated areas. Allow the gauze to remain in place for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Lastly, wipe the treated area with the gauze using gentle pressure. Avoid aggressive rubbing. 

Making the Right Choice

Several follow-up visits are required by your treating doctor to ensure the healing process is proceeding correctly and to mitigate the chance of complication. This makes choosing a highly trained and experienced doctor imperative. Dr. Matt Hershcovitch is passionate about helping his patients achieve pride in their appearance and is committed to being there for you every step of the way. Schedule a personalized consultation and improve the look of your skin today! You can reach Dr. Hershcovitch in Westlake, CA at (805)371-0004 or in West Hills, CA at (818) 888-7878.