What is facial laser resurfacing?

Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center experts deliver the latest innovations in laser and light treatments for optimal results in your skin’s appearance.

What is laser & light-based facial treatment?

Laser and light-based facial treatment, also known as facial laser resurfacing or laser skin treatment, can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and pigmentation, such as freckles and sunspots, through direct, short, concentrated, pulsating beams of light. Also known as lasabrasion, laser peel and laser vaporization, this skin resurfacing technique covers a wide range of skin problems including facial aging, age spots, pigment changes, redness and other conditions.

They also range in aggressiveness and downtime, depending on the laser- or light-based device used. Some treatments (non-ablative lasers) require no downtime while others, (such as the Fraxel® fractional CO2 laser) require some downtime.

Why choose us?

Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center can help you explore options to rejuvenate or refine your appearance - and your self confidence. To get the best results from any cosmetic procedure, you need the highest quality team. You can rely on our experts, who are nationally ranked for their expertise and care.

Learn more about Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

How to Prepare

How to Prepare

Am I candidate for laser & light-based facial treatment?

You are an ideal candidate for facial laser skin resurfacing if you have fine lines or wrinkles around or under the eyes, forehead, or mouth; scars from acne; or skin that needs correcting after a facelift.

Laser and light-based skin resurfacing is a good option if you:

  • Are physically healthy.
  • Have skin that is fair to light brown in color (darker skinned patients run greater risks of hyperpigmentation).
  • Have a positive outlook and specific, but realistic goals in mind for improving your appearance.

The best way to determine if you are a candidate for laser and light-based treatment is through a consultation with an expert at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

How do I prepare for laser and light-based facial treatment?

Preparation for laser and light-based treatment at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center includes:

  • Avoiding sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing and any chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.
  • Avoiding perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.
  • Avoiding aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.
  • Taking photographs of treated areas before and after your procedure to evaluate improvement.

Experts at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center will also give careful consideration to your natural skin color and type to determine the treatment best suited for you to minimize the risk of developing additional pigmentation or a loss of pigmentation (whitening of the skin).

What to Expect

What to Expect

How is laser and light-based facial treatment performed?

Laser and light-based treatment at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. The laser technique directs short, concentrated, pulsating beams of light at problem areas of the skin, such as fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, forehead and mouth or to treat acne scarring and pigmentation issues.

There are primarily two types of laser and light-based treatments:

  1. Ablative.
  2. Non-ablative.

Ablative laser and light-based treatment is typically performed under general anesthesia and/or sedation, while non-ablative treatment does not require general anesthesia or sedation because it is less invasive and causes minimal discomfort.

What are the different types of laser and light-based facial treatment?

Fraxel Repair
(Available at Cleveland Clinic's main campus)

The Fraxel repair is a fractional ablative CO2 laser that targets damaged, aging skin deep in the skin and allows it to be replaced by new, healthy skin. By doing this it improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and scars. The Fraxel technology is one of a kind and revolutionary allowing the deepest layers of skin to be treated, but only treating a fraction or percentage of the total skin area allowing for rapid healing. This allows for less downtime, safer treatments, and excellent results. It improves the overall skin texture, color, and tone, in addition to tightening the skin.

Fraxel Dual
(Available at Avon - Richard E. Jacobs Health Center & Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center)

The Fraxel dual is a resurfacing laser used to improve skin texture, color, and tone. It has 2 wavelengths, a superficial and deep wavelength, allowing your skin to be treated with one device. The 1927 nm more superficial wavelength improves sun induced freckles, melasma, hyperpigmentation, age spots, and superficial wrinkles. It is safe in all skin types.

The 1550 nm is the deeper wavelength that improves overall skin color, tone and texture, including wrinkles and scars (surgical or acne scars). It treats a small fractional of the total skin (15-25% per treatment) allowing for rapid healing. Patients usually require 4-6 treatments for optimal results.

Smart Skin
(Available at Avon - Richard E. Jacobs Health Center)

The SmartSkin is a fractional resurfacing CO2 laser that helps tighten and improve the texture of the skin. It delivers tiny laser pulses into the skin, heating columns of tissue. These columns of tissue damaged by the laser are replaced by normal, healthy tissue allowing the skin to look more smooth, youthful, and healthy in addition to providing skin tightening. This device can be customized for each patient to address specific concerns and to be more or less aggressive depending on what the patient needs and how long their recovery time is.

Cynosure Affirm
(Available at Cleveland Clinic's main campus)

The Affirm is a nonablative resurfacing laser that improves the texture of the skin and helps the appearance of scars and overall skin texture. It does not break the surface of the skin but rather delivers heat to the deeper layers of the skin allowing for rapid recovery and improvement of overall texture and tightening of the skin.



What results can I expect?

The results of laser and light-based treatment vary depending on the technology or treatment prescribed for you at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

These rejuvenation procedures can produce a marked improvement in skin conditions and your overall appearance. Technologies and treatments available are advancing rapidly and you may be surprised at the improvement that can be achieved by relatively simple procedures.

When properly performed, ablative laser and light-based treatment can visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines, and in some cases, deeper wrinkles. Yet, because ablative treatment targets the skin’s whole tissue layer of the entire face, burning away the epidermis layer of skin, your face may look and feel as if you have a severe sunburn. Your skin may be raw, ooze or blister for several days and then, once healed, may be red for several weeks.

Unlike ablative treatments, non-ablative treatments cause minimal discomfort following the procedure. Most people are generally able to return to their daily activities immediately, although they may appear “flushed.”

Even though the impact on the skin is less dramatic, non-ablative lasers are still able to achieve substantial improvement. For the best results, multiple non-ablative treatments may be necessary, usually spaced several weeks apart. In addition, continued treatments are often required to maintain results.

The results of both types of laser resurfacing are particularly noticeable after the initial healing and for about a year following the procedure. Follow-up with an expert at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is the best way to ensure long-lasting results from ablative and non-ablative procedures. View our laser facial treatment before and after photos to see results from actual patients.

What is involved in recovery?

Your recovery from laser and light-based treatment will vary depending on the type of procedure you have. Many people plan to stay home for a few days after ablative laser treatment to decrease the chance of infection and to promote proper healing. After surgery, the area of the face that has been treated will weep similarly to an open blister.

Typically, within several days, the weeping will subside, and the treated area will appear as if it were sunburned. The treated area will remain red for several weeks. After one week, however, many people apply camouflage makeup and return to their normal activities. Redness will fade over six weeks to two months.

Recovery and downtime from non-ablative treatment is minimal, with most people experiencing only a “flushed” look and able to return to their daily activities right after the procedure.

Is laser and light-based treatment safe?

All surgical procedures carry some risk.

Ablative laser and light-based treatments can possibly be complicated by:

  • Infections.
  • Cold sores (herpes simplex).
  • Darkening of the skin (particularly if exposed to the sun after surgery) Milia (small white elevated cysts of superficial skin) or cysts.

Non-ablative techniques can possibly cause:

  • Temporary hyperpigmentation (skin darkening).
  • Slight blisters.
  • Possibility of eye damage resulting from laser exposure to the eye itself.
Insurance & Financing

Insurance & Financing

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures.

Please call 216.444.4004 and ask to speak with one of our financial representatives who can explain payment options including CareCredit financing.