Deep Laser Resurfacing

Deep Laser Resurfacing

By Dr Davin Lim, Procedural Dermatologist, Brisbane & Sydney

Deep Laser Resurfacing

Deep laser resurfacing will improve your skin’s texture. We use a combination of lasers including ablative erbium & CO2. This form of resurfacing will address superficial, medium depth & deep wrinkles. This will also treat sun damage, pigmentation & provide collagen contraction to tighten your skin. This depth of resurfacing is conducted by our senior dermatologists in an operating theatre. This page will guide you through our protocols for this depth of resurfacing.


Key Points

  • This procedure addresses deep wrinkles & skin laxity
  • Level 4+ lasers can reverse skin aging by over a decade
  • Recovery is typically 8-12 days
  • Redness can persist for over 8 weeks
  • Only one session is required




What is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a rejuvenation treatment performed by dermatologists. It involves using either a CO2 laser or an erbium laser to remove wrinkles, pigmentation & sun damage. Lasers stimulate collagen production, resulting is new, fresh & youthful skin.

What can I expect after the procedure?


You can expect a marked improvement in skin quality & tone. This means less wrinkles, sun damage & pigmentation. Deep resurfacing also addresses wrinkles around the eyes & the upper lip. The best results are seen 3-6 months after the procedure.

How long will the results from laser resurfacing treatments last?


6-12 years depending on your age, lifestyle & history. Typically, we can turn back time by over one decade with this deep laser treatment.


Resurfacing ‘resets’ your skin’s chronological age. Namely we take your skin back in time. From there you will naturally age, however with regular low downtime treatments every 6-12 months we can maintain your results for a very long time.

How long does the procedure take?


60 minutes for the numbing, & typically 60 minutes for the procedure. It is performed in one of our accredited laser suites at Cutis Dermatology. We perform this procedure under conscious sedation, so you will be monitored for an additional 60-minute post laser. In total,

expect the procedure to take approximately 3 hours. 


What is the healing up time following Level 4+ resurfacing?


The typical healing time ranges from 8-12+ days, depending on your immune system recovery rate, the level & surface area. We will provide you with an accurate time frame (+/- 36 hours). Erbium laser skin resurfacing has a faster healing time compared to CO2 lasers.

Day 1-4: marked swelling, oozing

Day 5-6: swelling subsides, oozing gone

Day 6-12+: skin starts to heal


Beyond 2 weeks: your skin may still be red & sensitive. This can last beyond 12 weeks. You can apply make up after day 8-9.

We will give you an accurate estimate prior to the procedure. Redness can be terminated with healing or vascular lasers

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What should I expect after weeks after laser?


With this depth of resurfacing, you can expect skin changes such as prolonged redness & blotchy skin for up to 4 months after the procedure. This is considered normal & is part of the healing process. I normally let redness settle on its own, however if there is persistent redness, we can treat this with low powered vascular lasers.

Every week that passes by your skin should be better by 5-10%.

Is laser resurfacing painful?


We ensure patient comfort levels during this procedure. We manage this with-


  • Numbing gel
  • Nerve blocks
  • Muscle relaxants & narcotic injections, monitored by nurses


You will have very little pain, if any, post procedure.


Who performs this procedure?


Level 4+ laser resurfacing procedures are performed by our senior dermatologists. They have over 15 years of experience in this type of procedure, having performed over a thousand of these cases.


What is the aftercare following deep laser resurfacing? 


Our team will give you specific instructions as to your post-laser care. We will provide you with cleansers, moisturizers & other skincare. 


We will also guide you as to when you can resume your own skincare routine after the procedure.



When can I return to my usual skin care after laser resurfacing?


You can return to your normal skin care 3-8 weeks after laser resurfacing, earlier or later depending on your type of skin care & skin sensitivities. Our nurses will guide you accordingly.


What are things to consider prior to level 4 / 5 resurfacing?


In most cases we laser close to your lower & upper eyelid. The aim is to improve laxity around your eyes. For the first 48 hours you will have marked swelling. The swelling will partially block your vision. This is normal.


If you live by yourself, you are in no shape to look after yourself for at least 48 hours. Get some help. Stock up with food. 


