average cost of laser wrinkle removal - Cosmetic Surgery Tips (2023)

When you hear the word “laser” you might think of lasers used in medical settings, but there are actually many different types of lasers. The type that’s used for laser wrinkle removal is called a CO2 Laser. This type of laser uses carbon dioxide as its working gas and produces an energy beam at specific wavelengths that are absorbed by pigments in the skin. The energy from the laser can be absorbed by melanin (the pigment found in your hair and skin) and converted into heat. The heat from this process causes damage to the dermal layer of skin, which results in a reduction in wrinkles.

Laser wrinkle removal is a popular treatment, but it can be expensive. How much does laser wrinkle removal cost? And what factors influence the cost of this procedure?

average cost of laser wrinkle removal

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Preparing for Laser Resurfacing What to Expect During and After the Procedure Benefits and Risks of Laser Resurfacing Cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing
If aging, acne, or too much time in the sun has left your face with blotches, scars, wrinkles, or lines, laser skin resurfacing may help your skin look younger and healthier.

Laser skin resurfacing removes skin layer by layer with precision. The new skin cells that form during healing give the skin a tighter, younger looking surface. The procedure can be done alone or with other cosmetic surgeries on the face.

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Preparing for Laser Resurfacing
Start by consulting a plastic surgeon or dermatologist to find out if you’re a good candidate.

Tell your doctor if you get cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth. Laser skin resurfacing can trigger breakouts in people who are at risk.

If you decide to go ahead with laser skin resurfacing, your doctor will ask you to not take any medications or supplements — such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E — that can affect clotting for 10 days before surgery.

If you smoke, you should stop for two weeks before and after the procedure. Smoking can prolong healing.

Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic medication beforehand to prevent bacterial infections and also an antiviral medication if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters.

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What to Expect During and After the Procedure
Laser resurfacing is done by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. It’s an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll not have to stay overnight.

The doctor may treat wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, or forehead individually or treat your entire face. For small areas, the doctor will numb the areas to be treated with a local anesthetic and may also sedate you. You may require general anesthesia if your whole face is being treated.

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Treating just parts of the face takes about 30 to 45 minutes. A full-face treatment takes up to two hours.

Following the laser procedure, the doctor will bandage the treated areas. After 24 hours, you will need to clean the treated areas four to five times a day and then apply an ointment such as petroleum jelly to prevent scabs from forming.

Swelling after laser skin resurfacing is normal. Your doctor may prescribe steroids to manage swelling around your eyes. Sleeping on an extra pillow at night can also ease swelling.

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You may feel itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel.

Depending on the problem that was treated, healing typically takes 10 to 21 days. Once the skin heals, you can wear oil-free makeup to minimize redness, which usually fades in two to three months.

You will also probably notice that your skin is lighter for a while after surgery. It is particularly important that you use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, which screens ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays, to protect your skin during that time. When selecting a sunscreen, look for one specially formulated for use on the face with a 7% (or higher) zinc oxide content and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.Reapply your sunscreen every two hours when you are out, and more often if you are sweating or swimming.

It is also important to keep your new skin well moisturized. If you use Retin A or glycolic acid products, you should be able to start using them again after about six weeks or when the doctor says you can.

Benefits and Risks of Laser Resurfacing
Although skin resurfacing cannot produce perfect skin, it can improve the appearance of your skin. Potential risks of the procedure include:

Burns or other injuries from the laser’s heat
Changes in the skin’s pigmentation, including areas of darker or lighter skin
Reactivating herpes cold sores
Bacterial infection
Cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing
The average cost for laser skin resurfacing was about $2509 for ablative and $1445 for non-ablative laser skin resurfacing in 2020, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, costs vary widely depending on where the procedure is being done.

Because laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, most medical insurance companies will not cover it. There may be an exception if you get the procedure to modify scars or remove precancerous growths on your skin.

Talk with your doctor and your insurance company before the procedure about what the costs will be and what, if anything, insurance will pay for. Most doctors offer financing options.

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Theaverage cost of laser skin resurfacing is $2,509 for ablativeand$1,445 for non-ablative, according to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This average cost is only part of the total price – it does not include other related expenses. Please consult with your plastic surgeon’s office to determine your final fee.

Laser skin resurfacing prices will be based on the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the procedure, the type of procedure used, the time and effort the treatment requires, as well as geographic office location.

Most health insurance plans do not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Laser skin resurfacing costs may include:

  • Surgical facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication

Be sure to ask your surgeon about all costs involved in your procedure.

Your satisfaction involves more than a fee.

When choosing a plastic surgeon for laser skin resurfacing, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the procedure.

Can Lasers And Fillers Save You Thousands Of Dollars?

When it comes to anti-aging skincare, many women have medicine cabinets bursting with moisturizers, serums, and no fewer than three types of cleansers (Micellar, oil, and charcoal, in case you’re going shopping). But mention the words “laser procedure” or “non-invasive plastic surgery,” and there’s a chance the response will come in the form of a whispered confession: there’s no way I could afford those kind of treatments.

