If you are looking to refresh the look and feel of your skin, laser treatments are designed to do exactly that, not only restoring a youthful glow but helping your skin look younger and healthier.
However, as with any type of surgery, many people are typically put off by the process involved and often have a lot of questions regarding how it’s going to affect them before, during and after the procedure.
So, with this in mind, we thought we’d address all of these concerns head-on. In this detailed guide, we will highlight everything you can expect while undergoing laser surgery with us, answering a number of commonly asked questions along the way.
Understanding Laser Treatments
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the procedure involved with our laser resurfacing treatment, it’s important to first understand the basic principles behind it.
As its name suggests, laser resurfacing is designed to ‘resurface’ your skin, removing problematic skin layer by layer with incredible precision. This, in turn, encourages new skin cells to form which give the skin a tighter and younger-looking surface.
For this reason, laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective means of counteracting the effects of ageing, acne scars and a wide range of sun-related skin issues like blotches, scars, wrinkles or lines.
Before The Procedure
Prior to the procedure, you will need to consult a plastic surgeon or dermatologist by setting up an appointment with us.
From here, we will then be able to utilise our expertise and experience to decide whether you’re a suitable candidate or not. If, for instance, you’re prone to getting cold sores, a slightly different approach – including prescribed medication – may be required.
Once approved, your allocated doctor will ask you to avoid any medications or supplements that can affect clotting (i.e. increased risk of bruising) for ten days before the surgery. These typically include medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and vitamin E supplements.
You will also be asked to stop smoking for at least two weeks before and after the surgery, due to its negative impact on the healing process.
During The Procedure
On the day of the surgery itself, your plastic surgeon or dermatologist will guide and support you, ensuring you understand the process fully. Other staff will also be on hand, particularly during the laser treatment.
The areas we decide to treat will depend on your specific circumstances but, generally speaking, laser resurfacing focuses on treating wrinkles or skin conditions around the eyes, mouth or forehead.
Depending on the location and size of area being treated, different types of anaesthetic may be used, including topical cream and injections.
The duration of the procedure will also depend on the location and size of area being treated. For smaller treatments, the surgery can take as little as half an hour while, for bigger areas to be treated, it could take up to two hours. However, we will be able to advise you on the timings involved following your initial consultation.
Does it hurt?
Thanks to the anaesthetic involved during the procedure, you shouldn’t be able to feel much discomfort at all.
Some patients do report a mild feeling of discomfort as the medication starts to wear off – a similar sensation to the feeling of redness or irritation you get from a mild sunburn.
While you also shouldn’t feel the heat of the lasers during the procedure itself, some patients have reported it feeling like their skin is being repeatedly gently snapped with a rubber band.
Following The Procedure
Once your laser resurfacing surgery has been completed, your doctor will apply a soothing ointment to act as a temporary barrier while we monitor the recovery and development of fresh, new skin. The doctor will also confirm the prescribed medication required in your particular instance, which may include a combination of antiviral and antibiotic tablets.
During the recovery period, you will need to clean the treated areas four to five times a day using plain, lukewarm water, gentle cleanser and a soft cloth. Guidance will be provided to you on how to do this, as well as how to regularly reapply the ointment.
Don’t worry if your skin looks a little swollen following the surgery – this is perfectly normal. However, in cases where the treated areas are around your eyes, steroids may be prescribed to keep any swelling down.
In a similar way to recovering from a sunburn, your skin may sting slightly for up to three days following your surgery. However, by the seventh-day post-surgery, it should dry and peel away while becoming slightly lighter in tone.
How do I keep it protected?
Once the new skin has come through – typically from ten days after the procedure – your doctor will recommend using a sunscreen to protect it from harsh ultraviolet A and B rays. This should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and a 7% minimum zinc oxide content.
At this stage, it is also recommended to avoid the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm, wear protective clothing, keep your skin well moisturised and avoid using any type of oil-based makeup.
So, there you have it – everything you should expect when undergoing skin laser resurfacing treatment.
It’s important to mention, however, that each case is treated on an individual basis. We work around you to ensure the treatment and procedure you are given is specific to your exact needs.
As experts in the field, we also aim to put your mind at ease by communicating with you regularly about your treatment plan, checking up on you after your surgery to ensure you’re happy with the level of service we’ve provided.