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Here are my top 10 tips on cosmetic skin resurfacing, in no particular order. My philosophy is to err on the side of safety. You may get away with breaking the rules. You may not.

These are my opinions, your doctor may feel differently.

  1. Top home treatment for skin resurfacing—hands down—are prescription retinoids (Refissa, Renova) in a high enough strength (0.05% or higher)
  2. Top home treatment for skin resurfacing without a prescription is glycolic acid containing skin care in a high enough strength to do some good (8,10 or 15%)
  3. Remember to stop your retinoids and glycolic acid 3-5 days before a light chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or facial waxing unless you like the scabbed up look.
  4. Don’t expect more from the less aggressive treatments than you are likely to get. Fresh, glowing skin with reduced acne and some blending of pigment—yes. Removal of wrinkles and acne scars, growths—no.
  5. If you are thinking of doing a deep chemical peel and have any degree of natural pigmentation, or any ancestors even 3 generations back that have any degree of natural pigmentation—think twice. And then think again.
  6. When a male doctor tells you that “you will be a little crusted for a couple of days” he usually means “you won’t be comfortable going out in public for a week or more”.
  7. For any aggressive skin resurfacing procedure, it is almost always better to do your whole face instead of just a segment. That way if you do get any color change it will at least blend somewhat into the other areas.
  8. Be very careful with ablative CO2 laser skin resurfacing, even fractional, on the neck and chest as the risk of scarring is higher on those areas. And the scarring can involve the whole area not just a small section.
  9. If you have had an ablative laser (CO2) skin resurfacing procedure, fractional or non-fractional, and are having any problems, such as increasing pain, persistent redness or sensitivity, blisters, insist that you are seen and evaluated by the doctor. Early treatment of complications can reduce scarring.
  10. Take the bleaching and sun protection instructions seriously. And follow them.


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