Skin Resurfacing Procedures Can Deliver a Youthful Glow
People seek to resurface their skin for a variety of reasons. The right treatment can minimize lines, wrinkles, age spots and acne scars and get rid of unwanted facial hair. Compared to more invasive procedures, like face-lifts or dermal fillers, skin resurfacing is a more convenient and lower-stakes way to improve your looks.
What is skin resurfacing?
Skin resurfacing treatments strip away the skin's topmost layer of hair and dead skin to reveal a smooth, glowing complexion underneath. Most skin resurfacing procedures take about 90 minutes or less and require little downtime. Nonetheless, skin resurfacing can be intense and has the potential to pose health risks, especially when performed by the wrong person.
An experienced, board-certified cosmetic surgeon—or, in some cases, a trained nurse or aesthetician—can help you determine if you're an appropriate candidate for a particular treatment option. Taking proper care to follow the instructions after your treatment will let you enjoy an enhanced complexion for three months or longer.
Types of skin resurfacing treatments
The treatment a professional recommends and performs depends on the desired results. Types of resurfacing treatments are many, but the most common are discussed below.
A carbon dioxide laser is an example of an ablative laser that takes off the outer layer of skin and purposely injures the underlying layer with heat. As the skin heals from the injury, it produces more collagen, creating a tighter, smoother appearance.
The skin's surface can also be peeled away by applying certain chemicals to reveal a younger-looking complexion. Chemical peels can also reduce acne scars and remove precancerous growths. You can choose a light, medium or deep peel based on your needs.
Using a tool with a rotating brush, your surgeon will remove the top layer of skin with a mechanical process similar to sanding. Dermabrasion is one of the more invasive resurfacing processes, typically requiring a local anesthetic, but the payoff is that it can improve the appearance of deeper imperfections, such as scars. It is not recommended for patients with darker complexions.
Intense pulsed light (IPL)
With an intense pulsed light procedure, different wavelengths of light are pulsed toward the skin, heating its pigmented cells and destroying them. As the name of the procedure suggests, it is intense, so you will have to wear dark glasses during this treatment to protect your eyes. The light pulses travel to deeper layers of the skin without harming the epidermis, meaning this treatment is non-ablative and may entail a faster recovery.
A professional applies an abrasive treatment to the skin, either in a fine mist or with a handheld tool. While the process buffs away skin cells as in dermabrasion, microdermabrasion is less invasive and can be done on patients of all skin tones. It can also be done on the face, neck, hands or body.
All skin types can benefit from this minimally invasive treatment. Microneedling employs dozens of tiny needles to make microscopic tears in the skin. As your skin naturally repairs itself, a brighter complexion appears. Sometimes more than one session is needed to achieve the desired result, but you won't have to deal with peeling or any post-treatment downtime.
Typically, less-invasive skin resurfacing treatments require less recovery time, cost less and don't come with as many risks as surgical treatments. But depending on the results you seek, a more intense procedure may be necessary. Consulting with a professional who offers a range of treatment options can help you select the best approach for your skin.