What is skin resurfacing?
Skin resurfacing is the medical term used to describe medical procedures that we use to renovate the skin improving wrinkles, discoloration, large pores, fine lines, skin texture. We use a combination of office procedures and select them according to the patient’s skin, goals and expected downtime. Lasers and chemical peels are the most popular skin resurfacing procedures.
How is a chemical peel done?
A chemical peel is done in the office after the skin has been cleaned and prepared. We apply to the skin one or more exfoliating agents, resulting in a superficial or deep renovation of the top layers of the skin. The depth of the chemical peel is selected according to the areas treated and the patient’s needs. After 24-48hs, the skin turns brownish and in 3-5 days the top layers start peeling off. It takes longer to completely heal if the peel is deeper. The goal is to achieve global skin rejuvenation, reduction or disappearance of “sunspots”, freckles and fine wrinkles, including improvement of superficial scars.
Chemical peeling is great to boost inner collagen production and to maintain the skin looking healthy and smooth. Fall, Winter and Spring are the best months for the procedure. We do not recommend chemical peeling in the Summer. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are one of the most common medical peels we do for skin aging and discoloration. We also use the Hetter peel for darker lesions and deeper wrinkles.
Medical chemical peeling is routinely done under topical or local anesthesia. However, it can also be done under general anesthesia if a deep peel is required, or if the peel is combined with facial rejuvenation surgery. Some burning or heat sensation on the skin is expected during the procedure.
What types of lasers are used for skin resurfacing?
There are many lasers or light devices used for skin resurfacing. Very popular ones are the ILP (Intense Pulsed Light), the fractionated Erbium and fractionated CO2 lasers. The lasers can also be used in different intensities and depths depending on the problem we want to treat. Recovery time will also depend on the depth and intensity of the laser. Depending on the amount of photodamage or wrinkling of the skin, we will select a lighter or stronger concentration, or more than one laser session can be necessary to achieve the desired results. Depending on the type of treatment needed, a combination of lasers can also be used, and the final result is enhanced with home treatment afterwards.
How can I prepare my skin for a resurfacing procedure?
Before any lasers or medical chemical peels, we prepare the skin for a few weeks with home use of tretinoin and sometimes hydroquinone (if dark pigmentation). That evens out the skin and makes the skin heal faster after the procedure.
What should I expect after a skin resurfacing procedure?
After the procedure, the skin looks pink and feels tight and hot, and over the next 2-3 days it will darken to a brownish color and then start peeling. Skin peeling can last from a couple of days to a week or so. Once the peel is complete, a fresh-looking skin is uncovered, still lightly red for the first week or two until completely recovered. We recommend a light ointment until the peeling is complete and then, once the redness starts to fade, we recommend daily moisturizers and sunscreen.
How can I get started to learn more?
If you are interested in having a skin resurfacing procedure, it would be our pleasure to see you in the office for an in-person consultation. We can talk about what you want to achieve, go over the specific areas you are looking to improve and, I will answer any questions you have. Call or email us to schedule your appointment.
Plastic surgery through a woman’s eye
GABRIELE C. MIOTTO MD, MEd, is a Brazilian-American plastic surgeon in Atlanta, specialized in aesthetic surgery and minimally invasive aesthetic procedures. She is known and recognized for her beautiful and natural results and high patient satisfaction. Call or email our office to schedule your appointment![testimonials category=”skin-resurfacing” orderby=”menu_order” order=”ASC” style=”” hide_photos=”1″]