What is a Laser Facial?
The 2 questions you’re probably most interested in are will a laser facial actually work to repair my skin or make me look younger and what are the side effects… And if you’re not asking yourself these questions, well, you probably should be. We’ll address these questions below, but you should first have a basic understanding of what a laser facial actually is.
Laser Facial Treatments are pretty much exactly what they sound like (a laser is used to treat the skin on the face). There are a few types of laser treatments that you’re likely to read or hear about, but in general, all 3 types are used in conjunction with one another. These 3 types of laser facial treatment are as follows:
Ablative. This is the primary type of treatment used in any laser facial. The primary goal here is twofold: (1) First, the outer layer of the skin is removed (essentially ‘zapped’ away), and (2) Second, the skin is heated in such a way as to stimulate Collagen production.
Non-Ablative. Non-ablative treatments are ablative minus the first step (removal of the outer layer of the skin).
Fractioned. Like ablative lasers, fractioned lasers remove a portion of the skin. However, fractioned lasers penetrate more deeply into the skin, thereby disrupting old and damaged tissue and causing the skin to work harder to repair itself. In general, fractioned lasers will only be used on small areas of the skin, as they tend to cause the surrounding area to also work harder to rebuild itself.
The description above is an oversimplification, an we really urge you to read more and question your doctor in order to better understand the processes involved. As noted, the 3 types of laser treatment are typically all used, with ablative lasers being the primary basis of treatment.
So what are the benefits of a Laser Facial?
We won’t get into all of the possible specific benefits (such as repairing scars, sun spots, etc.), but in general, laser facial treatments can treat a variety of skin conditions, including many types of wrinkles. (Note specifically, however, that sagging skin and very deep wrinkles are generally not treatable). Here’s what you can expect:
If your laser facial treatment includes use of an ablative laser, many minor wrinkles and/or blemishes will be removed, at least temporarily (some blemishes and wrinkles may take several treatments). As you read above, an ablative laser will actually remove the outer layer of skin, so any wrinkle or blemish that does not penetrate below that layer will be removed.
In addition, your skin will begin to heal itself by producing more collagen, thereby tightening the remaining skin and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkled. After several sessions, your skin will likely begin to appear much younger and healthier. At this point, you probably can’t wait, but please do keep reading below for the side effects.
Side Effects of a Laser Facial
Deciding to get a laser facial is no small decision, and the following are side effects that you should carefully consider before committing to any treatment (this list is not meant to be exclusive, as there may be other side effects that we don’t mention):
Redness and Sensitivity. Above all else, your skin is going to be very sensitive, somewhat sore, and quite red/pink for some time after your treatment. You will likely experience some pain for the first week or so, and your skin will be red, swollen, and sensitive for several weeks to several months. You cannot spend any extended time in the sun during this period, and you will not look your best until your skin has recovered (remember that you’ve actually zapped off a layer or two of skin). If you consider nothing else, make sure that you are ready to accept this time period for recovery.
More Limited Risks. Although a fairly safe procedure, you should also discuss with your doctor certain other risks. Such risks include: (1) change in pigmentation (color) of the skin, (2) change in texture of the skin (lumps, etc.), (3) burns and scars, and (4) infection. We’re really not trying to scare you with this list, but there are risks to any procedure of this type, and above all else, you want a doctor who is experienced and aware of the risks.
Emptying of Purse.
photo credit: Tracy OA bit of a joke, but if you don’t already know, laser facial treatments are expensive (often between $3,000 and $5,000). Not much to say about this – if it’s really important to you and you can afford it, then the cost is probably not going to be a huge drawback.
We hope that this brief synopsis has been useful, and please leave any questions you may have in the comments section below. Any major treatment such as a laser facial should not be taken lightly, but it can have its time and place.