Laser skin resurfacing (sometimes called laser skin rejuvenation) sloughs off the damaged surface skin to reveal newer, healthier and smoother skin. But like all aesthetics procedures, it has its pros and cons, and there are some situations where you should avoid laser skin resurfacing altogether.
What can laser skin resurfacing do?
Lasers gently dissolve the molecular bonds of those topmost skin cells. This can help treat acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation. During the treatment, pigments in the targeted skin cells absorb the laser’s energy and heat, which then cause the skin cells to break down. Any excess laser light is diffused, although there is always that slight risk that the surrounding skin cells will be exposed to the laser.
When to avoid laser skin resurfacing
Lasers break down the surface skin cells, which not only reveals new skin, but prompts your body to produce collagen. However, your skin needs to be able to heal itself – and there are some conditions that can affect this.
- You tend to form keloids or deep scars, your skin
- You have connective tissue disorders like lupus erythematosus or Sjogren’s syndrome
- You have recently taken Accutane (studies have shown that this prescription acne treatment can slow down your skin’s ability to heal for about 6 months)
- You have on-going acne
- You have very dark skin tones. Since the pigments in the skin absorb the laser, highly pigmented skin (such as those with darker skin tones) is more prone to irritation. You can still take laser skin resurfacing, but ask for a Fraxel or erbium laser procedure, which are gentler than the C02 laser.
- You can’t afford down time. Since lasers work by breaking down your skin cells, your skin will appear red or feel sensitive to the touch for a few days after the treatment.
Alternatives to Laser Skin Resurfacing
If you are unable to have laser skin resurfacing, but would like to treat acne scars you can consider chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and non-ablative skin procedures like Thermage which treat inner layers without damaging the surface. For wrinkles and fine lines, you can look at injectable fillers, collagen injections, or fat transfer treatments.