What are resurfacing treatments?

Tara Whitworth
Skin resurfacing refers to the removal of the top layer of skin to reveal the healthier skin underneath. This is useful in treating wrinkles, scars, dark spots, and other effects of sun and aging. There are several different skin resurfacing techniques, including laser treatments, dermabrasion, and chemical peels. Your physician can help you determine the technique that is right for you.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

The three main resurfacing treatments include dermabrasion, peels and laser therapy. The main peels include glycolic acids, TCA trichloroacetic acid, and phenol peels. They all act to exfoliate the epidermis, and increase collagen and elastin in the papillary level of the dermis. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Chemical peels, laser surgeries and microdermabrasion are procedures meant to remove damaged upper layers of skin to reveal younger, healthier skin. Some patients have found them to be effective, but results typically require repeated treatments.

One of the ways to treat wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, and uneven skin tone is to remove several layers of damaged skin, allowing new, healthier-looking skin to emerge. Procedures designed for this purpose include the following:
  • Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the face that dissolves surface layers of the epidermis. Chemical peels are currently available in three strengths:
Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) peels are the mildest and are used to remove superficial layers of skin.

Trichloracetic acid (TCA) is a stronger preparation that removes deeper layers of skin.

Phenol peels are the strongest of the three and are used to remove deep scars, wrinkles, and skin imperfections.
  • Dermabrasion involves removing several layers of epidermal skin using an abrasive tool.
  • Laser resurfacing involves using a carbon dioxide laser to treat wrinkles and smooth out facial skin.

Some skin resurfacing treatments are outpatient procedures; others may require hospitalization. However, each procedure carries unique health risks. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits thoroughly with their healthcare provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.