Skin resurfacing involves several procedure, including chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser surgery. Skin resurfacing procedures are designed to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, scars, blemishes, sun damage and uneven pigmentation in order to provide a smoother, more youthful appearance to the facial skin. There are a number of factors, including skin type and color, ethnicity and age, which help to determine whether or not an individual is a good candidate for skin resurfacing, and a qualified plastic surgeon can help you determine if the procedure is right for you. Patients should also be physically healthy and have realistic expectations.
While many skin resurfacing procedures are performed in a surgeon’s office, they can also take place in a hospital or an outpatient center. Different types of anesthesia may be used for different types of skin resurfacing procedures, but typically they may include local anesthesia, a freezing agent and/or sedation. More extensive resurfacing through laser surgery may require general anesthesia. Some procedures may require more than one treatment. Chemical peels typically begin by cleaning the skin with a solution then directly applying one of several chemical solutions to the skin. Dermabrasion involves the use of a high speed rotating brush which removed the top layers of skin until the appropriate level is reached. Laser surgery, also referred to as laser skin resurfacing or laser peel, uses a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser which instantly vaporizes the top layer of skin.
Swelling and crusting of the skin is common after treatment, along with redness which typically fades within four weeks. Patients may be required to apply an ointment to the treated area for seven to ten days. Within about one to two weeks after the procedure, the skin will begin to appear pinkish and free of many wrinkles. Patients will need to protect the skin from the sun as it heals, and extreme temperatures and activities which may cause stress to the skin will need to be avoided for a period of time.
Skin Resurfacing FAQs
Skin resurfacing involves several procedures able to improve the look of facial skin by minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, scars, blemishes, uneven pigmentation, and sun damage. Options for skin resurfacing include chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser surgery. Depending upon the procedure, more than one treatment may be necessary.
A chemical peel is a procedure able to provide a smoother, more youthful appearance to the facial skin by peeling away the skin’s top layers using a chemical solution. Glycolic acid peels are the mildest form of peel while phenol peels are the deepest or strongest. Trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, peels may be used in a variety of strengths.
The cost of a chemical peel procedure by Dr. Bustillo is for the face $750.00 and for the eyes $500.00.
Most patients that undergo a chemical peel are able to return to work about a week after. After the peel, the skin usually sheds five days later, giving way to new, pink skin. The skin will remain pink for about 2 weeks. During this time, topical makeup can be used to conceal the pink skin. It is important to avoid sun for about three months after the peel.
Dermabrasion is a procedure able to smooth out deeper scars and wrinkles through a method of controlled surgical scraping. This procedure removes the top layer of skin with a high speed rotating brush.
Dermabrasion is usually performed for upper lip wrinkles and for acne scars. The recovery from dermabrasion is about two weeks. During the first week, the new top layer of skin forms. The skin surface during this time is red which will improve over the following weeks. It will progress to pink and then back to the normal skin color over a month.
Laser surgery, also referred to as laser skin resurfacing and a laser peel, is a procedure which uses a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser device to vaporize the top layer of skin in order to improve the appearance of wrinkles, sun exposure and acne scarring.
Skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of the skin, but it cannot produce perfect skin or stop the aging process. In addition, skin resurfacing cannot correct sagging skin which is better treated with other procedures.
Individuals who are physically healthy, realistic in their expectations and looking to improve the appearance of the facial skin may be good candidates for skin resurfacing. Skin type and color, ethnic background and age can influence whether or not an individual is an appropriate candidate for skin resurfacing. A qualified plastic surgeon can help you to determine if skin resurfacing is right for you.
During a consultation for skin resurfacing, the surgeon will examine your skin and take a thorough medical history. He or she will discuss your goals and the options available to you. The surgeon will explain the intended procedural technique, the anesthesia options, the facility, the risks, and the costs. Other procedures may be recommended at this time to help you achieve your desired goal. A skin care regimen may also be prescribed prior to treatment.
Many skin resurfacing procedures take place in a surgeon’s office, though they can also be performed in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital.
A local anesthetic and/or freezing agent may be used for dermabrasion. Phenol and TCA peels typically do not require anesthesia as the chemical solution contains an anesthetic, though sedation may also be used, and glycolic acid peels tend to be mild enough that they do not require anesthesia. Laser surgery is most often performed with local anesthesia and sedation, though more extensive resurfacing may require general anesthesia.
For chemical peels, the face if first cleaned with a solution and then one of several chemical solutions is applied directly to the skin. For dermabrasion, a high speed rotating brush is used on the skin, removing the top layers, until the appropriate result is achieved. For laser surgery, a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is passed over the skin, instantly vaporizing the top layer.
A dressing may be applied to the skin immediately after a chemical peel or dermabrasion. It common for the skin to swell and crust after treatment, and redness of the skin can persist for about four weeks. Ointments may need to be applied to the treated area for seven to ten days. The skin will begin to appear pinkish and free of many wrinkles within about one to two weeks after the procedure. Extreme temperatures and activities which may cause stress to the healing skin will need to be avoided for some time. In addition, sun exposure may need to be limited at first and patients will need to use sunblock while the new pigment forms.
Skin resurfacing procedures performed for purely cosmetic reasons are typically not covered by insurance, though some degree of coverage may be available for the treatment of major deformities or skin injuries.