Skin Resurfacing

Exclusively Faces Cosmetic Surgery
Matthew Karen, MD F.A.C.S.
Cosmetic Surgery located in Winchester, VA


Have a soft spot in your memory bank for the silky smooth skin of days passed? Why let it remain a past memory when new technology and techniques can return that youthful vigor to your skin. Dr. Matthew Karen suggests an outpatient procedure known as skin resurfacing. Exclusively Faces, Cosmetic Surgery of Winchester, Virginia offers the most modern skin-improvement treatments in a relaxed setting, with minimal recovery time. Call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Karen today.

What is Skin Resurfacing?

Skin resurfacing is what the name implies: treatment to give your skin a new surface. Typically this is for a specific part of your body, particularly the face. The aim is to treat wrinkles, blotches, thin lines, scars, warts and other deep skin flaws by ridding damaged outer skin and bringing a skin layer beneath to the surface.

More precisely, skin resurfacing involves removing skin a layer at a time, or whatever is needed for any particular skin situation, with high-tech precision. Post-procedure, new skin cells will form from the healing process to give skin the more-desired youthful look.

The procedure often is performed with a laser device. For instance, Dr. Karen and the team at Exclusively Faces now engage new laser devices by Lutronic: the Clarity, and LaseMC ULTRA. These modern lasers help skilled and experienced physicians like Dr. Karen bring skin to life for a tighter, smoother and youthful look.

How do Skin Resurfacing Treatments Work?

Skin resurfacing treatments are done with a patient sitting in a chair or lying down, usually with only local anesthetic if necessary. Hand-held tools connected to the laser machines are carefully guided by the doctor over the troublesome skin areas, with repetition. What precisely to expect, before and after?:

  • For a full-face skin resurfacing, a doctor could specifically treat wrinkles near the eyes, forehead and mouth, or just treat the entire facial area.
  • The doctor may numb small, specific areas needing treatment.
  • A session can be completed in as little as a half-hour, though a full-face procedure could take up to two hours.
  • Post-procedure, treated areas will be bandaged for 24 hours, after which the patient will clean treated areas several times daily and later apply ointment as directed.
  • Some swelling post-procedure is typical. Patients may be prescribed something such as steroids to address swelling near eyes, or recommended bed-time help such as an extra (or softer) pillow.
  • Full healing usually takes from one to three weeks. Once healing is evident, oil-free makeup can be applied to minimize any remaining redness.
  • Use of a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher could be recommended for outdoor excursions in the weeks following a treatment session.

Some people ask, How many treatments are needed? Dr. Karen communicates with patients to determine the number of treatments recommended depending on desired results. It is common to have a skin resurfacing procedure monthly, to maintain a youth-like skin glow, and further deter skin damage moving forward. However, this depends on the patient, particular skin condition, and goals.

Preparing for Skin Resurfacing Treatments

There are preparations to consider before scheduling your skin resurfacing appointment:

  • Inform your doctor if you have fever blisters or cold sores on or around your mouth. Breakouts are possible, triggered by a laser’s heat.
  • The doctor might ask you to skip medications or supplements, including aspirin or other painkillers, or vitamin E, that could impact clotting for several days post-procedure.
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco two weeks before and after the treatment procedure. Tobacco impairs healing and could extend the recovery period.
  • If he or she does not mention it up front, ask your doctor about antibiotic or antiviral medications before settling in for the procedure. It’s just precautionary, to prevent the potential for fever blisters, cold sores or bacterial infection.
  • Bottom line: be up-front with your doctor about your current medical history especially about meds or supplements.


Skin Resurfacing Q&A

How do skin resurfacing sessions feel, pain-wise?

Many patients have compared it to a rubber band snapping against their skin. Others reported the feeling of tingling or heat as the laser device passes over skin areas. It depends on the laser device, and the specific bodily area and depth of the treatment.

What are the Clarity and ULTRA laser devices?

The company Lutronic is known for producing some of the most modern and effective devices for skin improvements and personal skin cosmetics, and its Clarity and ULTRA lasers follow in that vein.

Clarity is a dual-wavelength laser with versatility. It’s many features allow use for a number of health and cosmetic procedures. For skin resurfacing, it allows for what is known as an ablative procedure — ablative describes procedures that remove a tissue or body part. In this case, the removal of old or ugly skin layers.

Lutronic ULTRA differs from usual resurfacing lasers, using gentle, non-ablative treatments to rebuild skin to healthy, glowing end results. Treatment with an ULTRA laser allows a doctor to customize procedures to specifically meet the desires of patients, with little to no downtime post-procedure. LaseMD ULTRA is a non-ablative (meaning it does not remove body tissue like skin) laser that works with water molecules in the skin.

It is versatile to meet patient needs, whether to just add a glow to the skin for upcoming engagements like weddings, or for deeper treatments to fix skin pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, etc.

It’s worth noting that non-ablative lasers like the ULTRA usually require no post-session downtime; but ablative lasers could require two or three weeks for healing. However, for the latter it does not mean home-stays are necessary. A patient just might have raw, red or scabbed skin during the healing process. In that case it may just be a matter of comfort with social situations, swimming, gym time, etc.

Why Choose a Skin Resurfacing Procedure?

Skin resurfacing treatments present a number of benefits:

  • It’s a minimally invasive procedure not requiring cuts or stitches, so recovery time is reduced compared with skin-improvement methods of the past.
  • While some redness or soreness may occur post-procedure, patients are expected to resume normal life activities immediately.
  • Results can be remarkable: a brighter skin tone; improved skin texture; pigment reduction; elimination of age spots, sun spots or freckles; repair of sun damage, and more.

If you seek restoration of your skin to its former glow and healthy appearance, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Karen today.