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Learn About the Risks of Laser resurfacing

Updated on April 4, 2012

We have all heard about the wonders laser resurfacing can do, but are there potential risks with this treatment? The answer to this is yes, and if you are considering having this treatment done, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the potential risks.

Potential Risks

Some of the risks associated with ablative laser treatments include ectropion, scarring, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, viral or fungal infections, acne, and skin irritation, such as itching, redness, and swelling.

The term ectropion refers to a condition where the lower eyelid turns inside out so that the inside of the eyelid is visible. This may be one of the most severe risks, and the only way to correct this is through cosmetic surgery. Scarring also may occur, and you should be aware that if you undergo an ablative laser treatment, you could end up with permanent scarring. Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation refer to areas of the skin that either darken or lighten because of the treatment, so you may end up with darker or lighter patches of skin. Hyperpigmentation may go away without any treatment, but hypopigmentation may be difficult to treat.

Ablative laser treatments also may leave your skin more vulnerable to fungal or viral infections, and the most common infection is the herpes virus. This means that it's not uncommon to get cold sores after ablative laser treatments because the virus already may be present when the treatment is performed. Skin irritation is another risk associated with this type of treatment, and you'll find that there's some swelling, but this should subside within a few days. Skin redness, however, may last for months after the treatment.

Think Twice

There are cases where doctors may discourage patients from having laser treatments done, and if you've taken acne medicines within the last year or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, this may not be the best treatment for you. If you suffer from diabetes, an autoimmune disease, or a compromised immune system, you also may not be a good candidate.

The benefits of this type of treatment are well known, but it's best to do your research on all the potential risks before you take the plunge. Be sure to speak to your doctor or dermatologist about all the options available to you before you decide on one particular treatment.


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