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Skin resurfacing is used to treat broad areas of the face and neck to improve the overall texture, coloration and wrinkles of the skin, associated with aging and sun damage. Wrinkles and creases in the skin develop as small grooves or cracks in the skin. Analogous to “peaks and valleys”, these techniques wipe off the top of the “peaks” making the “valleys” seem shallower, giving the skin an overall smoother and more youthful appearance.
Commonly used techniques for skin resurfacing are chemical peels, laser resurfacing and dermabrasion. Chemical peels include TCA, phenol and retinol peels and frequently used lasers include carbon dioxide and erbium lasers. The techniques all use different mechanisms to take off a very thin layer of the outer layer of the epidermis and dermis. Some treatments can also offer a small degree of skin tightening as well. These treatments target wrinkle prone areas from smoking and sun-damage such as the vertical lines around the lips, as well as large broad areas such as the cheeks. In some cases, these procedures can be performed under a local anesthetic block in the office, but some patients may require anesthesia in an operating room setting. Skin resurfacing may be performed as stand-alone procedures; however, they are frequently combined with other surgical procedures such as a facelift and browlift. Even after reshaping and lifting the face, the skin needs to be rejuvenated as well, and these procedures are a very successful treatment.
Patients are treated with antibiotic ointment mixed with numbing medication to keep their skin moist and comfortable during the healing process. There are about five to seven days of downtime associated with the “re-epithelialzation” process. After the procedure, the skin is like that of a bad sunburn, where the outer layer of skin (epidermis) has blistered and sloughed off, revealing the deeper dermis below. For the first few days, the skin will be “raw” until the body regenerates a new epidermis layer. After this is completed, there is some faint redness that can persist for one to three weeks depending on the treatment, but makeup can usually be worn after a week.
Call us for an appointment to discuss how skin resurfacing can give you a smoother and more youthful appearance.