What Is Laser Resurfacing?

Posted on July 22, 2021

woman at the doctor's appointment

Thanks to advanced technology, you can now enjoy treatments that rejuvenate your skin. Laser resurfacing is one of them. It is also among the best and most popular treatments guaranteed to solve your skin problems.

In this article, I’ll talk about laser resurfacing and the problems it fixes. I’ll also walk you through the procedure and tell you what you can expect before, during, and after the treatment.

Laser Resurfacing

As its name implies, laser resurfacing is a procedure that resurfaces your skin. This treatment removes layers of your skin to give it a better appearance.

Laser resurfacing is also commonly known as laser peer, lasabrasion, or laser vaporization.
Depending on your needs, your cosmetic doctor may suggest getting a certain type of laser resurfacing treatment.

Laser resurfacing involves using short, concentrated, direct pulsating beams of light on your skin. The heat then penetrates deep into your skin.

In particular, the laser beams get rid of damaged skin. It does this by triggering your body’s natural healing process. This then promotes cell regeneration and collagen production. As a result, your skin becomes firmer and smoother.

This targeted approach means more precise laser treatments for your skin. Hence, laser skin resurfacing can solve various problems― from wrinkles to pigmentation.

beautiful woman

Laser resurfacing uses short direct pulses of light on your skin.

Problems Laser Resurfacing Fixes

Laser skin resurfacing is an effective way to get rid of many skin problems. Here are the most common problems laser skin resurfacing can fix:

woman with brown spots on her cheeks

1. Sun Damage

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can take a toll on your skin. Short-term consequences include sunburn. On the other hand, long-term consequences do the most damage. These include wrinkling, sagging, redness, and pigmentation.

2. Wrinkles

Wrinkles are deeply seated creases on the skin. They naturally appear due to aging. In addition, wrinkles tend to develop in areas most exposed to the sun. These areas include your face, arms, and neck.

woman with brown spots

Wrinkles are deeply seated, natural creases on the skin.

old woman smiling

3. Sagging Skin

Sagging skin is usually loose skin that does not bounce back. This is a natural effect of your skin losing its elasticity. Sagging skin can develop almost anywhere in the body including your face, arms, stomach, and neck.

4. Redness

Redness is a product of many conditions such as an allergic reaction, intense activity, sunburn, or long-term sun damage. Short-term redness is usually not a major concern. However, long-term redness is.

skin with redness

Long-term redness is usually a major concern for those having it.

woman skin with redness

5. Pigmentation

Pigmentation is the unusual coloring of your skin. This condition is often a product of unhealthy or damaged cells that produce melanin. In some cases, pigmentation occurs as patches on the skin. In other cases, it occurs on the entire body.

Types of Laser Resurfacing

There are two main types of laser treatments. The first uses a CO2 laser, while the other uses erbium.

CO2 Laser Resurfacing

This type of facial laser uses carbon dioxide (CO2) to treat many skin issues like wrinkles, warts, scars, and enlarged oil glands.

CO2 laser resurfacing involves extremely short pulsating energy or continuous laser beams. They are exerted in a scanning manner to get rid of the skin’s thin layers with minimal damage.

Every point of contact with the CO2 laser lasts for about 1/1000th of a second. It vaporises the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

Then, the next layer called the papillary dermis goes under the same process. Since this layer contains collagen, the resurfacing laser produces a lifting, toning, and skin tightening effect on the skin.

The CO2 laser is basically creating a first-degree burn. This is how the technique originated― from first-degree burn victims who had dramatic skin rejuvenation after they’re healed.

It was discovered that first-degree patients did not produce scars. Their skin appendages remained intact as well. Hence, you don’t have to worry about getting a CO2 laser treatment.

beautiful woman

There are two main types of laser treatments― CO2 and erbium.

Erbium Laser Resurfacing

This type of facial laser uses erbium to treat mild to moderate skin issues like fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and scars.

Just like a CO2 laser treatment, erbium laser resurfacing involves short pulsating energy that lasts for a tiny fraction of a second. As the erbium laser hits the skin, the light it emits is absorbed by water.

As your skin cells are mainly composed of water, heat produced by the erbium laser gets scattered over your skin. As a result, the tissues containing the said water are vaporised. This is done to damage the skin to stimulate your body to heal.
The excess heat in the target area also promotes collagen production. This makes your skin tighter and smoother.

The effects will be similar to a burn. However, an erbium laser treatment damages your skin for a purpose. This procedure is safe, so you have nothing to worry about.

CO2 vs. Erbium Laser Resurfacing: Which Is Better?

Both erbium and CO2 laser resurfacing are effective in treating fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and pigmentation, among others.

However, these lasers have slight differences you might want to know. In general, a CO2 laser treatment is more intense than an erbium one. It penetrates deeper into your skin.

On the other hand, an erbium laser treatment is gentler. This means faster healing and less downtime.

In my clinic, we offer both laser treatments. We use the latest innovative technology that uses an erbium and CO2 laser.

At first, the fractional CO2 laser penetrates deep into your skin to provide heat. The heat then promotes collagen production. After that, the laser’s erbium component treats the issues on the superficial layer of your skin. It also softens lines, evens your skin out, and removes pigmentation.

This combined technique lets you get the best of both treatments. Its unique design precisely treats your skin. It also can be adjusted to your needs and desired downtime.

At the end of the day, the best laser resurfacing treatment depends on your goals. Book a consultation with us to get a more accurate assessment of your problems.

face woman

What to Expect Before Laser Resurfacing London

As I mentioned, you must have a consultation before having any treatment.

We will discuss your problems during your consultation with me. Then, I’ll walk you through the best treatment plans so you can make an informed decision. After that, we can finalise the details for your laser resurfacing appointment.

What to Expect During Laser Resurfacing London

Your skin will first be numbed using anaesthesia. This ensures that you feel as little pain as possible. Then, a laser beam will be directed to your target area. Depending on the size of your target area, the procedure can last between 30 minutes to two hours.

After the treatment, your skin will feel tender and itchy. I will apply ointment to ease this. Depending on how intense the treatment is, I might cover the area with dressing.

Laser skin resurfacing is an outpatient procedure so you can go home the same day.

beautiful woman

Laser skin resurfacing is an outpatient procedure so you can go home the same day.

beautiful woman smiling

What to Expect After Laser Resurfacing London

Immediately after the laser resurfacing treatment, your skin will be tender, itchy, and red. You might feel a stinging sensation and ooze yellow liquid, too. These are why it’s extremely important for you not to scratch or pick at your skin.

The target area will be dry and peel five to seven days after laser skin resurfacing. At the start, your new skin will look pink. It will lighten up over two to three months.


Laser resurfacing is a convenient, easy way to get rid of your skin problems. This treatment is safe, effective, and has a quick downtime.

Are you interested in having a laser resurfacing in London? Book a consultation today to know the best treatment plan for you!

beautiful woman smiling

Laser resurfacing can conveniently get rid of your skin problems.

Dr. Julian De Silva, Medical Director

About the Author

Dr Julian De Silva is a leading facial plastic surgeon that specialises only in surgical and non-surgical facial procedures. Dr. De Silva has considerable experience in cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery from fellowships in London, Los Angeles, and New York. He is one of a handful of elite surgeons to be recognised with British, European and American qualifications, memberships and board certification.

About Dr De Silva | Dr Julian De Silva's Google Scholar

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