Can Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing Cause New Wrinkles?

i see new wrinkles under my eye. i'm on day 4. from sunday i saw new vertical/diagonal wrinkles under my eyes that i didn't have. i had almost no wrinkles around the eyes, only on forehead and above lips. now eyes look worse. i called the doctor, but she says it's the dry skin that gives that effect. i'm doubtful. it looks like it's staying. of course she's going to say that it's not a problem to try to convince me that all is normal. is it normal for laser treatments and laser resurfacing to cause new wrinkles?

Doctor Answers 19

Fractional Laser - Wrinkles

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Depending on what type of fractional laser was performed, you will likely have a lot of swelling 4 days after the procedure.  Swelling can make thin skin such as that of the eyelids have deep appearing folds. This is not permanent and resolves as the swelling comes down.  Be patient with any laser procedure before evaluating the final results. Remember, sometimes the swelling looks quite good, eliminating many wrinkles. So bottom line is you must wait months before evaluating the final results from a fractional CO2 laser procedure.

Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Fractional laser skin resurfacing usually does not cause new wrinkles

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It is very unlikely that fractional lasers will cause new wrinkles especially so early in your healing phase.  Usually you are swollen the first week and it actually "masks" existing wrinkles. The key now is to promote healing by topical moisturization/lubrication.  Usually 2-4 weeks after the laser, the face appears shiny because it's more even and it reflects the light better like a mirror, provided that the redness has faded almost completely.

Johnny Mao, MD, FACS
Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Fractional laser skin resurfacing and wrinkles

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Fraxel Laser removes wrinkles in a very safe, effective, and elegant manner.  If you seeing new wrinkles it sounds like you are just getting some dryness which appears as wrinkles from the procedure.  Use a lot of Epiceram and the dryness should dissipate in a week to 10 days.  It sounds like you actually had an expected side effect and I hope your outcome is good.

Healing Phase of Fractional Laser Can Cause Temporary "dryness" wrinkling

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You can relax. Fractional laser won't give you new wrinkles. We all see more wrinkles with dry skin and any laser treatment uses high heat which tends to dry out the skin for a short time. Your  body will equalize the cell hydration shortly.

In the meantime, using a simple moisture cream will help - either one provided by your physician or approved -  something without fragrance or any irritating ingredients. Many physicians suggest aquaphor - but get your own doctor's advice.

Fractional CO2 laser takes longer to heal than the non CO2 lasers. But within a week with the erbium fractional lasers most everyone feels their skin is normally hydrated.

(Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine to help restore that hydration you're missing!)


Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Fractional laser Resurfacing

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The short answer to your question is no; fractionated laser resurfacing will not cause new skin wrinkles.  Adding to the preponderance of thought on this post, 4 days is far too early to judge your results.  The concept of skin resurfacing is that some form of injury must be created within the skin in order to allow for collagen remodeling and wrinkle reduction.  In the past, this was done with fully ablative techniques.  What we have discovered is that treating a fraction of the skin at one time (hence fractionated laser resurfacing) can be as efficacious.  However, since there is no procedure that produces significant results without some downtime (exception: Botox), expect to have some redness and irritation for a period of time. Likewise, expect your full result to evolve of 6 months to a year.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Laser resurfacing and new wrinkles

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It is only 4 days after your resurfacing and what I suspect is that you may be seeing irritation from the skin at the lids area and you are confusing them with wrinkles. Anyway, 4 days is a very short time to try to judge the result from resurfacing. You need at least 6 months to be able to appreciate the improvement that resurfacing will give you.

Gustavo A. Diaz, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fractional Laser new wrinkles

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After having fractional laser there is some swelling for up to a week or so depending on the type of fractional laser used.  Swelling around the eyes can make lines appear deeper and is not something to worry about.  Laser will rejuvenate the skin and reduce lines as the collagen increases, it does take many months before you see the full results.   

Hope this was helpful


Dr Colin Campey, Brisbane Australia

Can Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing Cause New Wrinkles?

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This is a very common question, and we do hear this from time to time. Fractional lasers will improve the skin and they will reverse the clock in terms of skin for many people. But they are not permanent fixes, and we are learning that in many, we have seen really nice results at 2 and 3 years following the procedures. A recent report from China has shown that some patients are maintaining their results 5 years after the procedure which is very impressive. After the procedure, good skin care and sun protection is required and this needs to continue forever. And eventually, another fractional laser treatment may be needed, and this will be determined by you and your provider.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

New Wrinkles Unlikely After Laser Resurfacing

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It is highly unlikely that any type of laser resurfacing procedure will create new wrinkles. These may be due to dryness (and if so, moisturize) or some kind of swelling after the procedure. As Dr. Kulick points out, don't evaluate your results so early, wait for the procedure to heal before you evalute your results.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Laser resurfacing does not cause wrinkles

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This is likely post treatment changes that are temporary in nature until the skin has fully healed. Let mother nature kick in and see what everything looks like after you have healed.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.