Skin resurfacing is an umbrella term to describe a number of non-surgical skin treatments performed to smooth, even, and clear certain skin issues by remodeling or removing damaged outer layers of skin. There are several different techniques that may be used, each of which are proven effective, are minimally invasive, and have a minimal down time. The results of resurfacing can be enjoyed for years when a patient properly prepares themselves beforehand. Knowledge is power.
What Can Skin Resurfacing Treat?
Skin resurfacing treatments are used for an array of skin issues and undesirables on the face, hands and body, including:
- acne scars
- surgical scars
- fine lines and wrinkles
- age spots
- sun damage
- large pores
- remove unwanted hair
- uneven skin tone, red spots, and brown spots
- tighten skin and encourage collagen formation
What Are The Types Of Skin Resurfacing?
While there are hundreds of skin resurfacing treatments marketed under specific brand names, there are five main classes of skin resurfacing:
- Laser Skin Resurfacing – highly concentrated beams of light energy are applied to the skin:
- Non-Ablative lasers use a single wavelength of light to heat up the skin to promote collagen formation, firmness, tone, and texture.
- Ablative lasers use a single wavelength of focused light to remove the outer layer of skin so that new skin may replace it.
- IPL, or intense pulse light, is a non-ablative laser treatment with the specific focus on skin pigmentation issues. Instead of a single, focused wavelength of light, this treatment utilizes a broad spectrum wavelength in pulses to remove excess pigments.
- Chemical Peels – a chemical solution is applied to peel the outer layers of skin away.
- Microdermabrasion – the skin is gently exfoliated with a fine-tipped instrument and application of abrasive particles. The dead skin cells are typically then vacuumed off the skin.
- Dermabrasion – a rotating instrument shaves the skin away one micro-layer at a time until healthy skin is reached.
- Microneedling – an instrument with multiple fine, short needles lightly puncture the skin’s surface to create microscopic injuries that aren’t visible to the eye. These injuries create collagen and elastin production to generate new, healthy skin cells.
How To Prepare For Skin Resurfacing?
No matter which specific type of skin resurfacing you’re interested in, you’ll want to take some proactive steps to prepare yourself so that you can achieve the best results possible.
- Follow your doctor’s pre-procedure guidelines.
In order to obtain the best skin resurfacing results possible, most any professional cosmetic office will ask skin resurfacing patients to stop doing four things in the weeks or days leading up to the procedure:
- No unprotected sun exposure for several weeks.
- No smoking for at least two-four weeks prior.
- No harsh home skin care regimen, such as retinoids or exfoliants, for at least 10 days prior.
- No anticoagulants and anti-inflammatory medications and supplements immediately before the procedure.
The above can cause allergic reactions, interfere with the healing process, or cause excess bleeding during and after the resurfacing procedure. Each doctor will have his/her own timeframe preferences and allowances based on a patient’s unique overall health, skin type, and chosen procedure.
Some pretreatment plans may also include lotions, creams, and oral supplements they’d like you to use in the weeks leading up to the procedure to prepare your skin for resurfacing.
- Schedule a consultation with your chosen doctor.
During the consultation, you’ll discuss your skin health, skin history, overall health, and skin resurfacing expectations with your chosen cosmetic doctor. This will enable you and your doctor to determine what type of skin resurfacing best suits your expectations, secondary medical needs, and skin.
Be sure to inform the doctor of any skin and health problems you’ve had in the past, even if it’s not a current problem. Be prepared to discuss your entire medical history.
Also take this opportunity to discuss your needs as it relates to pain. Most patients and doctors compare the pain of laser treatments to the snap of a rubber band against the skin – a slight sting. However, there are caveats to this depending on your skin, tolerance to pain, and the depth of the treatment. Some treatments require little more than some numbing cream to keep you comfortable. Other, deeper procedures, may require local anesthetic injections or intravenous sedation.
Another issue is downtime. While all skin resurfacing techniques are non-surgical, some require less healing than others. For example, deeper penetrating laser treatments may leave the skin red, raw, scaly, and susceptible to infection for a few weeks following the treatment. This may not be an issue for some, but others may prefer not to be sociable or work during those weeks.
These are all elements that can be discussed at the consultation to help you decide which skin resurfacing procedure best suits your needs and when it should be scheduled.
- Eat a well-balanced diet prior to the procedure.
You can help prepare your body for optimal healing and skin rejuvenation by maintaining a well-balanced diet in the weeks and months leading up to a skin resurfacing procedure.
Nutrition plays a critical role in how fast skin heals, how strong and healthy the replacement tissue is, and makes the treated skin less likely to suffer adversities like infection. Here’s a look at some of the main nutrition players:
- Protein – helps repair damaged tissue.
- Healthy fatty acids – used to create strong cell membranes.
- Vitamin C – helps produce collagen and new blood vessels and is an essential antioxidant for tissue repair.
- Vitamin A – staves of inflammation and provides antioxidant repair.
- Zinc – synthesizes proteins for collagen development.
- Water – facilitates circulation and detoxification.
- Research your skin resurfacing provider thoroughly.
It’s not difficult to find an abundance of entities offering skin resurfacing procedures due to its reputation as a viable, cost efficient, and minimal risk treatment option for so many undesirable skin conditions. And, in the right hands, the results can indeed be life changing for many patients.
However, lasers and chemicals in poorly trained, unqualified hands can not only be ineffective… it’s a downright dangerous proposition.
Avoid making a provider decision based solely on the best deal or which is offering the latest brand name laser. Look for a laser resurfacing provider with experience, training, qualification, and a patient-vetted history of safe and reliable results.
Even the more minor resurfacing techniques commonly performed by a certified aesthetician or nurse should be directly overseen by a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with extensive training and experience in resurfacing.
The Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami was founded on adhering to the principles of transparent, safe, effective, patient-orientated results through an experienced and certified plastic surgery group of providers. Unlike single-physician providers, each physician at The Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami has excelled and specializes in their own niche of cosmetic procedures, including skin resurfacing procedures.