Your Skin. Care.

Laser Skin Resurfacing Services
in Santa Monica CA

A dermatologist performing a laser skin resurfacing procedure on a patient in Santa Monica, CA

Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center of Santa Monica offers the latest in advanced laser technology to treat many different skin concerns. Laser technology can be used to reduce the following:

  • Sun Damage
  • Rosacea
  • Birthmarks
  • Angiomas
  • Hair Removal
  • Leg Veins
  • Acne
  • Acne Scars
  • Scars
  • Wrinkles
  • Skin Tightening
  • Vitiligo
  • Warts
  • Brown Spots
  • Age Spots

Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center of Santa Monica offers the latest in advanced laser and surgical procedures to enhance the quality of your skin and to eliminate any unwanted blemishes. We strive to help patients enjoy youthful, healthy skin. Dr. Yamauchi and our other providers will recommend the most appropriate laser and surgical procedures best suited for you, working with the techniques listed below.

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Services:

What is laser skin resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing uses a variety of different laser types to reduce facial wrinkles, skin aging, sun-damaged skin, and skin irregularities such as acne scarring or blemishes. Laser technology is continually evolving, making our various laser resurfacing treatments at Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center more effective, even for delicate areas.

Laser skin resurfacing engages the skin’s natural healing mechanisms to rejuvenate the skin both on the surface epidermis layer and in the skin’s second layer, the dermis.

On the surface skin, laser energy is absorbed by sun-damaged areas such as age spots and these areas slough off in a few days. Laser energy can also close broken capillaries and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

In the dermis, fractional laser energy creates thousands of microscopic holes through the epidermis down into the dermis. This triggers a wound response in the body, which remodels the existing collagen in the area and initiates new collagen production. All of this improves the skin over the following weeks and months.

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Carbon face peeling procedure in a beauty salon. Hardware cosmetology treatment.

Who is an ideal candidate for laser skin resurfacing?

At the Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, we offer a variety of laser skin resurfacing treatments. If you have age spots and sun-damaged skin, fine lines or wrinkles around your eyes or mouth or on your forehead, or shallow acne scarring these could be good treatments for you. 

While laser skin resurfacing is best for patients with light to moderate skin tones, due to the possibility of hyperpigmentation on darker skin tones, our gentler, less aggressive options can work for everyone.

How is laser skin resurfacing done?

Our main vehicle at Dermatology Institute for skin rejuvenation is our Fraxel Dual system. Fraxel is actually two lasers in one, which you can read about in detail here. The secret to these treatments is the word “fractional.” The laser energy creates thousands of microscopic channels through the epidermis down into the dermis layer of the skin.

This has two effects. First, by creating thousands of microscopic channels through the skin, it encourages the surrounding unaffected skin to produce new skin cells to repair the perceived wounds created by the microscopic channels. Second, when the laser energy enters the dermis through these channels, it causes heating in the dermis. The body responds as if wounded, triggering new collagen production to “heal” the perceived wounds. In reality, the microscopic channels heal in just a few hours, but the collagen production builds for months. Together, these two factors work to resurface the skin, improving everything from age spots to acne scars, actinic keratoses to surgical scars.

What are the benefits of laser skin resurfacing?

Our various laser skin resurfacing treatments all work to trigger the healing mechanisms in your skin. Some are more ablative than others. Some penetrate more deeply. Some require more recovery. 

But they all work with your body’s natural healing processes to improve your skin. What’s more natural than that?

Whether it’s breaking down the melanin in your sunspots or triggering new collagen production in your dermis layer, our Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center laser resurfacing options all work to improve a wide variety of skin damage and skin imperfections. 

Who among us couldn’t use some of that?

What are the risks of laser skin resurfacing treatments?

All of the lasers we use for our various skin rejuvenation and resurfacing treatments have been cleared by the FDA. The FDA has cleared our workhorse, Fraxel Dual, for these uses: periorbital wrinkles, acne scars, surgical scars, age spots, sun spots, melasma, actinic keratoses, and skin resurfacing. That means these procedures had to pass rigorous safety testing prior to the laser receiving approval.

Swelling and redness are the most common side effects of Fraxel treatment. Swelling is minimal and usually only lasts a day or two. Redness fades within a few days. Pigmentation spots become darker initially, which can be disconcerting, but that is a sign they’re on the way out and the melanin causing the darker areas has been broken up. You may have some minor itching, dry feeling skin, slight peeling or flaking, and some bronzing of the skin, but these are all temporary effects.

Is laser skin resurfacing painful?

Some of our laser skin resurfacing options call for topical numbing cream prior to your session to help keep you comfortable. Others have a built-in cooling feature in the handpiece to do the same. Others don’t require anything. 

Generally, for more aggressive treatments, we apply topical numbing cream 30 minutes prior to your session. This keeps you comfortable. Other patients feel they may have a lower tolerance for discomfort, and they may request topical numbing even for more gentle treatments. 

We will discuss what you can expect prior to your session. Then you can decide. 

Is laser skin resurfacing safe for all skin types?

There is a misconception out there that laser skin resurfacing is only safe for patients with lighter skin tones. Not so. It is true that some more aggressive treatments pose a higher risk for cell damage or areas of hyperpigmentation in those with darker skin tones. But we offer other options, such as our Candela GentleYAG, that don’t involve risks for hyperpigmentation or other issues. 

The best idea is to come in and see us and we can match one of our great treatments with your skin tone and skin issues you want to address. Thanks to the experience of our team at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, you’re in good hands and you’re sure to love your improved skin. 

