Laser Side Effects
Laser treatment is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed to correct visible irregularities caused by a variety of skin conditions. Also used to treat other conditions, such as vision, hair loss and hair removal, “laser treatment” typically implies the common derma-medical use, which is laser rejuvenation and resurfacing.
Laser treatment corrects irregularities in the skin’s color and texture, which include sun spots, age spots, melasmas, wrinkles, scars, birthmarks, broken capillaries, visible veins, redness caused by rosacea, acne and acne scars, unwanted moles and angiomas. It is also used for tattoo removal.
Laser types vary in strength, functionality and purpose. Ablative lasers, used for moderate to severe conditions, burn off the skin tissue for treatment, while non-ablative lasers work below the skin’s surface on mild to moderate conditions. Stronger laser technology increases potential complications, side effects and recovery time.
Skin discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation (dark) spots or hypopigmentation (light) spots is a possible side effect of laser treatment. Hypopigmentation is a more likely side effect for darker skinned patients, or patients who received treatment with tanned skin. Hyperpigmentation occurs in fair-skinned patients, but subsides within a few weeks.
Swelling and Bruising
Swelling and bruising are common after laser treatment, and may be more or less intense depending on the type of laser used and the skin condition treated. Bruising is typical after ablative treatments, is treated with ice packs and heals within 10 days.
Redness and Flakiness
The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery reports that redness and crustiness of the treated skin may last for 3 to 10 days after laser treatment. This should be left alone to avoid scarring.
The Consumer Guide also says that the treated skin may appear bright pink for up to few weeks. Makeup cannot be worn for at least two to three weeks. An ointment will likely be prescribed to expedite healing.