About Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco is a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure that uses pulsating beams of light to reach deep into the skin without affecting the surrounding tissue. The treatment is performed to reduce facial lines and wrinkles and to diminish skin irregularities, such as acne scars, pigmentation, and other flaws. Laser skin resurfacing is an effective treatment for patients desiring softer, clearer, youthful-looking skin but who do not want to deal with more invasive procedures or surgery.
Board-certified dermatologist Tracy Evans is the owner and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco. She uses the advanced and gentle Fraxel or ResurFX technologies, or a combination of both, to provide laser skin resurfacing treatments for her patients. These lasers are safe and effective and can be adjusted according to each patient's complexion type and concerns. While laser skin resurfacing is often referred to as a laser peel, not all the technology used by Dr. Evans actually removes any layers of skin. Contact us at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco to make your appointment if you would like to learn more about what laser skin resurfacing could do for you.
Types of Laser Treatments
There are three types of laser skin resurfacing treatments available, and Dr. Evans will determine which is right for you based on your complexion, skin type, and goals. Some lasers are used for a lighter resurfacing while others are more aggressive:
- Ablative Laser Treatments
Ablative lasers remove thin layers of skin, like a deep chemical peel or dermabrasion, with a precision that allows your practitioner to minimize skin damage. Ablative lasers are best for skin tightening and removing wrinkles and acne scars.
- Non-Ablative Laser Treatments
Non-ablative lasers do not remove any skin — the light simply creates micro-damage to the skin to promote natural healing. Non-ablative treatments are best for removing fine lines and wrinkles on patients who are able to wait a few months for strong results.
- Fractional Laser Treatments
Fractional lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative and are able to penetrate multiple different layers of the skin. The skin's natural healing process creates tighter skin. Fractional lasers may also be used for fine lines, deep wrinkles, acne scarring, sun damage, and uneven pigmentation.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Reviews
"I recently moved to the area and was searching for a new dermatologist for my annual skin checks. Luckily I came across Precision dermatology. First of all, the check-in process was so easy and efficient. Instead of having me fill out tons of paperwork, they had me fill everything out on an ipad and it was as simple as clicking boxes. In no time I was seen by Krystal the PA. Let me tell you that I have never had a more thorough skin check. She checked me from head to toe (even between my toes). She also took pictures and measurements of the moles she wanted to keep an eye on. At the end of the visit she made recommendations on skin care products and laser treatments based on my specific skin type and concerns. She was very informative but never pushy. I highly recommend Krystal and the staff at Precision Dermatology!"- N.P. / Yelp / Dec 04, 2018
"I have been seeing Doctor Evans and her excellent PA, Lauren, for over 2 years. I switched dermatologists in late 2016 as a previous PA failed to diagnose skin cancer on my nose. Another doctor, my GP, noticed the spot and recommended that I immediately get a second opinion. I was lucky enough to get in to see Lauren straight away who moved quickly to biopsy the troublesome area. Unlike the other PA, Lauren was concerned about my symptoms, the length of time I was dealing with them and appearance of the spot. Her depth of knowledge and confident, yet caring demeanor helped put me at ease. Unfortunately, the spot turned out to be aggressive basal cell carcinoma. I was diagnosed in mid Dec and Dr. Evans moved mountains to help book me for Mohs surgery before the Holidays. She also went above and beyond to line up an excellent plastic surgeon in the event my surgery was challenging to close. I am forever grateful as my surgery was quite extensive. At the age of 38, I had 5 rounds of scrapping in a single Mohs surgery which left me with a hole the size of a quarter on my nose. Dr. Evans performed the surgery with skill and ease in her office ensuring I was comfortable throughout the 5-hour operation. I feel incredibly lucky to have seen Lauren and Dr. Evans. It was an emotionally draining process with an unforeseen outcome, but I was given unbelievable care and support from Dr. Evans and her entire staff. Once I healed, they've since helped with regular skin checks and laser treatments to help reduce the appearance of the scar. It has healed beautifully! I've recommended many friends to their practice. While I know at times you can wait for an appointment to begin, to me, it's worth it to ensure I am given superb care."- K.D. / Yelp / Jun 11, 2018
"As someone new to the world of skin care and cosmetics I decided to visit Dr. Evans after hearing some positive reviews from friends who had seen her. I am getting married soon and wanted to know what I could do to look my very best! Dr. Evans was very knowledgeable and explained every option and procedure to me step by step. I decided to start with a Fraxel laser treatment and my skin has never looked better! I have even gone back to get some botox for the first time! It looks so natural and I love it. I would highly recommend Dr. Evans and her fantastic team to anyone who wants to do a little something for themselves and their skin!"- A.B. / Yelp / Nov 05, 2018
"If you're ever out in the Bay Area and you are looking for a dermatologist, check out Precision dermatology. I have been treated for my hyper pigmentation on my R cheek by both Dr. Evans and Lauren, the physician assistant. I have had a few different treatments and finally after having this huge mark on my cheek for over 10 years, They have been able to get it as light as possible. I recommend the IPL combined with the Clear and brilliant laser for dark spots and to restore collagen and to even out the skin tone. I am extremely satisfied with my results and couldn't be happier. Just remember skin is a beautiful thing, wear it well."- S.G. / Yelp / Jun 27, 2017
"I would highly recommend anyone to come to this practice with all cosmetic needs! I have very fair skin and get a lot of freckles and sun damage. I have had fraxel laser done by both Dr. Evans and also Lauren, her PA and I loved how my skin looks and feels after! They both do such an amazing job and make me feel super comfortable."- C.H. / Google / Feb 22, 2018
Laser skin resurfacing is a safe and effective treatment for most people with lighter skin tones. However, if you have darker skin or active acne, the procedure could have negative outcomes. Fortunately, there are other options available so talk to Dr. Evans about the best treatments for your concerns.
