Laser skin resurfacing is the gold standard when it comes to treating skin irregularities. In recent years, laser skin resurfacing treatments have seen a surge in popularity in various countries, including Singapore, thanks to advancements in laser technology which has made it more effective and safe at the same time.  However, as effective as it is, there tends to be some confusion or lack of knowledge among the public when it comes to aftercare management. Aftercare is just as important as the actual procedure as it ensures optimal results from the treatment and reduces potential side-effects from this incredible rejuvenating procedure.
Dr Chin Yee Choong is the medical director of Dermclear Aesthetic & Laser Clinic. On Human, he provided some valuable insight involving key issues, complications and important aspects regarding aftercare management for skin laser resurfacing. Here's what he has to say.
What is laser skin resurfacing all about?
Laser skin resurfacing treatment is, for the most part, aimed at reducing skin irregularities like blemishes, fine lines and acne scars through the use of concentrated pixelated beams of light that treat a fraction of the skin rather than the entire surface. This fractionated treatment is key to allow normal in-between skin to heal the pixelated wound created rapidly. As a result of this precision skin wounding and healing process, skin surface blemishes and irregularities are gradually erased and new collagen is stimulated. The final results is reduction of uneven skin pigmentation, pore size reduction, improvement of fine wrinkles and acne scars. The skin treated with laser resurfacing is gradually returned to its radiant youthful state. 
The treatment may not always produce optimal results
There are some circumstances where laser skin resurfacing may fail to work very well. These usually include cases involving deep scars such as ice-pick acne scars, which are very difficult to treat and respond poorly to resurfacing techniques. Such scars require complementary techniques to make the them more shallow before laser skin resurfacing is employed even them out further. During the healing process, acne-prone skin may break out in acne.
Other factors may also prompt further scarring
While considered a very safe procedure that has brought remarkable results to many patients, laser skin resurfacing must be performed by an experienced doctor and optimal aftercare treatment is required to maximise benefits while minimising side-effects. Aggressive treatment parameters (including the use of high energy or high-density settings) can cause deep and excessive skin injury, especially at non-facial sites. Secondary bacterial infections (resulting from poor aftercare management or repeated picking at the healing skin scabs) may also prompt further scarring. 
The cold sore virus may reactivate and cause unwanted infection after treatment
The herpes simplex virus (cold sore virus) can be reactivated in patients with a history, following laser skin resurfacing treatment. The reactivated virus may spread rapidly to the surrounding skin, cause delayed healing and result in unwanted scarring. So, it's best that patients consult their doctors and give a full breakdown of their medical history beforehand. Treatment with anti-cold sore medication like Valtrex before and after laser skin resurfacing will help prevent this complication. An experienced doctor can make a big difference in how safe the laser treatment will be. ,
Exposure to sunlight may undo optimal results
Sunlight or ultraviolet light exposure accelerates collagen degradation, significantly reducing the benefits of laser skin resurfacing as well as causing unwanted pigmentation after treatment. This is why it's important to avoid excessive sun exposure and apply effective sun protection throughout the recovery phase.
Use the right sunscreen
Sunscreen that's rated at SPF 30 and above can protect skin against UVB-induced sunburn and redness. It is important that the sunscreen used also offer good protection against UVA-induced pigmentation and skin ageing. If your skin is of the sensitive type, then pure physical sunscreens may will be preferred as they tend to cause less skin irritation compared to chemical sunscreens.
Laser skin resurfacing can be an incredible solution for those with skin blemishes and irregularities. However, patients should consult their doctors and find out about integral aspects of aftercare management in order to achieve optimal results.
Dr Chin Yee Choong is a medical director at Dermclear Aesthetic & Laser Clinic. His area of practice is in the area of beauty aesthetics fields of dermatology and aesthetic medicine. He has had more than 12 years of experience in thread lifts and fillers and regularly travels to keep himself well-informed of the newest treatments available.
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