Follow ups are mandatory. It is included in the fee. We follow patients up as this is a safety buffer. Follow ups means that you are in safe hands. For the first 2-3 days you cannot drive yourself to appointments (as your vision will be obstructed from the swelling).


Can I get my chest & neck done at the same time?


In most cases we do not recommend it as the area of wounding is significant. Fully ablative resurfacing of the face is one of the biggest facial procedures, with recovery outranking even deep plane face lifting. Most patients do not realize the extent of recovery. Trust us when we say it’s epic.


In exceptional cases (with patient insight) we can perform a lighter procedure on the chest & neck area.Unlike facial skin, chest & neck treatments do not require such a heavy-handed approach. Smaller fractional lasers are better & safer.


What are the limitations of deep laser resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing will not treat volume loss, marked laxity or redness. Volume loss can be addressed with dermal fillers. If you have significant laxity of the lower face, a surgical procedure is recommended.

Though lasers can provide some degree of neck tightening, it is no substitute for a surgical neck lift.

Resurfacing lasers will not treat dynamic wrinkles, or wrinkles with movement. Wrinkle lines can be improved with lasers, however simple muscle relaxants injected with care & precision can reduce dynamic wrinkling. 



Will laser resurfacing remove all my upper lip wrinkles/smokers’ lines?

If you have dynamic wrinkles, the longevity of the results will be short lived as compared to static wrinkles (wrinkles at rest). Our dermatologists will give you an idea of the type of wrinkles you exhibit. For dynamic wrinkling, the best treatments are a combination of laser, Botox & dermal fillers


What are procedures that are commonly conducted with deep laser resurfacing?

This procedure is commonly performed with-


  • Surgical upper eyelid blepharoplasty
  • Monofilament vector PDO threads


These procedures can further add to your outcome. Remember, not everyone will require these treatments, so be guided by your clinician.


What are the risks of deep laser resurfacing?

Side effects are uncommon as we monitor your progress after the procedure. They include-

  • Infection: less than 4% of cases
  • Persistent redness: 20+%, especially if you are prone to redness
  • Scarring: less than 3%


Most side effects can be mitigated with close follow up. Redness is commonly encountered after resurfacing. This is considered as a normal event. We tend to leave redness for 6-8 weeks, as blood flow improves collagen regeneration.

After 6-8 weeks, we can promptly reduce redness using vascular lasers.

What if I am not yet ready for level 4+ laser resurfacing?

Consider level 3+ resurfacing. This treatment combines non-ablative 1927, 1570 as well as CO2 lasers. The former addresses superficial concerns including pigmentation, fine lines, & sun damage, whilst CO2 treats deep wrinkles, enlarged pores & scars.

Level 3+ resurfacing is a –


  • Procedure treats superficial & deep aspects of your skin
  • Level 3+ lasers can reverse skin aging by 5-10 years
  • Level 3+ resurfacing combines various lasers aimed at different depths
  • Recovery is typically 6-7 days (much shorter than level 4+)
  • Only one session is required in most cases


This procedure is performed by our senior laser nurses.

How long will the results of deep laser resurfacing last?

6-12 years depending on your age, lifestyle & history. Typically, we can turn back time by over a decade with deep laser resurfacing. You can prolong results with ‘mini’ resurfacing treatments, chemical peels & good skincare.


Would you like to know more about resurfacing?

For more information, book an appointment with our dermatologists. If you have had a consultation with our team, our nurses will give you a preoperative phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have. Our highly skilled nurses perform a ‘mini’ version of CO2 resurfacing laser.


The final say

Deep level 4-5 laser resurfacing is about as epic as it gets for skin rejuvenation. Lasers essentially plane down the skin to the mid layer, in turn removing wrinkles, sun-damaged skin, pigment, pores, warts & age spots. Only one session is required. It is a big job, with epic recovery but epic results.

This type of skin resurfacing is considered as ‘once in a lifetime’ as we typically take your skin’s age back by up to 2 decades. You can maintain results with simple procedures including mini non ablative laser resurfacing, peels & good skin care.

The biggest misconception of laser resurfacing is that it is THE procedure of choice for improving skin aging. True, your skin will be better post laser, however, don’t forget volume replacement. Laser resurfacing does not replace volume. For a balanced outcome, don’t underestimate the power of dermal fillers.



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