What are possible laser resurfacing complications?

  • Milia, which are small, white bumps, may appear in the laser-treated areas during healing (up to a month after treatment). These may be removed by gentle cleansing with a washcloth.
  • Hyperpigmentation, and more rarely, hypopigmentation, may result in the laser-treated areas. In general, the hyperpigmented areas may be treated with bleaching cream to speed fading of the pigment. In addition, the patient is advised to use broad-spectrum sunscreens for weeks before and after the treatment to prevent pigmentary changes.
  • Reactivation of a herpes simplex cold sore may occur, especially after laser skin resurfacing around the mouth. You can prevent this by asking your doctor for an antiviral medication, which you can begin taking before your surgery and continue taking 7 to 10 days after laser resurfacing.
  • You can also prevent bacterial infections by taking an antibiotic prior to the surgery and continuing to take it for 7 to 10 days afterwards.
  • You should expect swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Oral steroids can be prescribed to manage swelling around the eyes.
  • Scarring after laser skin resurfacing, although very rare, may occur in laser-treated areas.
  • Cessation of smoking is highly recommended because smoking is known to have harmful effects on the healing process.

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