After Laser Skin Resurfacing

Recovering From Your Laser Surgery

  • Anesthesia: General or sedation (topical anesthesia may be used for some erbium procedures)
  • Length of surgery: 15-90 minutes.
  • Length of stay: Outpatient (home same day).
  • Discomfort: Anticipate 1-4 days of prescription pain medication.
  • Swelling: lasts 3 days to three weeks.
  • Dressings: Treated areas will appear as abrasions or deep burns. They will weep, ooze, and hurt when uncovered.
  • Healing: Your skin will heal in 4-6 days following erbium laser and 5-14 days following carbon dioxide laser. It will then appear sunburned. The only problem is that this “sunburn” takes awhile to fade. Redness will improve over 1-4 weeks following erbium and 1-4 months following CO2. Once your skin heals you can wear camouflage make-up to conceal the redness. Interestingly, as much as everyone hates to be red, the longer you are red, the better your final result.
  • Presentable in public: You will be presentable with makeup in 7-14 days.
  • Sun protection: SPF 15 or higher for 3-6 months.
  • Resume skin care: You may resume skin care products after your skin has healed.
  • Final result: Will be seen after your redness has faded, approximately one week to four months.
  • Next laser treatment: You should wait at least 6 months between laser treatments.