Thinking about getting a laser facial treatment? Read this first.

If you're a lass who likes to nick off and do fancy things to your skin, chances are you've heard of laser facial treatments. Yes? Familiar? Great! Know much about 'em?

That's okay! Look, it's all a bit bloody confusing.

While laser facials are one of the most popular treatments getting around, many of us have exactly no clue about what they actually do or what's involved.

Does it fade pigmentation? Does it clear out all those grubby pores? Smooth skin? Make it nice 'n JUICY?


Watch: What does a carbon facial look like? Amy Clark finds out. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

That's why we decided to go straight to the professionals to get an idea of why they do and who they're for.

We spoke to cosmetic nurse, nutritionist and naturopath Madeline Calfas to tell us everything we didn't know about laser resurfacing and laser facelifts.

What is a laser facial?

Alrighty - first things first, yeah? WTF even is a laser resurfacing treatment?

According to Calfas, the term 'laser resurfacing' is thrown around a lot these days, which is why things are a little bit confusing for all us folk.

While treatments such as fractional lasers, radiofrequency devices, needling treatments and plasma treatments are also commonly referred to as 'skin resurfacing' treatments, Calfas says laser resurfacing is a very different thing.

Listen: Why you should use lasers to treat your face. Post continues below.

"These treatments cannot and will not produce the same amazing and safe and, importantly, permanent results that a classic full-field laser resurfacing treatment with an advanced Erbium YAG laser performed by experienced hands will certainly give you," she said.

Ah, the old Erbium YAG laser. What's that?

"We use the analogy of an old wooden desk that has been knocked about, marked, scratched, stained and dented," said Calfs. "You could try to improve its appearance by cleaning it and filling in the dents and scratches, but wouldn’t it be a vastly better result if you got the sander and sanded it back to a brand new surface?"


Wait, we know the answer to this one! YES. Yes, you will get a better result!

"Well, this is what we do, the face is the desk while the Erbium laser is our sander with which we cleanly remove the damaged layers of the face back to a healthy and clean layer of skin. Within days a new layer of cells will have covered the entire surface of the face, giving it a new, clean and unmarked surface."

Bottom line: laser resurfacing Gets. Sh**t. Done. 

Wait. Is it the same as a 'laser facelift'?

If you've been having a squiz at the different things you can do for the skin on your face, you might've seen 'laser facial' pop up a few times. This, pals, is usually laser resurfacing.

"A properly carried out laser resurfacing procedure will induce a strong amount of skin tightening and lifting, more than any other procedure or technology can produce, and is second only to a surgical facelift in benefits," said Calfas.

"We call this a 'laser facelift', and you will achieve this additional benefit as part of the procedure results."


So, what's involved in the procedure?

"Patients are comfortably managed by a form of twilight sedation from an intramuscular injection, and complete facial anaesthesia from a series of numbing nerve blocks," said Calfas. "You will be comfortable and pain-free throughout the 90 minute procedure."

That all sounds pretty doable.

When it comes to what's actually involved in the procedure, basically an intense beam of light energy (laser) will be directed at your skin in order to destroy the outer layer of skin (epidermis). Fun!

It sounds 11/10 terrifying, but at the same time, the laser also heats the underlying skin (dermis), which will encourage some of that glorious collagen production. Meaning? Better skin tone and texture. 

Is there any downtime?

What's the go with the downtime? Cause the whole burning-layers-off-your-skin thing sounds pretty hectic...

"The laser cleanly removes the damaged layers of skin by vaporising them, so there will not be the need for dressings afterwards," said Calfas.

"Immediately post-procedure your face will look red and puffy but quite clean. You will need to keep it clean and continually apply petroleum jelly or paw paw ointment as directed. Both you and the person taking you home will be instructed on aftercare procedure but you will already have been given instruction sheets previously."


Calfas said for the next day or two you may feel a stinging sensation like a sunburn over your face, however there should be no pain beyond that and it will usually subside. 

Who is suitable for the procedure?

Laser resurfacing is a bit of an all-rounder kinda treatment and is suitable for men and women of any age, and it targets pretty much every skin concern, ever - so, there's that.

"This is the treatment of choice for a wide range of conditions including all grades of sun damage, keratoses, early skin cancer changes, age changes, skin laxity, loss of elasticity, all severities of acne or other forms of scarring, difficult pigmentation problems, and many other conditions," said Calfas.

"Of course, one of the most common requests is by patients of all ages with tired, dull, or lined skin or large pores looking for that impressive and very long lasting cosmetic improvement of their complexion. Even heavily lined faces can be greatly improved for many years!"

To check you're suitable for a laser resurfacing treatment, it's obviously best to check in with a skin professional and they will be able to assess your skin type.

"Darker skin types are generally at risk of reactive hyper-pigmentation and are best avoided," said Calfas.

What kind of results will you see?

Once everything calms down a bit and begins to heal, you'll notice a difference in your skin quality and appearance. 

The best part? The effects can last for years. 

"There are few treatments that can boast long-term or permanent results, but this is one that can do that. It is common to get 10 years or longer, and even then your skin will not have returned to its pre-laser state." 

"Some of our patients might come back at eight or 10 years requesting a repeat treatment usually to boost the skin tightening that they had experienced."

Hold up. Are there any risks or side effects with laser facials?

"The possible risks are infection, keloid scarring and pigmentation changes," said Calfas. "However, these are either preventable or manageable."

Cool, cool, cool.

How much does laser resurfacing cost?

It certainly ain't cheap, but if you're looking for a hardcore treatment that will refresh and boost the appearance of your skin, it could be for you.

"At my clinic, the total package is $6,000, including the procedure and all post-care. We are often told by our patients that this cost was saved by them from treatments that they no longer required. However, they mostly love the many years of looking great!"

Have you ever had a laser facial treatment before? Would you try it? Share with us in the comment section below. 

Feature image: Getty