Photo: 123RF

Rough skin, open pores and acne — these woes have been plaguing me since puberty (please don’t remind me of how long ago that feels). And if you’re like me, these problems don’t just magically disappear after you’ve passed that troublesome adolescent stage.

That’s why some of us still suffer from pimples and breakouts even after our teenage years. Sometimes, all we need to do is to reach for one of these acne busting spot treatments, dot it on the affected areas and viola! They’ll be gone in a day or two. Other times, the never-say-die ones just refuse to go away (how frustrating!).

That’s why when my facialist told me that lasers, specifically resurfacing lasers, can help to achieve a smoother mien and tighten pores, I was immediately keen. But as a laser newbie (or should I say noobie), there are things to take note of, like how painful the procedure is and how much downtime is involved.

Read on to find out the 9 must-knows before going for a resurfacing laser.



#1 It improves the skin’s appearance

There are different names for resurfacing lasers but they generally do wonders to bumpy skin or for those who’re concerned with acne and wrinkles. “They help to resurface and smoothen the rough skin textures that may be caused by acne scarring or wrinkles, just to name a few examples,” explains Medical Physician at IDS Clinic Dr YX Lum.


#2 It’s not a facial

Whether it’s for destressing, hydrating or anti-ageing, facials typically involve steps such as cleansing, extraction, masks and massages. Lasers, however, skip most of that but still do more for the skin. “Facials are very different as the purpose of lasers is to resurface the skin,” says Dr YX Lum. “And they do not resurface the skin.”

Photo: 123RF

#3 It promises a myriad of benefits

Besides ironing out rough skin textures, resurfacing lasers offer other advantages too. They’re also great in illuminating the complexion and boosting the collagen levels in our skin. “They tighten pores, brighten skin, improve the appearances of wrinkles or acne scars and they aim to achieve more youthful looking skin as more collagen is stimulated in the skin,” explains Dr YX Lum.


#5 Those with darker skin tones should exercise more caution

While most of us are suitable to undergo lasers, Dr YX Lum reminds: “Patients who have a darker complexion may encounter a higher risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation with these procedures. So the physicians operating the laser machines should be careful with the settings.”


#6 You’ll need more than one session to see full results

If you’re expecting your skin to be completely poreless, crease free and smoothened out in just one resurfacing laser treatment, then you’re reaching for the stars. What you’ll need is multiple sessions to see the full effects.

“I would recommend starting a 6-month programme first with each laser done a month apart,” advises Dr YX Lum. “Patients typically see brightening effects after a session. Significant resurfacing results will be visible from two to three treatments in.”



#7 Post-treatment care is a MUST

The number one thing to do after undergoing a resurfacing laser is to avoid the sun. Why? “Make sure you apply a liberal amount of sunscreen after your treatment to prevent complications such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says Dr YX Lum.

And when you’re back home, put away any harsh products that may irritate your skin, such as facial peels or retinoids.


#8 Some pain is inevitable

Resurfacing lasers avoid our eye areas for obvious reasons — the skin around our eyes is more fragile than the rest of our face. So post procedure, you may look like you wore sunglasses to the beach and got a really bad sunburn.

Before the procedure, your physician will apply a layer of numbing cream and let it sit on your face for about 30 minutes before the laser begins. It shouldn’t be unbearable during the procedure but after that, skin might have that scrubbed bare and slightly raw and painful sensation. If you’ve suffered from sunburns before, that’s roughly how you’ll feel on your face after the procedure.


#9 Be prepared to stay in

Staying at home is a wise decision because you’ll want to avoid the sun and get plenty of rest. Not only will your face appear red, but also, it’ll feel painful when you laugh too hard or do exaggerated facial expressions.

After a day or two, the top layer of your skin turns from red to brownish before it peels. This means that if your job requires you to meet clients everyday, you’ll need to plan for your leave in advance.