So you have done a fair amount of research and you have decided that the best skin treatment for you is a fractional laser treatment. However, before you actually go in for the treatment, it is important that you ask a few questions and receive more than satisfactory answers for the same.
These are some of the most important questions that you need to ask:
How exactly is a fractional laser treatment performed?
The procedure will start a few weeks before hand, because you will be asked to avoid sunlight and stop certain medications. Even on the day of the actual laser treatment, you will be asked to arrive well in advance, because the technician will have to clean your skin and apply the numbing gel, as it takes 30 to 60 minutes for the skin to become numb.
Once the skin has become numb, the cream will be removed and a thin layer of gliding gel will be applied. This gel will not only provide necessary lubrication to the skin, but also provide a sort of road map for the laser beam. The time taken to complete the procedure will depend on how much area needs to be covered. If you are getting the entire face resurfaced, then it could take up to an hour.
What will happen immediately after the procedure?
While the procedure is happening, you might feel pricking sensation a few times. Once the procedure is complete, there might be redness and your skin may feel extremely sensitive. Many people have described the sensation as being similar to a sunburn. Your doctor will ask you to apply ice packs for five to ten minutes, every hour, for the first day.
Over the next few days, the skin will return to looking normal and you will be able to do everything that you normally do. This would include applying makeup, going to work and even exercising. However, you will be asked to remain sun safe for the next few weeks by applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.
There can be bruising, flaking or crusting of the skin, all of which should resolve on their own, within a few days. Your doctor might prescribe a moisturising lotion, which will help with the reduction of the skin flaking.
What kinds of precautions and care will be required?
In most cases, the doctor will give you details about what you need to do beforehand, but you will also receive instructions yet again, before you leave for home. Some of the most commonly given instructions include:
- Regular usage of ice packs on the day of procedure
- You will be asked to not scratch or rub the area that has been treated
- For men getting the treatment, the advice will be not to shave for a day or two
- All kinds of exercises and alcohol will have to be avoided for 2 to 3 days
- You will be asked to avoid heat – these could range from saunas to hot tubs, hot water showers and direct sunlight
- For a few days, you will be asked to sleep with your head elevated
When can a normal routine be resumed?
Normally, there is not a lot of downtime associated with fractional laser treatment, but you will need to take at least one day off, just to ice the area that has been treated. In addition, you will be asked to avoid strain or over exposure to the sun for a minimum of 2 to 4 days. Your doctor will also advise you to not swim in chlorinated water for close to 20 days.
Are there any conditions wherein fractional laser therapy should not be done?
If a person is on medication that could increase photosensitivity, has a history of bleeding disorders, is pregnant or consumes anticoagulants, they would not be ideal candidates for the procedure.
Will there be any side effects?
At the end of the day, fractional laser treatment is a medical procedure, which means that there is always the chance of side effects emerging. Some of the most common ones include swelling, redness and crusting. However, these are all temporary and will fade in a matter of days. There could also be bruising or small blisters, which can be taken care of with ice and medication, prescribed by the doctor.
Will fractional laser treatment work on acne?
If the scarring is mild to moderate, then fractional laser treatment is an ideal solution, because then the scars would be on the epidermal or dermal levels. However, if the scarring is deeper, then an ablative CO2 laser would be more suitable. This is something that your doctor will be able to tell you about, once he or she has examined you properly.
Will fractional laser treatment work on wrinkles?
Like acne, if the wrinkles too are mild to moderate, then fractional laser treatment would prove effective. However, if the wrinkles are deep and are associated with age related sagging or even because of loss of weight, then you will need a different procedure. Fractional laser treatment is actually the best option for people who are below 50. The treatment has shown positive results when it comes to damage caused due to excessive exposure to the sun.