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5 Things to Know Before Choosing Laser Resurfacing

5 Things to Know Before Choosing Laser Resurfacing

Does your skin have visible lines, scars, or wrinkles due to time spent in the sun, acne, and aging factors? The perfect treatment you need might be laser resurfacing. Laser skin resurfacing can give you the ideal skin everybody wants. Sure, you can use masks, retinol, glycolic, and scrubs to remove dead cells. Or you can think of procedures such as dermabrasion and chemical peels. However, laser resurfacing offers a much more effective solution that lasts longer.

If you’re considering this option, there are a few things you need to know. This post covers five essential facts but to begin, let’s take a closer look at the process.

How Laser Resurfacing Works

5 Things to Know Before Choosing Laser Resurfacing
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

To find out how laser resurfacing works, it’s necessary to understand the ‘laser’ first. According to NASA, a laser is an acronym that means light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Lara Devgan, MD, a New York City plastic surgeon, stated that laser in the field of dermatology is “the skin-resurfacing modality, which harnesses light and heat’s power to improve skin texture, tone, and coloration.”

According to Devgan, the laser tends to cause a measured injury type amid skin tissues. The body responds by initiating its normal healing process that results in younger and better-looking skin. You can liken this repair procedure to the same process that occurs after a workout. Research shows that the repair of small tears in muscle tissues are the cause of bigger, stronger muscles that result from working out. Likewise, your body creates new skin after laser resurfacing to replace the old ones.

With this understanding, let’s look at five things to know before paying for your laser resurfacing procedure.

1.  Your Laser Operator May Not Be a Trained Professional.

Don’t be surprised to find an aesthetician conducting laser procedures for clients. It is a legal practice, according to the New York State Department of labor. Rules and regulations vary across different states. However, it’s vital to note that the very thing that makes laser resurfacing so useful also makes it potentially dangerous.

Therefore, a slight miscalculation, error, or wrong programming can lead to hyperpigmentation or, worse, burns. That’s why you’re better off with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. In this regard, the cost shouldn’t be the priority since you may end up paying more for quality and better results.

And remember, if you’ve heard of any laser skin resurfacing complication, chances are it occurs in the hands of someone who wasn’t a trained professional. Look out for certifications like the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOBD) or the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) when choosing a trained professional.

2.  Understand The Differences in The Types of Laser Resurfacing

5 Things to Know Before Choosing Laser Resurfacing
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

There are many vital categories in laser surfacing, including non-ablative, fractional, and ablative. Below are details of these three types:

Nonablative - This is the “non wounding” type of laser, according to the Mayo Clinic. These lasers go easy on the skin and do not wound the top layer of the skin. Instead, they direct energy to the deeper skin tissues and suit people with darker skin.

Fractional - These laser types offer a pixelated kind of heat and light. Thus they don’t burn the entire skin area like the other types. Instead, they work like digital pixels and target specific skin sections, resulting in quicker recovery.

Ablative - Abrasive laser is more powerful than the other types. Laser resurfacing with these types removes the upper layer of the skin called the epidermis. Then some of the dermis also follow. The laser does this by vaporizing skin cells.

Apart from these, there are minor types such as light therapies, Picosecond, Q-switched, PicoSure, and pulsed dye. Irrespective of your expectations, you’ll need your dermatologist’s help to choose the right laser for your skin type. 

3.  Know The Limitations For Acne Treatment

Many perceive the laser as the perfect solution for acne. Use a beam of light, and all your acne problems are over. But it’s more complicated than it sounds. Sure, lasers offer an answer for acne scars through resurfacing.

However, if you have active acne, it will take more than the regular laser resurfacing to bring an end to your problems. Per the American Academy of Dermatology recommendation, you’ll need to either choose blue or blue-red light treatment for your active acne. But if all you have are acne scars, an erbium laser will often offer the solution you need.

4.  Prepare The Right Questions For Your Consultation

Generally, you’ll need a longer recovery time and get better results from laser skin resurfacing, depending on your treatment’s aggressiveness. Less aggressive treatments have less downtime, but you’ll notice significantly smaller results.

Consequently, you’ll have to take more treatments to get the glass skin that you are after. For instance, if you’re someone with a busy schedule and only want to maintain your skin, IPL is a great option. Therefore, to get a complete skin transformation, this option won’t work. That’s why it’s crucial to outline the top concerns about your skin before meeting with your dermatologist.

5.  Dark Skin Tones Require Extra Caution

5 Things to Know Before Choosing Laser Resurfacing
Photo by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash

Different skin tones and colors react differently to lasers. In dermatology, the Fitzpatrick scale helps professionals estimate how the various skin types will respond to ultraviolet light. According to the scale, skin tones have six different categories. The scale starts at 1, the lightest, and 6 having the highest level of melanin.

During the laser resurfacing process, hyperpigmentation is of significant concern. Therefore, people with more pigment in their skins can experience blotchiness, brown spots, or darkened skin as side effects. Thus you want to opt for a dermatologist with experience performing laser resurfacing on dark skin to avoid any risk of discoloration.


On top of these five things you need to keep in mind, it’s vital to remember that laser resurfacing isn’t a one-touch solution. You’ll need to maintain your results at home through topical regimes to ensure optimal results. Some effective home regimes include vitamin C serum, retinoids, and sunscreen. Also, you’ll need to stop or at least avoid patterns that damage your skin. Finally, always remember to speak to your skin expert about any challenges you encounter before and after the procedure.

Header Image by Diamantino Santos from Pixabay



Rebecca Smith is a writer for numerous health and fitness publications. She has been working with many challenged clients for some time now. She can be reached via email at .

This article was submitted exclusively to by Rebecca Smith 

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