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How Laser Resurfacing Can Help Your Skin

Sometimes described as ‘scalpels of light,’ lasers are used alone or with conventional surgical instruments in a diverse array of procedures that improve appearance, relieve pain, restore function and even save lives.

Wrinkles and scars are not all bad, but some people prefer not to display these imperfections and other blemishes like warts, acne scars, errant blood vessels and pronounced veins. Laser resurfacing can diminish all of these flaws to give your skin a smoother look.

“Sometimes described as ‘scalpels of light,’ lasers are used alone or with conventional surgical instruments in a diverse array of procedures that improve appearance, relieve pain, restore function, save lives,” according to Gardens Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center.

Lessening wrinkles

Laser resurfacing works by vaporizing water molecules in your skin cells, which then produce collagen to fill in wrinkles. During the procedure, your doctor will use a laser beam to remove your outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. At the same time, the laser will heat the skin underneath, called the dermis.

“This action works to stimulate growth of new collagen fibers,” the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says. “As the treated area heals, the new skin that forms is smoother and firmer.”

Eliminating scars

Laser treatment of scars works much the same way as it does for wrinkles. Even though the cause of scars may be long in the past, treating them can be an important part of healing.

“Scars can be emotionally devastating for many people, leading to mental and emotional complications,” the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery says. “Scars can be disfiguring and aesthetically unpleasant.”

Laser resurfacing can help with many types of scars, including those caused by injuries, previous surgeries or acne.

Treating veins and blood vessels

Varicose veins, if left untreated, will turn into ulcers on your legs. There are several possible treatments and deeper vein treatment may require an evaluation with a vascular surgeon, but more superficial spider veins can be treated with laser or sclerotherapy.

As for blood vessels, when they narrow or widen, the walls can tear and blood seeps out, creating the thin lines you see in your skin.

While these lines often are not painful, they can be displeasing in appearance. Laser treatment targets the vein and clogs it. That way, the vein no longer moves blood and instead the body absorbs it, removing the appearance of broken capillaries.

Is laser resurfacing right for you?

Laser resurfacing is a safe procedure, but that doesn’t mean everyone should go under the light. Rather, consider what you want for your skin.

“If you have fine lines or wrinkles around your eyes or mouth or on your forehead, shallow scars from acne, or non-responsive skin after a facelift, then you may be a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing,” WebMD says.

On the other hand, if you have active acne lesions (as opposed to acne scars), stretch marks or very dark skin, laser resurfacing may not be a good choice. Don’t let that stop you from exploring your choices, though. For example, there are other laser treatment options for acne and stretch marks outside of laser resurfacing.

“While it is true that certain lasers pose a higher risk for cell damage or discoloration in darker skin, there are safe and effective resurfacing options,” according to The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

To find the option that’s right for you, consult with an experienced professional like Palm Beach’s Dr. Steven Shapiro, an internationally recognized expert in dermatology and lasers or Dr. Vidya Rajpara, fellowship trained in cosmetic dermatology, based at Gardens Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center. Visit for more information and to make an appointment.

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