Fully ablative resurfacing is the most aggressive type of skin resurfacing procedure Dr Cormac performs. Because of the level of expertise however, the incidence of side effects is low. With any laser resurfacing treatment, complications are possible and in fully ablative laser these include the following;
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (skin darkening)
Although more common on darker skin types, this is the most common side effect. If the aftercare instructions are strictly adhered to, you are more likely to avoid this type of complication. If you do suffer from skin darkening as a result of laser resurfacing, it will usually spontaneously improve; however it can be expedited by the addition of topical treatment which we will advise on. Depending on the severity of the initial inflammation, it can take anything from a few weeks to 6 months to completely disappear. Sun exposure is the most common aggravating factor and this is why strict sun avoidance is important in the first few weeks.
True Hypopigmentation and Pseudo-Hypopigmentation (skin lightening)
True hypopigmentation occurs when there has been damage to melanin producing cells following the laser treatment. This is rare with fully ablative resurfacing as the new skin is repopulated with new melanin producing cells from the deeper structures of the skin. If True Hypopigmentation occurs, it can take many months to recover and can indeed be permanent.
Pseudo-Hypopigmentation is not actually hypopigmentation, rather is an apparent skin lightening that we appreciate due to the light reflection form newly formed collagen. This typically reduces as the new melanin is produced following (hopefully) cautious sun exposure.
If only part of your face is treated with laser resurfacing, the new skin may be subtly different in shade to the surrounding skin, leading to a visible line of demarcation between treated and untreated areas. Although less likely in lighter skin types, we usually prefer to avoid part treatment for this reason and prefer to treat the whole face. It is important to note that if lighter, freckled skin is part treated there will also be a demarcation between untreated freckled skin and treated freckle free skin.