Loose, wrinkled, or discolored skin can be improved with skin resurfacing. These problems are usually brought on or aggravated by age, sun exposure, heredity, smoking, or acne. Skin resurfacing removes layers of skin, thereby revealing a newer, younger looking more evenly colored layer of skin underneath. Skin resurfacing can be used on the entire face or just on specific areas such as the upper lip or eyelids. Resurfacing produces a tightening effect on the skin which can result in a smoother, less wrinkled or lined look. If you are having other facial cosmetic surgery such as a facelift or eyelid surgery you may be able to have skin resurfacing at the same time.
Skin color is not necessarily a barrier to treatment, but fair skin tends to produce better results though skin thickness and texture may determine whether you are a good candidate for laser resurfacing.
Your plastic surgeon will assess your skin type, sun damage, wrinkle and line depth and then discuss with you which type of resurfacing may be best for you. There are many types of skin resurfacing procedures. Most of them remove the upper layers of the skin and leave you raw for a period of time. The more skin that is removed, the smother, more evenly colored and wrinkle free the skin will be. However, the more the skin is removed, the more prolonged will be the healing, redness and risk of skin pallor.
More superficial resurfacing results in less down time and a less dramatic result. There are technologies that do not remove the upper layer of skin but instead attempt to tighten the deeper layer of the skin with light or ultrasound.
While less invasive methods like these do not require a healing period, the results are also less likely to be striking.
Deep skin resurfacing can be achieved with dermabrasion, chemical peeling, or with lasers such as the carbon dioxide or erbium devices. More superficial skin resurfacing can be obtained with creams such as retinoic acid, or procedures such as microdermabrasion.
The risks of laser resurfacing are few but include infection, pallor, or abnormal healing. If you have had herpes, skin resurfacing can cause a recurrence of these conditions. Rarely, patients form raised or thickened scars following the procedure. This response can be unpredictable.
Following skin resurfacing, you must avoid sun exposure until the redness of your skin has gone. In fact, it is better to avoid the harmful effects of the sun permanently with sun block and head covering. Sunburns are the major cause of what you are trying to improve with skin resurfacing.
Camouflage makeup can be used after the skin is healed. Remember that the deeper the burn, the better the result, but the longer will be the time you will want to be out of work until the redness settles to the point where you can conceal it with makeup.