Laser Skin Resurfacing in Marin County

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About Laser Skin Resurfacing

The natural aging process of the skin is something that most of us try to avoid. At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera, our skin resurfacing treatment is great for anyone who wants to look younger without the hassle or significant downtime of surgery. Tracy Evans, M.D. uses the advanced Fraxel and ResurFX fractional resurfacing systems, or a combination of the two, to eliminate dead and damaged skin cells. This noninvasive aesthetic treatment utilizes pulsating beams of energy to improve wrinkles, diminish acne and surgical scars, eliminate pigmentation, shrink pores, and remove precancerous lesions. The laser energy works with your body's natural cell cycle and stimulates collagen below the skin’s surface.

Though skin resurfacing procedures are sometimes called laser "peels," not all lasers are ablative so they don't actually remove any skin. Your resurfacing treatment at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology may be ablative or non-ablative, depending on your goals. Laser skin resurfacing at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology is a highly customizable treatment with little downtime compared to other laser resurfacing procedures. If you are interested in a laser peel, schedule your consultation with Dr. Tracy Evans today.

Types of Laser Treatments

Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera offers three kinds of laser skin resurfacing procedures. Dr. Evans can help you decide which treatment would give you the best results based on her examination of your skin. Some treatments are mild while others are more intensive.

  • Ablative Laser Treatments
    Ablative lasers work by vaporizing the surface layer of skin, similar to dermabrasion or a deep chemical peel. They allow a high level of practitioner control that reduces damage to the skin. Ablative lasers are ideal for firming the skin, as well as treating acne scars and wrinkles.
  • Non-Ablative Laser Treatments
    Non-ablative laser treatments don't vaporize or remove the skin. They introduce hundreds of micro-injuries beneath the skin to encourage healing and cell turnover. Non-ablative facials are great for addressing wrinkles and fine lines on those who are willing to wait 2 – 3 months to see strong results.
  • Fractional Laser Treatments
    Fractional laser treatments can reach different layers of the skin simultaneously and can be both non-ablative and ablative. The body's self-healing process leads to tighter, firmer, and healthier skin. Fractional laser treatments can also be performed to treat fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, and pigmentation issues.

Ideal Candidates

You have multiple factors to think about when selecting which laser peel procedure is best for your needs. Laser skin resurfacing is designed for people who are unsatisfied with their skin's general appearance. If you are bothered by your age spots, acne scars, wrinkles and fine lines, sun damage, pigmentation, or redness, a laser peel procedure may be helpful to improve these complexion issues. Also, a laser peel is wonderful for those who have rough texture, scaly patches, or other skin surface problems.

A laser peel isn't suggested for anyone who has very dark skin tones or active acne outbreaks. If you are interested in a resurfacing treatment but have darker skin or acne, talk to Dr. Evans about your other options. Additionally, you should not schedule an intensive laser resurfacing treatment if you do not have at least 2 – 3 weeks available for recovery.

Procedure Technique

At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology, we often recommend that our patients who wish to undergo deeper laser peel treatments use a retinoid product for about three weeks before their procedure. Retinoids can help prepare your skin for better results. 

When you arrive at our Corte Madera, CA office for your treatment, we will apply a topical numbing cream to your skin to maximize your comfort. Once you are numbed, Dr. Evans will begin the treatment. She will glide the handpiece smoothly over the surface of your skin so the laser can effectively reach the target areas. Most patients do not report any significant discomfort during the procedure, but you will be able to feel the heat of the laser, as well as cold air from its automatic cooling system. Your treatment may last from 10 – 40 minutes, depending on the treatment size and aggressiveness.

What to Expect

The type and intensity of your laser resurfacing will play large parts in how you look and feel right afterward, as well as in your overall recovery period. After a less-aggressive, non-ablative procedure, you will have some mild redness, irritation, and swelling that typically abates in 2 – 3 days. Your skin will continue to heal and peel for about a week, but you can usually get back to your normal routine right away. With more intense procedures, such as with ablative lasers, your skin will be more sensitive and inflamed, and it will take a bit longer to subside. The overall healing process for intense laser peels can take up to three weeks. Our care team will carefully explain all of the best tips and recommended products so you can remain comfortable and heal up nicely.

The most important rules after a laser treatment are to avoid sun exposure and never, ever pick at your skin while it is flakey and peeling. Your full results should be visible in 2 – 3 months, though some patients see continued improvement for up to a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of a laser skin resurfacing treatment?
Your laser resurfacing cost will depend on the treatment you get. During your initial consultation, Dr. Evans will ask about your skin problems and aesthetic goals before reviewing the types of laser resurfacing available. She can then help you decide on your resurfacing method and talk to you about costs. Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera regularly offers skin treatment specials and packages so ask about current specials during your appointment.

Which type of laser resurfacing should I get?
Dr. Evans can help you choose which resurfacing option will best meet your concerns and goals in your initial evaluation. What treatment is best for you will depend on your age, skin health, the problems you want to address, and the skin depth you want your treatment to reach. The length of recovery time might also be an important consideration when you create a treatment plan. If you are unsure, it is better to select a milder treatment and then assess your outcomes and decide if you want something stronger for your second appointment.

What is the typical aftercare for laser skin resurfacing?
Following your treatment, Dr. Evans or a member of her healthcare team will sit down and discuss aftercare with you. The most crucial element of healing is to not peel or pick flaking skin. Doing this can create long-term damage, like scars. During your healing period, you also will not be able to wax, shave, or use depilatory creams on the treated skin. We will give you recommendations for soothing ointments or creams to calm any discomfort.

Are there any side effects?
Laser skin resurfacing does have some common side effects, but these are natural and will only last several days to a few weeks. Prolonged side effects are rare, but they can happen, including itching, swelling, acne flares, hyperpigmentation, lasting redness, scarring, and infection. Dr. Evans will talk to you about all of these issues and what may cause them during your consultation.

How often can I have laser resurfacing treatments?
You might need to wait several weeks or even a few months between treatments. Deep laser treatments will give you results that last a long time; however, they have longer downtimes. Lighter treatments could allow you to undergo your next treatment sooner, but you will still need to wait until you are fully healed. Even if your skin looks and feels completely healed, you might be too sensitive for more laser treatment. Dr. Evans will be able to examine your skin and let you know if you are ready for your next session.

A Softer, Clearer Complexion

Laser skin resurfacing is a very popular and effective treatment for men and women interested in rejuvenating their appearance without surgery. If you are showing mild to moderate signs of aging or have scarring, hyperpigmentation, or rough patches on your skin, laser skin resurfacing could be just what you are looking for. We encourage you to contact Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera to schedule an appointment with dermatologist Tracy Evans.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.