Laser resurfacing is a non-surgical cosmetic treatment that smooths lines and wrinkles and evens out discoloration from acne scars and sun-damaged skin. At City Facial Plastics in Midtown, Manhattan we offer laser skin resurfacing that helps improve the appearance of the skin and work as an anti-aging treatment. The best-in-class plastic surgeon in New York City Dr. Gary Linkov performs laser resurfacing alone or with other facial enhancements such as facelifts, eyelid surgery, nose surgery, and facial implants.
What Is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Introduced in the 1990s, laser skin resurfacing has since advanced to offer patients efficacious treatment with quicker healing time and minimal risk. Unlike devices that rely on a broad spectrum of light, such as IPL, lasers are emitted as a single wavelength. A particular laser wavelength is selected to be absorbed sufficiently by a specific tissue component (chromophore).
In skin, the three main chromophores are water, hemoglobin, and melanin. For example, the primary chromophore for the CO2 lasers and Er:YAG lasers is water, which is fitting since 90% of the epidermis is water. The laser energy is able to remove the outer layers of skin which allows the body to rebuild the tissue in a tighter, smoother, more uniform way. Laser skin resurfacing for acne scars minimizes the appearance of scars from old acne outbreaks.
The skin goes through many changes due to external factors, such as sun exposure, and many internal medical conditions that manifest on the skin. Routine skin care regimens are essential for proper upkeep, but once the skin has already gone through a transformation of color, texture, or elasticity, it often requires additional modalities beyond skin creams to obtain a desired appearance.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing?
A good candidate for laser skin resurfacing in UES, Manhattan has the following characteristics, including:
- Lighter skin complexion (complications increase with darker skin types)
- Pigmentation changes
- Rhytids (wrinkles) on the forehead, around the eyes or mouth
- Scars (superficial)
- Acne scars
- Dilated pores
What Are the Types of Lasers Used for Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Lasers are classified as ablative, non-ablative, and fractional. The amount of energy that a laser delivers to the tissue and the time over which it is delivered determines the amount of tissue vaporized.
Ablative laser skin resurfacing
- Light energy from the laser is absorbed by intracellular and extracellular water, resulting in skin vaporization. As the epidermis is ablated and temperatures rise, collagen denaturation occurs. This is followed by neocollagenesis and skin re-epithelialization and skin tightening.
- Advantages: Dramatic results
- Disadvantages: Higher risks of side effects, prolonged recovery
- Examples: CO2, Er:YAG
Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing
- Designed to create selective thermal injury to the underlying dermis and deeper tissues while minimizing the effect on the epidermis (outer skin layer).
- Advantages: Minimal downtime
- Disadvantages: Numerous treatments required
- Examples: 532 nm laser, the 585 nm pulsed dye laser, 1,064 nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, Fraxel
Fractional laser skin resurfacing
- Fractional lasers create non-contiguous spaced columns of thermal injury. These columns are separated by non-lasered tissues.
- Advantages: Improved side effect profile, quicker recovery
- There are fractional versions of ablative and non-ablative laser skin resurfacing, such as the Cool laser skin resurfacing
- Dr. Linkov, as the best-in-class plastic surgeon in Manhattan, NYC prefers the fractional ablative CO2 laser by Lumenis, as it can be modulated for low intensity to high-intensity treatments.
How Is Laser Skin Resurfacing in Manhattan, NY Done?
The basic steps of laser skin resurfacing NYC include:
- Preoperative care – Antiviral therapy is used before and after treatment to prevent a herpetic outbreak.
- Anesthesia – Depending on the type of the procedure an appropriate degree of anesthesia is applied. Options are topical, local, oral, IV, or a combination. Does laser skin resurfacing hurt? It does not hurt if the appropriate anesthesia measures are taken to provide comfort during the procedure.
- Skin marking – If needed, aesthetic subunits can be marked. Additionally, the transition point from the cheek to the upper neck skin is marked as the neck is not typically treated due to increased scarring risk.
