Following almost any surgical treatment or invasive anti-aging procedure, patients do not immediately see the results of the treatment.
This can be a frustrating experience, as right after the procedure, the treated area often looks worse than it did before, making the recovery process all the more difficult for patients.
However, proper care during the recovery period can greatly improve the patient’s prospects for a good outcome. Laser treatments, a popular option for those looking for all-over facial skin rejuvenation, are a highly effective procedures, but they do require downtime.
Here we will take a look at the classic carbon dioxide laser resurfacing treatment’s recovery process, and how you can set yourself up for success following your procedure.
How CO2 Laser Resurfacing Works
Carbon dioxide lasers offer excellent results to patients who want to reduce wrinkling and improve overall skin quality, tone, and color. Laser resurfacing can also improve acne scarring. While the results of laser resurfacing are different and less dramatic than a face lift, CO2 resurfacing is a great way to "reset" the face and improve the look of the facial skin to create a younger, fresher appearance.
Deep CO2 laser treatments often must be performed under general anesthetic, as the laser deeply heats layers of skin, encouraging cell turnover and collagen production (which can continue for up to 6 months following treatment).
The real results occur after the healing process, as the old skin must peel off and be replaced by new, healthy skin. Continuing collagen production helps tighten the skin. The initial recovery period following laser treatments lasts about 10-14 days, in most cases. This period varies depending on the type of laser used and the depth of the treatment.
The Recovery Period
Following the procedure, your skin will feel like it has been badly sunburned, and will be very pink. The skin may also ooze at times. You will need to keep the treated area covered with a special ointment for about the first week following treatment, to help protect the new skin coming in.
You can expect some swelling and pinkness for several weeks, but this fades over time. Itchy skin is very common, but it is imperative that patients do not scratch, as the skin is very sensitive during this time. As the skin dries, it will begin to peel off, allowing the new layer of skin to emerge.
Many patients can return to work after about 10 days, and mineral makeup can usually be used after 8-9 days. Full results will take over a month to surface, as the collagen production process is not immediate. Diligent care and patience will typically yield good results.
Preparing your home for recovery before you head to the clinic or hospital is highly advisable. Following the surgery, you will not want to have to think about setting up a comfortable, relaxing area or purchasing healthy food to have on hand. If possible, having help from a loved one or friend is beneficial following a deep laser peel. At minimum, you will need to have someone drive you home from your appointment.
Maximizing Your Results
Besides choosing a skilled plastic surgeon to perform your treatment and following pre-operative procedures closely, the best way to help foster a good outcome is to take care of your skin properly and obey your doctor’s advice and guidelines for postoperative care.
You certainly do not want to risk a poor result by ignoring recommendations or jumping into normal activities too soon. Here are some ways to help maximize your results following laser resurfacing:
- Keep your skin protected with prescribed ointment
- Avoid touching your face
- Wear cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching
- Sleep with your head elevated
- Clean the treated area gently, as per your doctor’s guidelines
- Eat a healthy diet, avoiding junk food
- Avoid alcohol and absolutely do not smoke
- Do not allow sun exposure to treated skin
Are You a Candidate?
If you are considering laser treatments or other anti-aging procedures, then it is time to schedule your consultations with expert facial plastic surgeons to explore your options.
If you are looking for advice from an experienced laser specialist, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery & Laser Center in Worcester(508-363-6500) and Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA to speak with Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover is highly skilled at providing laser treatments, which he has been performing for nearly 20 years.
Dr. Bentkover also offers a range of other anti-aging treatments, appropriate for many different patients. To explore your facial rejuvenation options, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery today to schedule your consultation.