Acne Laser Treatment Recovery
Acne laser treatment, or laser resurfacing, can be used to treat minor facial imperfections, such as mild acne scarring. It is usually done in the doctor's office with a local anesthesia, and can take from a few minutes to an hour to be performed. While risks and recuperation times are discussed below, it is important to discuss all of the risks and benefits with your doctor.
About Laser Treatment
The surgeon uses a laser beam to remove the outer layer of skin, while concurrently heating the underlying layer. This accelerates the growth of new skin, which is smoother and firmer. The surgeon often prefers to use the minimum laser intensity, but this low intensity laser requires repeated treatments to achieve the desired results. Before your procedure, your face will be cleaned thoroughly, you may be given eye protection and your hair might be covered.
What to Expect After Laser Treatment
After laser treatment, you will feel like you have a mild sunburn. There will probably be some redness and swelling, and your skin may itch or sting for several days. Some people may experience a more severe sunburn look, and have oozing and blistering. The oozing can form crusts on your skin, but don't pick at the crusts as this can cause scarring. Your skin may stay red or pink for several weeks to several months following treatment.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery states that it is important to follow all post-op instructions, especially regarding the use of sunscreen and staying out of the sun. Your doctor will give specific instructions for your care, which can include cleansing the area with saline or a diluted vinegar solution several times a day, applying moisturizer and using sunscreen. If you were using retinoids or glycolic acid products before treatment, you should be able to resume usage after about six weeks.
During the recovery process, you should remain at home and limit your activity level. Recuperation can take from several days to two weeks. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has several recommendations to ease in your recovery: Use an extra pillow at night to keep your head elevated; use an ice pack to ease in the pain and swelling for the first two days; don't smoke, as this will slow the healing process. Acetaminophen can be used, as instructed by your doctor, to relieve some of your discomfort.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgery or procedure, the possibility of complications exist. Laser skin resurfacing complications include bacterial infection, acne flare-ups, scarring and swelling. There is also the risk of milia, which are small white bumps; hyperpigmentation, which is a darkening of the skin following laser treatment; and
herpes virus infection, which is the virus that causes cold sores. All of these complications are treatable.
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