What is Laser Resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing, also known as a laser peel, is an excellent treatment for combatting the cumulative effects of sun exposure, environmental toxins, and lifestyle choices that take their toll on our skin as we age. Many of the most common and bothersome signs of facial aging, such as irregular pigmentation, lines and wrinkles, uneven texture, and laxity can all achieve moderate to dramatic improvement in as little as one treatment.

Laser resurfacing is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes laser energy to safely remove (ablate) damaged outer layers of the skin. Treatment depth is determined by the physician and will depend on your skin condition, desired degree of improvement, and available recovery time.

While there are many different types of ablative lasers used to perform skin peels, Dr. Schwartz uses Sciton’s dual-mode Erbium-YAG laser for its unmatched precision, safety, and treatment versatility. Erbium lasers have long been considered the gold standard for safe and effective skin rejuvenation on all skin types without the risk of hypopigmentation that’s inherent to CO2 laser treatments.

What skin conditions can laser resurfacing improve?

The Erbium laser’s adjustable treatment depth and high energy absorption by the water in our skin cells make it uniquely suited for eliminating the finest lines down to the deepest wrinkles anywhere on the face, including the delicate areas around the eyes and mouth.

The following skin conditions can be treated with laser resurfacing:

  • Light and deep wrinkles
  • Fine lines and “crepey” effect around the eyes
  • Festoons and lower eyelid laxity
  • Deep vertical lines around the mouth/lips
  • Actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis
  • Age spots, freckles, and irregular pigmentation
  • Rough texture
  • Dull complexion

What types of laser peels does Dr. Schwartz offer?

Dr. Schwartz offers three levels of full-field ablative laser resurfacing – the NanoLaserPeel, MicroLaserPeel, and Deep Laser Resurfacing. The peel best suited to address your skin concerns will depend on your skin condition, your aesthetic goals, and the ratio of improvement to recovery time you’re most comfortable with.

Procedure Laser Type Peel Depth/Type Recovery Period Primary Skin Concerns
NanoLaserPeel Er: YAG, 2940nm Ablative only 10µm
No downtime Dull complexion, uneven pigmentation
MicroLaserPeel Er: YAG, 2940nm Ablative only 20-50µm
Return to normal activities in 3-5 days Light-med wrinkles, uneven texture, keratosis, discoloration
Deep Laser Resurfacing Er: YAG, 2940nm Ablative + optional Non-ablative Up to 800µm Full-field Return to normal activities in 2-3 weeks Deep lines and wrinkles, rough texture, irregular pigmentation, lower periorbital laxity

Light and medium depth treatments, such as the NanoLaserPeel and MicroLaserPeel, resurface the skin more superficially than deep peels and are most often performed in series to achieve progressive improvement. While two or more light to medium depth peels may be needed to reach your end goal, each treatment will provide noticeable improvement with relatively short downtime.

Deep laser resurfacing is a great option for patients who can afford a longer recovery period and desire the most improvement possible from a single treatment. The level of correction achievable in conditions of advanced facial aging, such as deep vertical lines around the lips and mouth, a crepey effect and laxity around the eyes, and generalized deep facial wrinkling, is unmatched by any other laser resurfacing procedure. In addition to pure ablation, deep resurfacing can optionally deliver independently-tuned deep dermal heating (non-ablative energy) to tighten loose skin and stimulate collagen production at deeper tissue depths than with ablation alone. Deep Resurfacing can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or in combination with a facelift or blepharoplasty for a truly dramatic transformation.

How does laser resurfacing work?

NanoLaser Peel, MicroLaserPeel, and Deep Resurfacing are full-field ablative procedures. To understand how these procedures work and how they differ from the other resurfacing procedures Dr. Schwartz offers (Halo and ProFractional), it’s important to understand the key terms used to differentiate laser resurfacing technologies.

Energy Delivery Pattern: Full-field vs Fractional

  • Full-field resurfacing treats 100% of the skin within a targeted treatment area.
  • Fractional resurfacing treats only a portion of the skin within a targeted treatment area by depositing laser energy in a grid-like pattern.

Laser skin resurfacing Manhattan

Mechanism of Action: Ablative vs Non-ablative

  • Ablative treatments remove the outer layers of the skin to trigger healthy new skin to grow in its place. As the laser beam passes over the skin, it rapidly heats the water in the skin cells to the point of vaporization, instantaneously eliminating treated tissue in a clean, controlled manner. The physician precisely tailors treatment depth by adjusting the laser’s fluence (energy output) and the number of times, or passes, the beam travels over a given area of skin.
  • Non-ablative treatments leave the skin’s surface completely in-tact and work by deeply heating tissue without exceeding the ablation threshold. By depositing “sub-ablative” levels of energy into the skin, non-ablative treatments tighten and smooth skin from beneath the surface. The laser beam’s heat causes loose, disorganized collagen fibers to contract and tighten while simultaneously stimulating new collagen production in the deep dermis. Treatment depth is precisely set by the physician to optimize the balance of results and downtime for each patient.

Laser skin peel New York City

To learn more about the fractional resurfacing, please explore the Halo and ProFractional treatment pages.

What should I expect before, during, and after my laser resurfacing treatment?

During your initial consultation, Dr. Schwartz, will listen to your concerns and treatment goals and answer any questions you may have. After a brief skin exam and complimentary Visia complexion analysis, Dr. Schwartz will explain your treatment options and build a personalized treatment plan based upon your specific and individualized needs.

On the day of your appointment, you may be asked to arrive at our office 45 minutes to an hour prior to your scheduled treatment time if your procedure necessitates the use of topical or local anesthesia. Treatment times typically range between 30 minutes and an hour depending upon the location and size of the area being treated.

Immediately following your procedure, Dr. Schwartz will apply a light barrier cream to keep the skin moist and speed recovery. Superficial peels like the NanoLaserPeel heal the fastest, allowing most patients to resume their normal skincare routine, including the application of makeup, as soon as 24-48 hours after treatment.

Recovery time is generally proportional to peel depth, so the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery period. As you heal, the upper layers of the skin will take on a bronzed appearance and then shed away, revealing brighter, smoother, younger looking skin below.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark H. Schwartz or to find out more about laser skin resurfacing treatment options.