Skin Resurfacing

Skin resurfacing is recommended to improve loose, wrinkled or discolored skin brought on or aggravated by age, sun exposure, heredity, smoking or acne.

Skin resurfacing removes layers of skin, thereby revealing a newer, younger looking more evenly pigmented layer of skin underneath.

Skin resurfacing can be used on the entire face or just on specific areas such as the upper lip or eyelids. Resurfacing produces a tightening effect on the skin, which can result in a smoother, less wrinkled or lined look. If you are having other facial cosmetic surgery such as a face lift or eyelid surgery, you may be able to have skin resurfacing at the same time.


Your plastic surgeon will take the following into consideration before recommending a resurfacing procedure:

  • Skin colour – fair skin tends to produce better results
  • Skin thickness and texture – help determine whether you are a good candidate for laser resurfacing
  • Skin type, sun damage, wrinkle and line depth


There are many types of skin resurfacing procedures. Most of them remove the upper layers of the skin and leave you raw for a period of time. The more skin that is removed, the smoother, more evenly pigmented and wrinkle free the skin will be. However, the more the skin is removed, the more prolonged will be the healing, redness and risk of skin pallor.

Superficial resurfacing results in less down time and a less dramatic result. There are technologies that do not remove the upper layer of skin but instead attempt to tighten the deeper layer of the skin with light or ultrasound. While less invasive methods like these do not require a healing period, the results are also less likely to be striking. More superficial skin resurfacing can be obtained with creams such as retinoic acid, or procedures such as microdermabrasion.

Deep skin resurfacing can be achieved with dermabrasion, chemical peeling, or with lasers such as the carbon dioxide or erbium devices.

Recovery and possible complications

The risks of laser resurfacing are few but include:

  • infection
  • pallor
  • abnormal healing

If you have had herpes (cold sores), skin resurfacing can cause a recurrence of these conditions. Rarely, patients form raised or thickened scars following the procedure. This response can be unpredictable.

Following skin resurfacing, you must avoid sun exposure until the redness of your skin has gone.

In fact, it is better to avoid the harmful effects of the sun permanently with sun block and head covering. Sunburns are the major cause of what you are trying to improve with skin resurfacing.

Camouflage makeup can be used after the skin is healed. Remember that the deeper the resurfacing, the better the result, but the longer will be the time you will want to be out of work until the redness settles to the point where you can conceal it with makeup.