Ablative laser skin resurfacing has been the “Gold Standard” for nonsurgical facial rejuvenation, skin rejuvenation and removal of facial skin wrinkles and photo aging since the early 1990s. ‘Ablative’ means ‘capable of removing completely’ and these types of lasers can remove a whole area of skin in a controlled manner. New skin then grows into the treated area to create a smoother and fresher- looking complexion. Earlier lasers were very effective, but the treated skin took a very long time to recover.

The latest modifications produced what are known as fractional laser. In this system, the laser beam is broken down into several smaller beams which drill minute holes into the skin, leaving patches of healthy skin in between which then grow into and fill in these holes.

Recovery time is reduced drastically from many weeks to just a few days. The heat from the laser beam also stimulates the skin to produce new collagen so the skin will eventually also look tighter and younger. At AMAI we use the leader in laser resurfacing with our SmartXide DOT fractional CO2 laser system.

Fractional laser resurfacing can reduce or eliminate wrinkles and scars (including acne scars) as well sun-damaged skin (pigmented areas and uneven skin texture). Laser resurfacing can also remove a variety of skin lesions such as nodules, warts and fatty deposits around the eyes (xanthelasmata).

A local anaesthetic (EMLA cream) is usually applied to the area to be treated at least thirty minutes before the procedure. A minor stinging sensation is what is most frequently described. Ice cooling used during and after the procedure will further minimise discomfort.

A treatment may last up to thirty minutes depending on the area and nature of the problem to be treated. Significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and scars is seen even after the first session, but for the maximum effect around four treatments are recommended, at least four weeks apart. Since the skin continues remodelling itself after the treatment, improvement is continuous even months after the last treatment.

A slight burning sensation may be felt for a few hours after the treatment. This is minimised with ice cooling and post procedure treatment regimen including thermal water spray, cooling creams and ice. You should expect some swelling and crusting for the next couple of days, and redness usually lasts around a week. These are all part of the healing process. Rarely the skin can become over- or under pigmented but following the professional advice of using a sunblock and avoiding the sun during the treatment programme should minimise this risk. Reactivation of cold sores is possible. You will be asked about previous attacks in the consultation so prevention can be given. Infections and scars are very rare complications which can be avoided with proper precautions.

This treatment is not indicated in the following situations: use of acne treatments called ‘Retinoids’ in the past six months, surgery to the face (e.g. face lifts) in the last six months, skin peeling in the last ten days and certain skin diseases. The specialist will identify these and any other conditions of concern during your consultation appointment