Most of our patients who undergo laser skin resurfacing can achieve:
- Smoother skin
- More even skin tone
- Reduced brown spots and pigmentation
- Softer fine lines and wrinkles
- Less visible surgical and acne scars
- Reduced sun damage
If you are having a deeper or more intense laser peel, you may be asked to use a topical retinoid for a few weeks before your laser treatment. This helps prepare the skin for maximum results. Our patients receive their laser skin resurfacing treatments in the comfort of our San Francisco or Corte Madera, CA Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology offices. We topically numb each patient for 60 – 90 minutes prior to performing the laser treatment. Dr. Evans will then move the handpiece across your treatment area to destroy the damaged skin cells — without affecting the surrounding skin — and promote the development of healthy cells and collagen. You will feel the heat from the laser followed by cold air from its built-in cooling system. The length of your treatment will depend on the area being treated; therefore, it can take anywhere from 10 – 40 minutes.
What to Expect
Immediately after your treatment, your skin will appear red, and there will be some irritation and swelling. For lighter treatments, this should subside within a couple of days, and the healing and peeling process will last 5 – 7 days. If you are undergoing a more intense laser resurfacing treatment, your downtime will last longer. The treated areas may or may not need to be covered by dressings, and the swelling, irritation, and burning sensation will be stronger. Medication can be prescribed to help reduce these side effects if necessary. The healing time associated with a deeper peel can last 2 – 3 weeks, but you should be able to resume most of your daily activities almost immediately. You should be able to see your optimal results in 2 – 3 months, but your skin will continue to improve for about a year.
All patients should limit their sun exposure after their laser treatment and apply sunscreen regularly. Regardless of the intensity of your laser treatment, your skin will naturally flake, crust, and peel away. It is important to protect your face from sun exposure and to not interfere with the healing process to avoid scarring. Once the peeling process has been completed, your skin will feel softer and look clearer, younger, and rejuvenated.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does laser skin resurfacing cost?
Laser skin resurfacing costs vary based on the type of treatment you and Dr. Evans decide to do. In your consultation, Dr. Evans will listen to your concerns and goals before explaining the different types of resurfacing treatments. Then she can help you choose your treatment and discuss costs. Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco often runs treatment specials and discounted packages so be sure to ask during your consultation.
What's the best type of resurfacing for me?
Dr. Evans will help you decide which laser resurfacing treatment is best for your needs and goals during your consultation. The best treatment for you will depend on the health and condition of your skin, your complexion concerns, and how deep you want your treatment to go. The length of time you are willing to give your recovery may also be a deciding factor when choosing your treatment type. When in doubt, it's best to start with a lighter treatment to see how you like your results and adjust as needed for your next treatment.
How can I help my skin recover after a resurfacing treatment?
Dr. Evans or a member of her professional team will talk to you about how you can help your skin heal after a laser resurfacing treatment. The most important rule is to never pick or peel your skin. This could cause lasting damage, including scars. You should skip all hair removal methods in the treatment area, which means no shaving, waxing, or depilatory creams. We will recommend an ointment to help soothe and heal your skin.
Does laser skin resurfacing have any side effects?
Though prolonged side effects are rare, the common side effects of laser skin resurfacing can last from several days to a few weeks, depending on the aggressiveness of your treatment. Common side effects include itching, swelling, blistering, acne flare-up, infection, prolonged redness, hyperpigmentation, and scarring. Dr. Evans will discuss these during your consultation.
How often should I get laser resurfacing treatments?
Depending on the resurfacing type you and Dr. Evans select for your treatment, you may need to wait weeks or even months between appointments. Deeper treatments will provide longer-lasting results but will require a longer recovery period. After a few weeks, your skin will feel totally healed, but it might still be too sensitive for another session. You should talk to Dr. Evans about how often you are willing to come back for treatments so she can take this into account when recommending a type of resurfacing during your consultation.
A Softer, Clearer Complexion
A laser skin resurfacing treatment offers outstanding results if you want a younger-looking complexion with fewer and less visible blemishes. It is a safe and effective way to get dramatic results without the downtime of a surgical procedure. If you are considering a laser peel and would like to learn more about them, we invite you to call our office in San Francisco, CA today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Evans.