Can laser skin resurfacing reduce pore size?

Yes, laser skin resurfacing is quite effective for shrinking large pores on and around your nose. Because these are only slightly invasive “fractional” treatments, the energy targets the dermis layer of the skin without causing damage to the surface epidermal skin. This prompts the new production of collagen, and this tightens the skin surrounding your large pores. That tightening shrinks those pores.

Acne scars and pores. In the nose Black spots, wrinkles and skin problems Facial Treatment Step

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Is there much scarring with laser skin resurfacing?

Scarring is something we never want with any of our treatments. Our team providing your laser skin resurfacing treatments has extensive training and experience with our various lasers and their safe and effective use. Scarring is usually the result of an inexperienced or poorly trained operator, and it should not happen.

At what age should I have laser skin resurfacing?

There isn’t an age requirement for these treatments at Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center. While issues such as wrinkles and age spots aren’t likely on a 20-year-old, acne scarring could be. Rosacea doesn’t have an age limit, and our lasers can thoroughly reduce it. Our IPL treatments are great for controlling acne breakouts. While technically not “laser skin resurfacing,” everyone has unwanted hair they could remove with our Alexandrite and YAG lasers.

What should I expect after laser skin resurfacing sessions?

The fractional resurfacing will require a little recovery time, but nothing like ablative laser skin procedures. The different lasers listed on this page have different functions, but for Fraxel Dual treatments, this is approximately what you can expect:

A young girl with a problem skin. Photo before and after treatment for acne and Demodecosis. Skin treatment, spa treatments. Cosmetology and professional skin care.

  • Day 1 — You will leave our Santa Monica offices and your skin will appear as if moderately sunburned and it will feel tight.
  • Day 2 — Your skin will now appear bronzed and darker.
  • Day 3-4 — Your skin will begin to peel, and areas may itch.
  • Day 5 — Peeling should begin to end.
  • Day 7-8 — Your redness should fully resolve.

How should I care for my skin after laser skin resurfacing?

Because we offer such a variety of laser skin treatments, there is some variation here. We’ll discuss the specifics with each procedure. But here are some general guidelines for skin care following these treatments:

  • Stay out of the sun — As mentioned above, these treatments make your skin very sensitive to sun damage. That’s because they break down some of the skin’s outer protection. So, you need to stay out of the sun, if possible. That’s why the more aggressive options can be best done over the cooler, greyer winter months. Or June gloom in Santa Monica. Regardless, be sure to protect your skin with 30+ SPF. 
  • Be gentle with cleaning — When you’re first cleaning your skin after these treatments, take it easy. Harsh cleansers with things like glycolic acid need to wait a few days. And no scrubbing. Let your skin chill. 
  • Reduce swelling — More aggressive resurfacing, such as Fraxel, can cause some swelling. Cold compresses help with this. Plus, they feel soothing. 
  • Moisturize that healing skin — We’ll talk with you about the right moisturizer to match with the treatment you just had. This isn’t a sales pitch; different products have different characteristics that your skin will need. Apply them as we recommend and keep your healing skin happy. 
  • Skip the exfoliators — There are lots of products out with retinol, and they are often great…just not right after laser skin resurfacing. No exfoliation (that’s what just happened with your treatment) and other harsh products for a couple of weeks. 
  • Maybe for makeup — Superficial treatments that target age spots and the like are OK for makeup afterward. However, after more aggressive treatments applying makeup can irritate your healing skin. Again, we will discuss whether or not makeup can be used as your skin heals and improves. 

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When will I see results from laser skin resurfacing?

Your skin will be red for a few days after these treatments, but once that settles down, you’ll see some immediate improvements in your skin. From there, those results will continue to build for 6 months and beyond. This is the increased collagen production. Plus, your body produces new skin cells to replace those removed in the fractional portion of the treatment. These are long-term improvements that continue to build.

How many laser skin resurfacing treatments will I need to achieve the results I want?

This varies depending on the patient. If you’re simply having the Candela GentleYAG superficial treatments, these can be repeated every couple of months, as there really isn’t any recovery time. Fraxel CO2 fractional resurfacing is more aggressive and should only be done once or twice a year. This is because your skin improvements are much more elaborate and longer-lasting. 

A good rule of thumb? Most non-ablative laser treatments achieve the best results with a series of sessions. That’s the trade-off between having no downtime/recovery and more aggressive treatments that involve some recovery. 

When we match you with the perfect laser option, we’ll discuss how you can best achieve the results you seek. 

When will I be able to go out in the sun after laser skin resurfacing?

After your Fraxel session (and with most laser or IPL procedures of any kind), you need to understand that your skin has temporarily lost some of its natural sun protection, so you need to apply 30 SPF sunscreen and wear protective clothing. You need to do this for about three months. That may sound extreme but remember it’s likely that too much sun exposure is what created most of your skin issues in the first place.

See What Our Patients Have To Say…

“I’ve been going to the Dermatology Institute for many years, have sent my mother and multiple friends here, and we’ve always been extremely happy with everything — staff, doctors, nurses, treatments. I’ve been to dermatologists all around the world, and these folks are the best.”
– Craig D.

Source: Google

“I have seen numerous dermatologists through the years but Christine Kim Is by far the best..I’ve referred family and friends and they all agree with me. The plus side is that her staff is easy going, professional, and easy to work with. This dermatologist office will not disappoint you”
– Karen S.

Source: Google


If you’re interested in learning more about laser skin resurfacing please contact us for a consultation with Dr. Paul Yamauchi, at 310-829-4104 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.

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