Laser Skin Resurfacing Side Effects

By dustinheringer on February 07, 2019

Laser skin resurfacingLaser resurfacing removes damaged skin and promotes the growth of collagen and healthy skin tissues. At Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery, we offer laser skin resurfacing to address imperfections such as fine lines, blemishes, age spots, and uneven skin tone. This procedure is ideal for patients who want to refresh their appearance without undergoing surgery, or those who wish to further enhance the results of blepharoplasty or a facelift.

Although laser skin resurfacing is non-surgical, patients should understand that the skin will require time to fully recover from treatment. During this recovery time, side effects will develop. Side effects are a normal reaction to laser resurfacing, and should not be cause for concern. Our doctors prepare patients for the most common laser skin resurfacing side effects prior to treatment at our Scottsdale, AZ practice.


Any time that a part of the body is damaged or injured, swelling is a side effect. The body needs nutrients to heal, and these are passed throughout the body through the blood.

Following a surgical procedure or a cosmetic treatment such as laser skin resurfacing, extra blood will flow to the affected area to assist with healing. All the extra blood and fluids in the area cause inflammation, or swelling.

Swelling will likely be most notable within a day or two after laser resurfacing. Inflammation should gradually subside, but it can take a week or two for swelling to dissipate completely.

Redness and Sensitivity

The skin will be more sensitive after laser skin resurfacing, and will also have a red appearance. This side effect is like having a minor to moderate sunburn.

During the first week of recovery, patients should avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible. After the initial healing period is over, it is still important to protect the skin from damaging UV rays. We advise patients to apply sunscreen any time they will be outside.


Most patients do not report significant pain as they recover from laser skin resurfacing, but skin irritation is common. This irritation will probably be most noticeable during the first 12 to 72 hours of recovery.

The skin will probably feel tight, dry, and itchy. Despite the temptation, patients should avoid scratching or rubbing at the skin. After the first 24 hours of recovery, patients should wash their face three to four times and day, and apply ointment after each wash. The ointment should moisturize the skin and soothe irritation.


The goal of laser resurfacing treatment is to eliminate damaged skin, so peeling is a natural part of the process. It typically takes about a week of recovery before the skin begins to peel. Once the skin stops peeling, the initial phase of recovery is considered complete. The skin may still appear slightly red for another month or two, but at this point patients can resume wearing makeup, which should easily conceal any remaining redness.

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Laser skin resurfacing can address skin imperfections to give it a fresher, more youthful appearance. If you’d like to learn more about this non-surgical treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience. You can schedule a personal consultation with one of our experienced doctors at Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery by calling (480) 949-5990.

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