- Laser skin application – The laser is applied to the face for skin resurfacing. The number of passes, energy level and spot size will depend on many factors.
- Post-treatment – The treated skin is either covered or left open and an occlusive ointment applied.
What Is Collagen-Inducing Laser Skin Therapy?
One of the reasons laser skin resurfacing is so effective at treating aging issues is that it can help increase collagen levels. As you get older, your collagen levels decrease, and skin loses volume and elasticity. Laser therapy damages the old skin cells, helping to remove them and reveal new skin cells. As a response to the skin “injury,” more collagen is produced to heal the damage. This helps smooth lines and wrinkles. Laser skin resurfacing for wrinkles improves the overall youthfulness of the skin.
What Is the Recovery From Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Re-epithelialization is expected to occur within about 7 days. During this time, the treated areas should be cleaned with a vinegar mixture several times a day. The post-re-epithelialization redness from laser facial resurfacing can be covered up with make-up (green or yellow-based foundation). Sun exposure should be avoided for 2-3 months, until all the redness subsides, to prevent hyperpigmentation. Avoid antibiotic ointments if possible to prevent contact dermatitis.
Are Laser Skin Resurfacing Results Permanent?
No laser skin rejuvenation result is permanent, but it can significantly improve your appearance for a long period of time. In general, the deeper the treatment the longer the result will last. The aging process will continue after treatment, creating more wrinkles and sun damage changes. Avoiding direct sun exposure and taking excellent care of your skin will allow you to enjoy the benefits of laser skin resurfacing.
What Are the Risks and Complications of Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There are risks to laser skin resurfacing which include:
- Allergic reaction
- Prolonged redness
- Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Corneal injury
The eyes need to be carefully protected during laser skin resurfacing to avoid direct contact and injury.
What Are the Contraindications for Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There are a few contraindications for laser skin resurfacing, mainly processes that impair the rate of re-epithelialization, which include:
- Connective tissue disorders
- Immune compromise
- Isotretinoin in the past 6-12 months
- Active infection or inflammation
- History of head and neck radiation (relative contraindication)
- Darker skin pigmentation – Fitzpatrick IV to VI (relative contraindication)
- History of keloid formation (relative contraindication)
What Are the Alternatives to Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There are a few other options for skin resurfacing, including:
- Dermabrasion – Useful as a focal treatment for raised areas or irregular borders
- Chemical peel – A more affordable modality for skin resurfacing with less precision control
Are Patients Satisfied After Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Patient satisfaction is high with laser skin resurfacing if the type of laser and patient are correctly selected, as there are many benefits of this procedure. The best treatment for you will depend on your skin complexion, the tolerance for downtime and potential complications, and the expectation for results. A person who expects dramatic results will need to anticipate a longer recovery.
Who Performs Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There are several types of providers that perform laser skin resurfacing, with the more intensive lasers reserved for only certain medical specialists. While you may be able to obtain a non-ablative treatment at a medical spa, an ablative fractional CO2 treatment is usually only performed in a doctor’s office by a physician, such as the best-ranked plastic surgeon in NYC Dr. Linkov, with the appropriate training and experience.
What Is the Cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing cost ranges between $1000-$5000 per treatment. Packages may be offered for non-ablative lasers as numerous treatments are often recommended. The cost of the procedure depends on the experience of the provider, size of the treatment area, the type of laser, and location of services.
Who Is the Best Laser Skin Resurfacing Expert in NYC?
Dr. Gary Linkov is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Manhattan’s Upper East Side specializing in non-surgical and surgical facial aesthetics, including ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing. A top-rated plastic surgeon in New York, Dr. Linkov delivers safe, consistent, and natural results to each one of his facial rejuvenation patients. He is able to devise a treatment plan that addresses all layers of the face for an optimal outcome.
If you have blemishes, pigmentation changes or signs of aging on your facial skin, laser therapy may be the right option for you. Contact City Facial Plastics and schedule a laser skin resurfacing consultation with a leading plastic surgeon in New York, Dr. Gary Linkov.