Not long ago, dermatological skin tweaks existed almost exclusively for well-heeled women who needn’t ask about prices. But times — and the clientele of plastic surgeons and dermatologists — have changed. Younger women, some on the earlier side of their 20s, are getting hip to the fact that lasers, fillers, and Botox, while they may set you back a pretty penny upfront, can actually be more cost-effective in the long run — especially if you confront a minor skin problem before he becomes a major one.

Quality products that contain retinol, hydroquinone, peptides, growth factors, and hyaluronic acid — some of the ingredients that make dermatologists swoon — will always have a place in our skincare regimens. But we spoke with experts who listed seven noninvasive treatments that are more effective than anything you can slather on in front of a mirror and, over several decades, actually cost less than all those OTC products. Keep in mind: these costs don’t include the price of beauty many of us pay for regular facials, chemical peels, and other products. (Some women have revealed they spend as much as $20,000 a year on regular beauty upkeep. Sounds about right.)

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If you’re still on the fence about laser hair removal because the cost seems prohibitive, remember what it feels like to have wicked razor burn at all times and the frantic dash to get to your waxer before taking a last-minute trip to the coast.

“Professional laser hair removal is a home run, especially in women with light skin and dark hair,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Hair removal procedures such as waxing, threading, shaving, and depilatories all can leave the skin irritated, red, and lead to unsightly and uncomfortable ingrown hairs. While the cost of laser hair removal is more expensive in the beginning, the effect is far superior to any other procedure because the root of the hair is permanently destroyed.”

You can expect to pay between $500-700 per treatment and the average patient requires 3-5 treatments, Zeichner says.

(Video) Should You Get Microneedling or Laser Resurfacing? | Plastic Surgeon's Advice

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The Cost Breakdown: Assuming you fall on the less expensive end of the laser hair spectrum, you will spend about $1,500 for three treatments and your bikini line will be almost completely hair-free, possibly for a lifetime (treating your full legs would cost more). The average price you’ll spend to get your bikini area waxed is about $35. If you start waxing at age 21 and get one wax treatment every three months until you are 55, you will spend $4,900 waxing your bikini line (and chances are you’ll still be hitting the beach at 65 and 70, so add to the cost). Even if you fall on the more expensive side of the laser treatment, your cost will be $3,500 — $1,400 less than if you wax.


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Skin resurfacing and brightening lasers are the bread and butter of the industry, with Fraxel leading the way as one of the most requested laser procedures.

“Lasers such as the Fraxel work by punching microscopic holes in the skin, creating a controlled wound and taking advantage of the skin’s ability to heal itself,” Zeichner says. “In the process, excess pigmentation is shed, creepy skin is improved, and texture is evened out. A single treatment can offer up to 50% improvement in the skin.”

One Fraxel laser treatment costs somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000, Zeichner says. One treatment will give significant improvement, but some patients require more than one—performed every four to six weeks.

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The Cost Breakdown: Ingredients that can provide a tiny fraction of the immediate effect you’ll get from Fraxel include retinol, which helps improve skin texture and build collagen, and hydroquinone or soy, a classic dark spot lightener. Let’s say you’re a fan of drugstore favorite RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream, which costs $22.99 for 1.0 fl oz. You want to keep your skin as bright as possible, so to the mix you add Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream ($70), which contains hydroquinone, kojic acid, and bearberry extract. Here’s what you’ll wind up spending on these products if you use them from age 21 to 55: $4,827.90 (for retinol you’ll purchase every two months) and $9,800 (for hydroquinone cream that you’ll purchase four times a year). That’s a combined total of $14,627.90 — about $8,600 more than you’d pay if you received four Fraxel laser treatments that are almost guaranteed to make a significant difference in your skin.

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The Fraxel is outstanding for targeting singular dark brown spots, but up until last year, there was very little you could do to fade all of those light brown discolorations you’ve racked up from years of sunbathing.

“The PICO Genesis treatment uses ultra-short laser pulses to deliver a photo-mechanical shockwave that not only shatters the pigment, but stimulates remodeling in the upper layers of the skin, resulting in brighter more uniform skin tone in significantly fewer treatments,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades, owner of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center of New York.

If you’re treating one or two areas of the face with deep sun damage, the cost is $800-1,500, Alexiades says, while a full-face treatment will run you between $1,200-1,300.

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The Cost Breakdown: Before tallying up the costs for effective skin lightening and brightening ingredients, it’s important to note that you may never be able to completely remove deep sun damage using any product. With that said, two of the best out there include Skinceuticals C E Ferulic(a daytime serum that brightens, improves skin texture, and costs $163 for a 30ml bottle) andPaula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster at $42 for 0.67 oz. If you purchase C E Ferulic twice a year from ages 21-55, you’ll shell out $11,410 over the course of 35 years, while the niacinamide serum, purchased three times a year, will run you $4,410. Use them together and you’ll spend $15,820 in total — a whopping $8,020 more than six full-face PICO Genesis treatments.


