What are the Different Types of Skin Resurfacing?

Felicia Dye

Many different conditions can affect the look and feel of skin. Acne scars, wrinkles, and discolorations are usually unwelcome, and often difficult to get rid of. Most people are not content with the uninvited guests, so a range of skin resurfacing options are available to help people battle the scars and signs of aging.

Skin resurfacing might be used on someone with scars from severe acne.
Skin resurfacing might be used on someone with scars from severe acne.

The level of damage is one of the primary factors to consider when choosing between the different types of skin resurfacing. Normally, people are advised not to make the decision alone. Consulting a dermatologist provides an opportunity to become fully informed about the pros and cons of each option. It also provides the opportunity to get an expert opinion on the extent of the damage.

Laser skin resurfacing is a skin resurfacing option for surface level damage.
Laser skin resurfacing is a skin resurfacing option for surface level damage.

Dermabrasion is a method that can sometimes remove shallow skin imperfections. Usually a rough wheel is spun over the skin and the top layer is scrubbed away. When successful, dermabrasion not only removes scars but also gives the skin a smoother and perhaps younger appearance.

Chemical peels are an option usually suggested when scarring or other imperfections are very mild to mild. This process involves having acid applied to the skin, which removes the top layer. Healthier, unscarred skin should appear in about 7 to 10 days. Chemical peeling is a process that normally involves several treatments and perhaps increasing strengths of acid.

Laser skin resurfacing is another skin resurfacing option for surface level damage. A laser, often of carbon dioxide, is used to burn the top layers of skin to a certain depth. Once the skin heals, new skin replaces the burned layers. This is one skin resurfacing option that requires strict adherence to the post-treatment care plan.

Augmentation may be the option a dermatologist suggests for people with deep scarring or wrinkles. This procedure involves injections, usually of collagen or fat. The injection is intended to elevate the tissue and promote smoother skin. This option is not normally a one-time permanent solution. Multiple injections are usually required.

Punch techniques usually involve local anesthesia. With the excision punch method, a tool that is often described as being like a small cookie cutter is used to punch out scarred skin. Then, the hole is sutured together. This will normally leave another scar, but it generally fades. If the suture scar doesn’t fade, one of the milder skin resurfacing options should take care of it.

The skin graft punch method also involves the cookie cutter tool. For this procedure, the scarred tissue is removed and skin is removed from another area to fill the gap. Since the replacement skin is generally not taken from the face, there may be noticeable color differences. A dermatologist should be able to correct this with other procedures.

These skin resurfacing options have other advantages and disadvantages which can be discussed with a skin care professional. They also vary greatly in price. One thing that a dermatologist may want to know when considering the best option for a patient is how old the scars or other damage are. Knowing the answer could be a money saver.

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