Some Laser Treatment Side Effects Are Scary, but Normal

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Deciding to undergo skin laser resurfacing is not a decision that is quite as serious as plastic surgery, but it’s riskier and more dramatic than something like a dermal filler, or an intense facial. Laser resurfacing can have an amazing effect on wrinkled, uneven, or scarred skin, but it does come at the cost of having a laser ablate (burn) the skin on your face. For this reason, understandably, some people are very nervous to undergo the procedure, and they’re also nervous about the side effects. Here are three things that are probably going to scare you, but which you ultimately won’t need to worry about.

Redness and Swelling

Face laser resurfacing, while ultimately resulting in smoother, more evenly toned skin, is at first somewhat traumatic for your skin cells. You can expect the treated areas to be red, swollen, and likely tender for a few days, with pinkness persisting for a few weeks. This is totally normal. Cold packs, anti-inflammatories, and painkillers can help to take care of swelling and pain. However, if pain is severe, or if the swelling reaches a point where it’s difficult to see, talk, or breathe, then this could be an indication of a serious infection and is not normal. Be sure to talk to your treatment center about what you can expect, since different laser treatments have different recovery times. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, for example, has a quicker recovery time than others, meaning less prolonged redness and swelling.


Approximately 10% to 17% of people who get face laser resurfacing will also have milia. These small, white bumps are actually small cysts that are filled with keratin. They may go away on their own, but if they don’t, a dermatologist can extract them manually, or prescribe a topical treatment.

Crusting, Flaking, Bruising and Scabbing

Face laser resurfacing and acne scars laser treatments will likely result in some minor
crusting and flaking of the dead skin, bruising, and even some minor scabbing. Extreme experiences of any of these particular side effects, however, is not normal. Neither are any of the following side effects:

  • Scarring.
  • Drastic skin pigmentation changes.
  • Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.
  • Ectropion, where the edge of an eyelid rolls, exposing the inside of the eyelid.

There are many different kinds of lasers used in facial laser resurfacing these days. Therefore, it is imperative to talk to your treatment center about which side effects will be normal for your particular procedure, and at what point those side effects should be a concern. Laser treatments are powerful, so just remember that some (but not all) side effects are normal, and not a cause for alarm. Visit here for more information.

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