When people talk about the miracle of laser skin resurfacing, it sort of makes you conjure up in your mind this image of a beautiful new fresh face. That’s not exactly what it does, so let me tell you what the real deal is. Laser skin resurfacing definitely gives you fresher, younger, smoother-looking skin. I love laser resurfacing. It will take away the browns, but it does nothing to take away reds on your skin. It certainly takes away fine lines, some medium lines, and makes the skin tighter—it just makes it look a lot better.
There are two different types of lasers. The first type is the original ablative technology from the mid-1990s. “Ablative” means it literally takes off the upper layer of skin. That requires healing—a week to a week-and-a-half of down-time where you’re doing compresses on your face, it’s raw, it’s oozing, and you really can’t go to work and you’re at home. It also has a month to several months of redness afterwards but it gives you the best result.
The newer technology is called fractional non-ablative technology which means it doesn’t take off the whole top layer but, as the name “fractional” suggests, it’s just little areas where the laser works and this gives you almost no down-time. A little bit of redness, a medium pink sunburn for one day, and then you’re back to work. However, in order for that to be effective, you’ve got to do several treatments and the final result isn’t quite as good as the original technology that I mentioned.
But what is impossible and what would really be a miracle is that you can’t get the very best results from a single treatment and not have any down-time, so you have to understand that it’s a trade-off between having down-time and getting very good results on one treatment or no down-time, multiple treatments, and getting not as perfect a result.