Glowing skin with laser skin resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing can include one laser or a combination of different laser treatments -- a plan personalized to meet your exact skincare needs. This treatment is recommended for men and women who would like to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduce age spots, improve their skin tone or complexion and treat skin damage like scarring or sun damage.

Other cases that would benefit from full-field erbium peels include:

  • Actinic cheilitis
  • Precancerous skin conditions like multiple actinic keratoses
  • Non-pigmented moles or other benign raised skin lesions
  • Acne scars, traumatic scars, surgical scars, burn scars, and chickenpox scars

Your skin is unique and the care team at Quintessa can help you find the confidence you are looking for when your skin is smooth and radiant. The experts at Quintessa have been serving the Wisconsin’s greater Milwaukee and Madison areas since erbium laser, BBL, YAG, and Halo lasers have been introduced and Dr. Andrew Campbell has also authored papers and presented research on the topic.

Plan your procedure

Type of Procedure Nonsurgical
Recover Time 7-10 days
Procedure Time ½ hour to 2 hours, depending on areas treated
Recovery Information Out-patient

Enjoy Complimentary BBL Laser Treatment with Any Surgical Procedure!

Laser Skin Resurfacing Before and After

Laser Skin Resurfacing at Quintessa

The Quintessa team uses many different lasers, including an erbium laser, BBL, YAG, and Halo laser. Each approach has different indications and benefits, and they can be used independently or together depending on your concerns and the care team’s recommendations. If you have any questions about laser treatments or want to schedule your consultation, please call us today.

Why use laser skin resurfacing treatments?

  • Long-pulsed erbium lasers are the most efficient lasers for the ablation of skin and they can create very significant skin rejuvenation and wrinkle reduction without many of the downsides and inconveniences of the more traditional CO2 lasers.
  • Laser skin resurfacing can decrease the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin tone and complexion, and treat scars and sun damage.

What results can I expect after Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing treatments are recommended for men and women who would like to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduce age spots, improve their skin tone or complexion and treat skin damage like scarring or sun damage.

Other cases that would benefit from full-field erbium peels include:

  • Actinic cheilitis
  • Precancerous skin conditions like multiple actinic keratoses
  • Non-pigmented moles or other benign raised skin lesions
  • Acne scars, traumatic scars, surgical scars, burn scars, and chickenpox scars

How many treatments do I need before I see results?

Deep Erbium Laser Resurfacing typically only requires a single treatment. You'll notice a difference in your skin quality and appearance as soon as the skin begins to heal, then more dramatic changes as the skin returns to normal.

The results you are looking for will determine how many treatments may be necessary. If you are looking to improve the appearance of your skin, and prefer a more aggressive approach, one full-field treatment will be sufficient. If you have more specific problem areas with deeper scarring or prefer to vary the strengths of your treatments, your care team will recommend fractioned modalities performed in a series of 2-3 treatments.

Either way, the effects of laser skin resurfacing can last for years.

What should I do before my laser skin treatment?

You can prepare for laser skin resurfacing by doing the following:

  • Avoid sun damage—sun damage that occurred even a few months before the procedure can lead to long term pigmentation problems
  • Stop smoking for several weeks leading up to your appointment (and after) to avoid complications
  • If you have a history of cold sores, expect your care team to prepare an antiviral prescription
  • Your face should be cleaned (using a gentle but effective cleanser) and patted dry

What can I expect during my laser skin resurfacing appointment?

Laser skin resurfacing treatments are outpatient procedures, but you may need a ride home following the appointment. This is especially true if you took any anti-anxiety medication or were sedated.

You and your physician will decide how to best anesthetize before your appointment. In general:

  • For shallow or small surface areas, your aesthetic team may apply numbing cream
  • For more significant treatments, local anesthesia including nerve blocks and subcutaneous anesthetic may be administered
  • If you are undergoing a deep erbium laser resurfacing treatment, general anesthesia may be administered

During the appointment, a handheld laser is directed at your skin. The erbium laser is incredibly precise but also has the power to ablate large surface areas. Compared to older CO2 lasers, Quintessa’s erbium laser leaves very little thermally damaged or necrotic tissue behind. This gives an advantage to the erbium laser in that it can vaporize a very small amount of superficial skin, essentially allowing it to just treat the superficial epidermis, minimizing any risk and recovery. By using a higher fluence, and longer pulse width, it can also be used to efficiently vaporize through the epidermis, all the way into the deep reticular dermis, to create a tremendous amount of wrinkle reduction and skin tightening, all while minimizing the side effects and risk of complications.

What Can I Expect After My Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment?

Due to the fact that the epidermis is removed, dermabrasion, phenol-based chemical peels and deep ablative laser skin resurfacing treatments all create an injury that requires “resurfacing” by the epidermal cells.

