Question: I went in for a laser peel consultation last week, and I was informed that I was ineligible for the treatment due to the fact that I smoke. Since the damage to my skin is due to smoking and that is what I wanted to fix, why does the fact that I smoke disqualify me for a laser peel?
Answer: I personally do not feel that smoking disqualifies you from a laser peel but I do discuss with my smoking patients that they may prolong the recovery period due to their smoking as this tends to slow the healing process. Certain styles of facelift procedures are certainly contraindicated in smokers but laser resurfacing, again in my opinion, really is not contraindicated in smokers. Obviously, I recommend that smokers discontinue their smoking habit due to the fact that we are indeed treating their skin for abnormalities that have occurred mainly due to their smoking and, if they continue to smoke after the laser peel, these abnormalities will obviously return in time. It is very similar to the patients who have overexposed their skin to the sun and desire correction through laser treatments and yet plan on continuing to go out and have significant sun exposure or, even worse, continued regular use of a tanning bed. This seems a bit strange that patients would like correction of a skin abnormality that is due to an activity that they then refuse to give up, even though they know it is causing the skin abnormalities that they obviously want to avoid.