Laser Skin Resurfacing

As we age, our skin begins to change as a result of several different life factors. The natural collagen within the skin begins to diminish and skin may sag and droop. Smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, nutrition and more can also lead to the development of wrinkles and fine lines within the skin. Other skin conditions such as acne, brown spots and chicken pox can leave unattractive blemishes on the skin.

Laser skin resurfacing is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other skin irregularities.

Although laser skin resurfacing uses the same basic principles of other procedures and treats aging, damaged skin by removing a layer of skin, it does so through a noninvasive approach that uses laser energy to remove as much skin as needed. This allows for a much deeper removal through more precise and less invasive techniques.

Laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat:

  • Wrinkles
  • Sun damage
  • Crow’s feet
  • Brown spots
  • Blotchiness
  • Acne
  • Chicken pox scars
  • Superficial facial scars

While this procedure is most commonly performed to treat the effects of aging, it can be performed on patients of any age who are looking to restore their skin to a smooth, clear complexion free of blemishes and other imperfections.


Laser skin resurfacing is commonly performed with either a carbon dioxide (CO2) or an erbium laser. It is also better for darker skin tones. Your doctor will determine which laser is best for you after evaluating the condition of your skin and your medical history, while also considering your desired results.

During the laser skin resurfacing procedure, the laser energy is used to remove layers of damaged skin to leave the treated area smoother and more even through short pulsed energy that is precisely delivered to the area. The laser is moved over the targeted area multiple times until imperfections are no longer visible and a smooth layer of skin is left.

This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and uses local anesthesia to help minimize discomfort. The entire procedure can take anywhere from 30 minute to two hours to perform, depending on the size and condition of the treated area. Some patients may require more than one procedure in order to achieve their desired results.

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Recovery and Results

After the laser skin resurfacing procedure, patients may experience mild swelling and discomfort for a few days. These symptoms can be controlled with ice packs and medication prescribed by your doctor. Patients will also experience redness that gradually diminishes as the skin heals. While most patients can return to work and other normal activities after a few days, redness may persist for several weeks.

The results of laser skin resurfacing may take months to fully appear, after all signs of redness have diminished. Although the results are long-lasting, they are not permanent. The skin will still be subjected to the natural effects of aging, although your skin will appear younger and smoother than if you had never had any treatment at all.

Laser Skin Resurfacing FAQs

How long does it take to heal from laser resurfacing?

For most patients, recovery from aesthetic treatments involving energy-based technology and deep exfoliation of the skin can take an average of two weeks. It’s essential to understand what happens to your skin during and after laser treatment. The damage to your epidermis triggers the natural exfoliation process to reveal healthy new skin underneath.

Your skin will appear red, swollen, and irritated for the first few days afterward; you should be gentle with yourself. After about a week, you may notice your skin begin to peel – this process can be alarming, but it’s crucial for results. During this time, keep your skin hydrated with an approved moisturizer, and refrain from picking or scratching at it. Instead, allow the dead cells to fall off naturally over time. After the second week, you’ll enjoy a smooth, glowing complexion.

Is laser resurfacing worth it?

Most of our patients would answer this question with a resounding yes. Laser skin surfacing treatments can refresh your appearance and improve many skin conditions, including age spots, veins, wrinkles, scars, sagging skin, and unwanted hair. In addition, these non-surgical procedures have little risk and short recovery times, making them ideal for patients with busy work or life schedules. At Bryan Armijo MD, it’s our mission to help you feel confident, proud, and excited about your youthful skin.

Are there any drawbacks of laser resurfacing?

There are a few potential downsides to consider when deciding if laser skin resurfacing treatments are your best option. For example, laser treatments can lead to permanent lightening or darkening of the skin, scarring, or a cold sore outbreak if performed by an inexperienced provider. Also, if you are prone to cold sores, discuss this with Dr. Armijo – he can prescribe an antiviral medication to help prevent their occurrence.

Another potential con for some patients is that while laser skin resurfacing has less downtime than a surgical procedure, there is still a recovery period. You can expect redness after treatment, which may worsen before it improves. While your skin heals, it will also go through a period where it peels and scabs. While this stage is necessary to achieve the desired results, this can be alarming to some people.

How long does laser resurfacing last on your face?

On average, you can expect your laser resurfacing treatment results to last anywhere from three to five years after the procedure. You can enjoy your improved complexion even longer by wearing sunscreen, taking antioxidant supplements, staying adequately hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and sticking to a daily skin care regimen that includes cleansing and moisturizing.

What does your skin look like after laser resurfacing?

Immediately after your laser resurfacing treatment, your skin will appear red and swollen. You may also experience stinging or itching as if you had a bad sunburn. In addition, your skin may be raw, oozing, and blistered depending on the extent of your procedure. Dr. Armijo will provide detailed instructions on how to care for your skin and ease any discomfort you may feel in the first few days after your procedure.

How many laser resurfacing treatments do you need?

Most patients require a series of three to four laser skin resurfacing sessions for optimal results. To determine how many appointments you will need, start by having a personalized consultation with Dr. Armijo. First, he’ll examine your skin concerns, review your medical history, and discuss your aesthetic goals. Based on this evaluation, he’ll recommend the ideal treatment plan to meet your needs.