What Is a Laser Facial?

by Pamela Miller ; Updated July 18, 2017

A client receives a laser facial on a table in a medical salon.

Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images

Pesky brown spots due to sun damage and fine lines may present themselves on the canvas of your face, but that doesn't mean you have to allow them to stay there. A laser facial can address these bad boys, but this type of facial may not feel as relaxing as the typical spa facial complete with facial massage and soothing creams. The payoff is that a laser has the potential to deliver real results.

Types of Lasers

Depending on your skin care needs, a dermatologist or skin care specialist will select the right laser for your skin. Non-ablative lasers work to address skin imperfections without causing a lot of damage to the skin's surface. Ablative lasers, on the other hand, work to address imperfections, but they are more aggressive. Ablative lasers may require downtime, much like a surgery. On the other hand, non-ablative lasers, in many cases, don't require any downtime.

Seeing Results

With both non-ablative and ablative lasers, patience will be needed before seeing results. With non-ablative lasers, it may take a few weeks to see any changes, as these types of lasers slowly bring imperfections, such as brown spots, to the surface of the skin. Skin will require healing after being treated with an ablative laser. With both types, more than one treatment may be necessary to achieve desired results.

Laser Facial Process

Before beginning the process, a dermatologist or skin care specialist will cleanse your face. Your eyes may be covered with pads or special sunglasses that prevent the laser from damaging your eyes. A numbing cream will be applied to your skin before applying the laser. If you're receiving ablative laser treatment on your entire face, sedation may be recommended.

Skin Changes

An ablative laser removes layers of skin, while a non-ablative laser does not. Both types of lasers damage collagen. This may sound like a bad thing, but the process of damaging collagen sends your skin the message to repair itself by building new collagen. When the new collagen forms, skin will appear healthier and fresher. The skin may also appear tighter and more rejuvenated.

Follow-Up Care

After receiving an ablative laser treatment facial, your skin will be in need of lots of rest and relaxation. The skin may look and feel raw, itchy, and sore. Crusts may form on the skin during the healing process. It's important not to pick at the skin during this time because it could cause scarring. An ointment may be provided by your doctor. Elevating your head at night may aid in the healing process. After a non-ablative laser facial, the skin may be a bit red and slightly swollen, but applying makeup and going back to work will all be within reason.

Photo Credits

  • Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.