Upper Lip Laser Resurfacing Healing Process
Since 2009 Dr. Zemplenyi has been the first surgeon in the Seattle area to use the Cynosure SmartSkin TM micro-ablative, fractionated CO2 laser in gentler, low-energy doses to sequentially treat wrinkles such as those around the eyes (crow’s feet). Treatments performed using lower power settings result into a faster recovery– three to six days after each treatment. Fractional coverage of the treated skin surface using fractionated CO2 laser not only allows for faster recovery but also diminishes on the potential complications such as scarring and delayed hypo-pigmentation (abnormally white, blotchy skin). While patients may require several treatments to achieve a pleasing result, the recovery process is ideal for the person not able to take time off work as is required with more powerful laser settings. Higher power settings are still utilized for more resistant problems such as the upper lip smoker lines and acne scars. SmartSkin TM CO2 laser is imported from Italy and is also known in the United States as a DOT SmartXide CO2 laser. The results obtained by this laser system are comparable to other fractionated CO2 lasers such as Fraxel CO2 TM and Lumenis Active FX TM & Deep FX TM lasers as well as the Sciton Pro-fractional TM erbium laser.
52-year-old woman who does not smoke cigarettes was bothered by the “smoker’s line” on her upper lip. She underwent fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing of her upper lip. Dr Zemplenyi usually places patients undergoing laser resurfacing on an anti-viral to prevent reactivation of herpes. Shown is her preoperative photo as well as her healing on day 2, 5, 18 and 25. Note that by day eighteen her healing process has advanced enough to allow for full camouflage of the new, pink, smooth, resurfaced skin with make-up allowing for normal social activities.
The upper lip is raw with some oozing from the resurfaced area. There may be some stinging and stinging in the raw area. Oozing of a yellow liquid (serum) occurs and may form crusts over the treated area. Protective ointments and moisturizers should be applied to the area to keep it moist and keep crusting to a minimum. The crusts, if they form, should not be scratched or picked at to keep the area from scarring. It is important to prevent the area from drying and it should also be cleaned several times a day with saline.
Toward the end of the first week, the redness and weeping of fluid has decreased but it is still important to keep the area moist and clean. Make-up should not yet be applied to the area since parts of it are still raw without skin covering.
The area may be peeling and should still be liberally moisturized.
Shown here with camouflage, by the second week the skin healing has advanced enough to allow make-up coverage of the new pink, smooth, resurfaced surface. The area may be peeling and should still be liberally moisturized.
After healing, the pinkness will gradually fade over the next months. The new sensitive, rejuvenated skin should be protected daily with a sunscreen that Dr. Zemplenyi will recommend. The still pink upper lip is now smooth without the lines present before the laser resurfacing.