I have bad sun damage on my skin.

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Question: I am from California and have spent years sunbathing as a result I have bad sun damage on my skin. How will a laser peel repair the damage? Will my skin be more sensitive to the sun after the procedure?

Answer: A laser peel cannot really repair sun damage but what it does is vaporize the damaged skin and allow less damaged deeper skin to heal in its place.  This essentially gets rid of the visible changed that occur with sun damage, but there has been no good consistent proof that the laser peel actually rids the skin of the damaging effects of the sun.  In other words, you may still have a risk of future skin cancers despite having had a laser skin resurfacing.  Ultimately, the laser resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure to make the skin look fresher and this it accomplishes extremely well, but I still tell patients to be very careful with the sun no matter how light or deep we go with the laser skin resurfacing simply because we do not want to continue to damage the skin.  The skin will be more sensitive to the effects of the sun in the first 6 months after the laser peel, but I highly recommend that my patients have life style change so that the effects of the sun will not ultimately damage their freshly lasered skin and return them back to the state that they wanted changed in the first place.  This does not mean that they cannot continue to partake in outdoor activities; it simply means that they must be very diligent with sun protection when they are outdoors.

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