Laser skin resurfacing can achieve amazing results for sun damage, fine lines and even for the deeper wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. Whether you are doing this procedure in the Operating Room, in combination with another procedure or under local anesthetic in the office, recovery is very similar. The great news is that recovery from laser skin resurfacing has come a long way; it no longer takes months to recover and some patients can start using makeup again after the first week!
The typical patient will need to completely avoid going outdoors for at least 7 days after the procedure so that there is no risk of sun exposure. Also during this first week, patients will usually be applying an occlusive balm to aid the skin in healing and prevent debris or bacteria from getting into the skin. Following the directed post treatment care is critical in the skin healing process. The first day or two will be the most uncomfortable as your skin will feel raw and have some pinpoint bleeding and possible oozing. The best therapy in pain relief is ice compresses and, if needed, prescription medications. Usually by day 3, the skin has re-epithelialized. This signifies that the wound healing process has started and the skin is no longer oozing or bleeding. The skin can still feel raw and tender for a few more days. After the first week, patients will start to see the results from the procedure. Skin will look fresher, brighter and will have visibly less sun damage, fine lines and deeper wrinkles. Patients can experience erythema (redness) in the skin for at least 2 to 12 weeks depending on skin type and how aggressive the procedure. By day 8, patients can typically start using a chemical free sunscreen and even makeup.
Even though healing and recovery times are not what they used to be, we still stress reduced sun exposure for at least 6 months post-procedure, as your skin will be more sensitive to the sun. We also recommend the reapplication of SPF 30 or above every 90 minutes if in direct sun to prevent further sun damage and to prolong your results for years to come!
Ashley Ackerson, CMA, Laser Specialist