The Side Effects of Fractional Laser Treatment

Fractional laser treatment is a popular cosmetic procedure that is used to improve the appearance of aging and sun-damaged skin. This non-invasive treatment works by delivering laser energy to the skin in a fractionated manner, which creates microscopic wounds that stimulate the body’s natural healing process. This process ultimately results in smoother, younger-looking skin.

However, as with any medical procedure, there are potential side effects to consider. Here are some of the most common side effects of fractional laser treatment:

1. Redness and Swelling

Immediately after the treatment, you can expect some redness and swelling in the treated area. This is a normal response to the laser treatment and typically subsides within a few hours to a couple of days. During this time, it is recommended to avoid sun exposure and to use a cold compress to help reduce swelling.

2. Itching and Tingling

Some patients may experience itching and tingling in the treated area. This is also a normal response to the laser treatment and should subside within a few days. If the itching or tingling becomes intense, you should contact your doctor.

3. Crusting and Scabbing

In some cases, the treated area may develop crusting and scabbing. This is a normal part of the healing process and typically subsides within a few days. During this time, it is important to keep the area clean and avoid picking at the scabs, as this can lead to scarring.

4. Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation

In rare cases, some patients may experience hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) in the treated area. This can occur as a result of the laser treatment damaging the skin’s pigment-producing cells. These side effects typically resolve on their own within a few months, but in some cases, they may be permanent. To minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, it is important to avoid sun exposure and to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

5. Scarring

In rare cases, some patients may develop scarring as a result of the laser treatment. This can occur if the treated area becomes infected, if the scabs are picked, or if the patient has a tendency to form keloids. To minimize the risk of scarring, it is important to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions and to avoid sun exposure and picking at the scabs.

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