Deep Laser Resurfacing Instructions


  • Avoid sun exposure 2 weeks prior to laser resurfacing.
  • If you are having IV sedation, arrange to have someone drive you and stay with you for 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Plan to take 2 weeks of work. There will be swelling and redness.
  • Certain topical medication and skin care products should be stopped 2 weeks prior to your laser procedure. These include retinol, tretinoin (Retin-A), and hydroquinone. We are happy to review your home skin care regimen prior to your procedure.

Shopping List

  • Aquaphor
  • Gauze for ice water soaks
  • Oral Benadryl


  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, the morning of surgery if you are having IV sedation. Essential medications may be taken with a sip of water only by the anesthesia provider’s order.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that button or zip. Avoid slipover clothing.
  • Leave your valuables at home; do not wear jewelry or piercings.
  • Avoid all makeup, hairspray, and nail polish.
  • Do not wear contacts, you may wear glasses if needed.
  • Bring your ID with you.


  • Keep your head elevated for the first 48 hours. A recliner is best.
  • Sleeping with extra pillows works as well.
  • Ice water soaks are best to decrease swelling and bruising. Do this for the first 24-48 hours.
  • Cleansing:

    • For the first 48 hours, cleanse your face with the dermal wound cleanser. After you cleanse, apply a layer of the Elta MD laser balm provided in your post procedure kit.
    • After 48 hours, cleanse your face with the Elta MD Foaming Cleanser and follow with an application of Aquaphor.
  • After the laser procedure, the treated areas will be covered with ointment. You may notice some clear or yellow oozing from these areas for up to 7 days after the surgery. This is normal and expected.
  • It is very important to keep the treated areas moist at ALL times. Your skin should never be allowed to dry or form a crust. You should apply either laser balm (in the first 48 hours) or Aquaphor (after 48 hours) a minimum of 3 times per day.
  • There will be a mild to moderate amount of discomfort associated with the surgery. This is mainly due to the heat from the laser. You could compare this feeling to a severe sunburn. This should be easily controlled with oral medications.
  • You may experience some itching as the treated skin heals. Scratching the healing skin (commonly during sleep) may slow recovery. This commonly occurs between 5 to 7 days. Hydrocortisone cream may be applied to the itchy areas before applying the ointment. You may also use Benadryl to ease the itch (follow product instructions). Note that Benadryl will cause sedation. It should generally not be used at the same time as sleeping pills or pain pills. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist.
  • Between 2 weeks and 2 months after the surgery, it is not uncommon to note the presence of what look like white heads on the treated areas. These are called milia. They represent areas where fresh epithelium has overgrown the underlying glands. They may be gently scrubbed and removed.
  • After your skin has healed (~1 week post procedure), start applying sunscreen daily. We have provided a post procedure sunscreen for you. Sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater should be used 365 days per year to help maintain the results of your laser procedure.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise or any significant physical exertion, lifting or straining for a minimum of 2 weeks after your surgery, as this activity could disrupt your wound healing.

Please call our office at 402.739.8144 at any time with questions or concerns. After hours, you may call our office and follow the prompts to speak to the on call nurse. If you are experiencing a life-threating emergency, please go to the nearest emergency department.