what should i expect after a laser skin resurfacing? how long is healing? are there tips for recovering from the laser treatment faster?
Laser Resurfacing Recovery - when Can I Go Back to Work?
Doctor Answers 18
Recovery Time for Laser Resurfacing
I hope you find this helpful. Good luck!
Laser Resurfacing Back to Work-Erbium 1 week-CO2 2 Weeks
Thank you for your question.
You will not want to go back to work after Ablative Laser Resurfacing until your skin has healed and the redness can be covered with makeup.
It depends on how aggressive and deep the Laser Resurfacing treatment has been done.
Generally speaking you will heal faster after Erbium Laser Resurfacing than with CO2 Laser Resurfacing.
New Combined Erbium laser Resurfacing patients usually heal within 5-7 days. CO2 takes longer.
Plan a week out of work for Erbium and two weeks after CO2
Recovery time from laser depends on specific treatment
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Recovery for fractional CO2 laser
Like many things in life, your return or results are directly proportional to your investment, or in this case downtime. More aggressive treatments will give you better results, but they will also come with more downtime.
That being said, you need to define what downtime means to you. The feeling of warmth, weeping, and peeling are usually done within a week with even the more aggressive settings, and it can decrease proportionally from there with less aggressive treatments.
Redness can persist well beyond the original week of downtime, and although persistent erythema has been considered a "complication" of ablative lasers like the CO2, it can easily be covered with make up or even just a lightly tinted sunscreen, which you should be wearing afterwards anyway.
Of note, the new fractionated technologies allow more aggressive settings with a decreased downtime than you would otherwise have to endure to achieve similar results.
Fractionation simply means that the laser treats small micro thermal zones covering varying densities depending on how your physician sets it instead of ablating the entire top surface of your skin. With just these micro thermal zones being ablated, the normal islands of skin in between allow a more rapid healing.
To discuss your needs and likely downtime, seek out a dermatologic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who is board certified and fellowship trained in one of these "core four" cosmetic specialties.
Recovery Time of Laser Resurfacing
Returning to work after laser resurfacing depends on the degree/intensity of the treatment performed. It depends on how deep the Laser Resurfacing treatment has been done. Ablative laser treatments require a week or more of downtime, but don't usually require more than 1 treatment. Non-ablative treatments have minimal to no downtime, but you need to return for multiple treatments. It's also very important to stay out of direct sunlight.
Depends on the Intensity
Ablative laser treatments require a week or more of downtime, but don't usually require more than 1 treatment. Non-ablative treatments have minimal to no downtime, but you need to return for multiple treatments. One of the reasons I typically use the Halo hybrid fractional laser at my practice is because its customizable technology doesn't require patients to choose between increased downtime or more treatments. With the Halo laser, the specialist can adjust the intensity and depth throughout the treatment. No matter which procedure type you choose, creams, lotions, and serums can help promote quicker healing. It's also very important to stay out of direct sunlight.
Laser Resurfacing Recovery - when Can I Go Back to Work?
After laser treatment the older skin will become dry and peel off, during this time there are steps that can be
taken to speed up the recovery:
- The type of laser and surgical technique, needs to be tailored to the individual the extent of the skin ageing, ethnicity and skin pigmentation. Generally fractionated CO2 lasers offer an effective skin rejuvenation while minimizing the potential side effects and offer a fast recovery. Modern day lasers offer faster recovery by treating only a proportion of the skin (termed fractionated), older lasers treated all of the skin surface (termed ablative lasers) were associated with higher risks and longer recovery.
- After laser treatment the skin tends to dry out, apply Vaseline or similar lubricating ointment regularly while the skin is crusting and peeling. Keeping the skin moist and regularly cleaned will help a speedy recovery.
- Wash your face regularly with a cetaphil skin soap (simple skin soap with few preservatives) to clean the skin from skin debris and body secretions. Cleansing gently with gauze sponges to clean the skin every 3-4 hours is recommended.
Depending on the type of laser resurfacing the downtime can vary, most patients are able to return to work with in 7-10 days.
When can I go back to work after laser resurfacing?
Thank you for the important question. Returning to work after laser resurfacing depends on the degree/intensity of the treatment performed. For Fractional CO2 resurfacing, most people can be out in public in about 1 week. Working from home is a great option during this time, if need be. Attention to pre- and post-treatment care, including application of hydrating creams and gentle cleaning will maximize both results and recovery. Best of luck!
Laser resurfacing and returning to work
I usually tell patients to plan on about a week off before returning to work after a fractionated laser treatment. I use fairly aggressive setings. A nice thing about fractionated lasers, is that you can power down and get the patient back to work sooner, although the end result may not be as good as higher settings/more downtime.
You can expect to be red and swollen for the first few days. A checkerboard pattern may appear and peeling usually starts on the 3rd day. It is very important not to pick at this stage. Your skin may still be pink, but make up can usually be worn at 1 week, upon return to work.
You should certainly follow your doctors skin care program: antibiotics, antivirals, moisturizers. With good care, I still think it take a week to heal. Lana Long, M.D.
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.