If your laser skin resurfacing treatment is done by a reputable surgeon there are usually few complications due to the laser therapy itself. However, everyone’s skin responds differently and there is a small risk of burning or marks from the heat of the laser, unwanted scarring, and pigmentation changes - either darkening or lightening of the skin. Rarely, laser treatment can set off a cold sore by reactivating the herpes virus that is dormant in the facial nerves.
After laser skin treatment there will be some mild swelling in the face, which may be uncomfortable for a time. Ice packs can help and mild painkillers such as paracetamol are all that’s usually required to keep the discomfort at bay. The skin will blister and scabs after treatment, and there is always a risk of infection, although an antibiotic ointment is used in the first few days to minimize the risk. Skin crusts need to be left alone and never picked off. They will come loose from the skin by themselves after about ten days, revealing new pink skin underneath.
The skin remains pink or even red for a few weeks after laser skin resurfacing, and ointments or creams will be provided by the surgeon to help these subside quickly. They may persist for up to six months in some people – but after three weeks concealing make up can be applied without damaging the skin.
The new skin is very susceptible to sun damage, which can cause burns and permanent pigmentation changes. Sunbathing must be avoided for at least six months, and if you have to go outside during a sunny day, the advice is to wear a sun visor or hat with a large brim, and to thoroughly cover your face with a high factor sun block – factor twenty-five at the very minimum.