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Another relatively new laser on the scene, the Exilis Ultra is a technology that uses radio frequency and ultrasound energy to simultaneously tighten skin, saysDr. Debra Jaliman, a NYC board-certified dermatologist and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Elixis Ultra can be used everywhere from stubborn jowls to abs and thighs. It only takes a few treatments, there’s no downtime, and Jaliman says it’s incredibly effective.

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The Cost Breakdown: Exilis Ultra costs about $1,500 per treatment for the lower face, Jaliman says, and it can take anywhere from two to four treatments depending on how much the skin is sagged. Things can get tricky when trying to compare skin-tightening lasers with topical products or devices because few, if any, can deliver the same powerful results. The amazing Estée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum ($68 for 1 fl oz) and NuFACE Trinity Facial Toning Device($292) enjoy stellar reviews and are worth incorporating into any anti-aging skincare regimen. If you rely on them to do the job of a laser, you can expect to spend $7,140 on the Estée Lauder serum over 35 years and, assuming you replace the toning device at least once, $585 on two NuFACE devices, for a total cost of $7,724, or $1,724 more than four treatments of Exilis Ultra (which will cost you a total of $6,000). Just for fun, we’ll throw this stat out there, too: the average cost of a facelift is $6,652, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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The Venus Legacy is another skin-tightening laser that is used to contour the face and body, firm sagging skin, and — here’s what makes it especially golden — reduce cellulite. Using pulses of magnetic or radio frequency energy, the laser heats deep within the skin tissue to encourage collagen and elastin renewal. It’s gentle, painless, and one of the best introductory lasers you should consider in your 20s and 30s, says Dr. Neil Sadick at Sadick Dermatology, who is the clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. A combination of a collagen stimulator like Venus plus fillers like Voluma are best to tackle early aging skin concerns and pick up the slack when creams and serums are limited in what they can do, Sadick says.

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The Cost Breakdown: The cost per Venus Legacy laser treatment varies depending on where on your body you’ll use it and your age (the longer you wait, the more treatments you’ll likely need). Expect to pay anywhere from $1,200-3,000 or more and to return for four to eight sessions to treat stubborn areas like buttocks, thighs, and abs. If you faithfully use Nerium Firming Body Contour Cream ($90) every day for 35 years and go through about four tubes each year, you’ll spend $12,600. That’s $600 more than the $12,000 you’d pay for eight Venus treatments (at $1,500 a pop).

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Fillers like Voluma, Juvederm, and Volbella have become so popular for their ability to make us look instantly fresh and more youthful that women of all ages have embraced the needle.


“Voluma filler can actually prevent sagging since it gives volume to the face,” Jaliman says. “For example, on the cheekbones it can give volume and lift the face to avoid sagging and it actually lasts about a year. Volbella is great for enhancing the lips and improving fine lines around the mouth. Kybella is good for dissolving fat under the chin.”

The average price for one Juvederm Voluma XC syringe is $750-1,100 and some doctors offer reduced prices if you purchase more than one syringe. On average, two syringes are used, but the product can last as long as 18 months to two years.

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The Cost Breakdown: Of course, no cream can actually increase your skin’s volume, but those containing hyaluronic acid can temporarily plump fine lines and wrinkles. If you start usingL’Oréal Revitalift Volume Filler Cream ($24.99 for 1.7 fl oz) when you’re 21 and purchase it four times a year for 35 years, you will end up spending $3,499. If you spring for Voluma treatments every two years from the time you are 35, you will spend roughly $19,800, assuming you can score two syringes for $1,800. Clearly that’s a lot more, which forces you to decide whether the quick, guaranteed result of Voluma, along with the possibility that it could prevent sagging, is worth the extra cost.

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When you start to see signs of aging, neuromodulators (like Botox and Dysport) can be used as a preventative treatment to reduce the number of fine lines and wrinkles on your forehead, glabella (11 lines), and around your eyes, says Dr. Jill Waibel, a board certified dermatologist and the medical director and owner of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute.

“The age that is recommended to begin to look into having these injectables can vary — the moment you begin to see wrinkles, commonly in your mid-20s to your early 30s, is when you should seek to have the treatment,” Waibel says.

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The Cost Breakdown: Botox typically costs between $300-600, depending on the areas you want to treat and the deepness of your wrinkles, and the effects lasts about three to four months. Skincare products are just starting to chip away at Botox-like technology, with topical peptides that slow muscle contractions. The La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo is a wrinkle-relaxing day and night cream (it’s $350 for three month’s worth), and it’s hailed as the next best thing to Botox. So assuming you restock your supply regularly for 35 years, you will wind up spending $49,000. If you start Botox at age 30 and receive two treatments a year at $400 each, you’ll spend $20,000 by age 55.

On the one hand, the cream contains SPF and ingredients that are beneficial to skin. On the other, Botox delivers immediate and astonishing results. In this case, it’s a toss-up between paying more for instant gratification and possible anti-aging prevention (so far, no tests have concluded Botox can prevent aging) or being patient to see if a product can deliver over the long haul.

(Video) Lasers 101 for Anti-Aging (Everything You Need to Know to Pick the BEST For You!)


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