There are a number of possible complications associated with laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. These include, but are not limited to, redness during recovery, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), hypopigmentation (light spots), thinning of the skin (which will expose underlying structures such as pimples, vessels, etc.), scarring, visual disturbances, itching, tingling, pain, and environmental sensitivity (to sun or bright light, dust, makeup, soap, clothing, etc.). Some of these can be permanent. In order to make a well-informed decision as to whether or not you wish to undergo one of these procedures, you should discuss the risks with your doctor.
Just as in your recovery, your results are related to the depth of the peel. It's not safe to go too deep in one session, so for some very wrinkled faces or deep acne scars, patients may require a second procedure to get the best results. People who smoke tend to have deeper lines around their lips and may require a deeper peel. Sometimes there are fine details that aren't noticeable until after healing is complete, and these patients may return for an additional treatment. Small areas can be "touched up." This is often done just under local anesthetic and is much easier than the original procedure. For people who have some pigment in their skin, some will darken temporarily. The doctor can give you fade creams if this happens, but since the fade creams are somewhat irritating, any redness should go away before fade creams are started.
Your skin should look softer, younger and smoother. Wrinkle removal can be very dramatic. With deeper peels, the new skin will somewhat "shrink to fit" your face. Healing of human injuries is accomplished by shrinkage of the tissue, and what the laser does is provide a careful "injury" to the skin. Brown spots generally disappear or fade dramatically. Patients are usually asked to use light moisturizers for at least a month. Occasionally, acne breakouts occur. This is treated by decreasing the lubricants and possibly prescribing antibiotics.
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