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Skin Resurfacing Recovery/Results

What can I expect during recovery from skin resurfacing?

Postoperative care is extremely important to obtain the best result. We will give you instructions to assist you in caring for your “new skin.”

Your new skin will be much like the skin of a newborn baby in that it will take time for it to toughen and be able to tolerate direct sun, wind exposure, and certain skin care products. Because it is “new” skin, the texture and color will be somewhat different from that which has not been resurfaced. Makeup can generally camouflage any contrast, but please wait for clearance from the doctor prior to applying any makeup or creams.

Continued care of your new skin is important to help maintain what has been done with resurfacing. A good skin care program (such as FaceMD) supervised by Dr. Velargo, Dr. Hendrick, and/ or a medical aesthetician is recommended. We will be happy to discuss this with you in more detail.

Some degree of swelling follows any surgical procedure. Swelling of the resurfaced area may be pronounced for the first few days but subsides dramatically after 5-7 days. As a rule, 80% of swelling is gone by 2 weeks and 90% by 2 months. The swelling is due to the new tissue fluids brought into the area by the body to promote healing. When these healing fluids are no longer required, the tissues release them, and they are absorbed through the bloodstream.

The increased blood supply to the region is responsible for the pink color of the skin and is some of the “discoloration” associated with surgery. The pink may be particularly pronounced in patients undergoing deep chemical peeling.

You must be willing to accept the swelling and discoloration that occurs following resurfacing procedures. Though this swelling and discoloration can be visually disconcerting, most people feel it is a negligible inconvenience to pay for the physical and psychological improvement they experience.

Unlike dermabrasion or CO2 laser resurfacing where the old skin is instantly removed or vaporized, a deep chemical peel is much like having a sunburn or a blister in that the top layer of skin begins to “peel off” over a 4-5 day period to reveal the fresh, new, deep pink layer of skin underneath.

Generally, makeup may be used 1-2 weeks following CO2 laser resurfacing or 2-3 weeks after deep peels and dermabrasion; therefore, most patients may return to work or go out socially at this time. When instructions and precautions are heeded by the patient, the pinkness of the skin slowly subsides over the ensuing 4-8) weeks but can ordinarily be camouflaged by makeup during this time.

How long do the results of skin resurfacing last?

Skin resurfacing procedures are not permanent, but they are frequently long-lasting and are highly dependent on how you care for your new skin. The resurfacing procedure will turn back the clock of aging, but the clock will continue to tick.

The best defense against recurrence of wrinkles and age spots is proper care of your skin, including wearing sunscreen daily. If a medically supervised skin care regimen is implemented and adhered to (such as FaceMD), you can expect the results to last longer than a perpetual “sun-worshiper.”

If wrinkling was severe, it will obviously take years before the condition becomes as bad as it was before the resurfacing procedure. If the natural degenerative process in the skin is occurring rapidly, wrinkling will also accumulate more rapidly. This is precisely when “touch-up” resurfacing procedures are helpful. However, you will generally look forever younger than if you not had the procedure at all.

Any new wrinkles seen in the post-operative period are a result of continued aging and breaking down of the skin that remains. Had the surgery not been performed, you would have the “new” wrinkles on top of the “old” wrinkles, which were removed during the resurfacing procedure. Touch-ups help maintain a youthful appearance in the patient who chooses to have additional resurfacing.

If the resurfacing procedure was performed for acne scars or other scars, these will generally look better than if you had not had any resurfacing procedure at all. Touch-ups are especially important in the patients who desire additional improvement with any scars.