This migration of the epidermal cells across what is left of the dermis typically takes 10-14 days. The appearance of your skin will be very disconcerting at this time, but it is completely normal as your skin sheds and heals. There is a significant amount of discharge from the skin at this time, in addition to other surface changes that are expected with injured skin (inflammation, fibrinous exudate, mucous-type covering, crusting, peeling). You will feel a heat sensation for 30-45 minutes following the laser skin resurfacing treatment. A special cooling unit will be used to relieve any discomfort. If you had the treatment using local anesthetic, you really don’t feel much at all after the treatment, and once the anesthetic wears off, the heat sensation has already subsided. Your care team will also apply a nourishing serum and a thin layer of occlusive balm.

What post-care instructions should I follow after laser skin Resurfacing?

Expect regular check-in appointments with your care team, beginning the day after your procedure and frequently thereafter depending on how deep your treatment was. After one to three days, you can expect some swelling (edema, usually in the lips).

You should never pick any crusts. This is the single most important piece of instruction to follow. The occlusive balm will help prevent crusting and minimize dehydration. You’ll also be taught how to use a vinegar soak to rejuvenate healing skin and relieve the itching.

You can stop using the balm once the epidermis resurfaces the skin and you no longer have any weeping, crusting, or open wounds. A moisturizer, mineral makeup, and mineral sunblock can be applied at this time.

Routine skincare can be reimplemented 2-4 weeks after the peel, however, retinoids should be approached with care. The skin will be sensitive and dry very easily for a few months, even without the retinoid use, so a strong moisturizer is also recommended.

Additional check-ins appointments will be scheduled, usually at two months and six months, to assure you’ve received the best results.

As always, do your best to keep your skin protected from the sun.

How long after laser skin resurfacing can men start shaving again?

Many men consider laser skin resurfacing to smooth and revitalize the skin or even the skin tone. We recommend that men do not shave their beards for the full week that it takes to heal from a deep laser resurfacing. It you have a more superficial laser resurfacing this could be as little as 2 days, but I would highly recommend that you wait until complete re-epithelialization or complete healing has occurred before you then shave over that area. Some men feel that an electric shaver is easier on the skin in the first few weeks after a laser peel, while others do not seem to have much of a problem going back to a regular razor.

Is laser skin resurfacing right for you?

If you are looking to dramatically improve the texture and appearance of your skin, with lasting results, you may find laser skin resurfacing beneficial. Laser skin resurfacing isn't for everyone, however, and you should discuss the procedure with your doctor if:

  • You have taken powerful acne medication (Accutane) in the past year or so
  • You have had radiation therapy to the proposed treatment area
  • You have an autoimmune disease
  • You are prone to cold sores or have had a recent outbreak of cold sores
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have any medical conditions that affect how your skin heals and forms scars

Remember, there are degrees to which the laser can be customized or combined with other treatments, so a personal consultation is best to determine what is right for you. If you have any questions about laser treatments or want to schedule your consultation, please call us today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Skin Resurfacing

Does laser resurfacing work for acne scars?

One downside of acne, whether you had it as a teenager or are still dealing with it as an adult, is that it can leave behind scars. Fortunately, a number of treatments can effectively remove or minimize acne scars.

Laser skin resurfacing is one option for the removal of scars. Several types of laser treatments exist. The type used at Quintessa Medical Spa is the Erbium laser, which is more effective than other laser options while causing less redness and scarring.

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion can also be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Microdermabrasion involves exfoliating the skin using a diamond-tipped tool. The dead skin cells are then vacuumed away. The treatment is ideal for minor acne scars. It can also help if you have oily skin and if you are dealing with whiteheads and blackheads at the moment.

Dr. Andrew Campbell and the staff at Quintessa Medical Spa can help you deal with your acne, whether you are in the midst of an active breakout, want a better skin-cleansing routine, or are hoping to have scars removed.

Does laser resurfacing work for crow's feet?

Laser resurfacing can definitely be quite effective at treating crow’s feet, but we have found that in most cases the crow’s feet try to recur to some degree after the healing process has occurred. That is why in many of our patients, we will go ahead and treat the crow’s feet with Botox before and after their laser resurfacing so that the skin will heal as wrinkle-free as possible. Then, we usually recommend that patients consider continued Botox in the future so that they can minimize any recurrence of the wrinkling in that area, but the laser resurfacing itself is quite effective at getting rid of deep lines and wrinkles in the crow’s feet area.

Laser Skin FAQ's

How do I maintain my best skin after a laser treatment?

You will love your fresh, post-laser skin and there are things you can do to protect your skin while it is healing and maintain your glow after treatment. Learn more on our blog Laser Skin Resurfacing Aftercare: A Definitive Guide.

Ready to schedule your laser skin rejuvenation?