There are two types of resurfacing lasers, ablative and non-ablative. When patients think of laser resurfacing this often brings to mind traditional laser treatments where patients had extended downtime and healing. With the advent of new technologies patients can still undergo resurfacing, but with less downtime; however, there remain situations where some patients may need more aggressive laser treatments. Ablative lasers encompass CO2 and erbium: YAG, whereas there are many forms of non-ablative lasers. Resurfacing lasers are used to treat multiple conditions; they help to improve discoloration on the skin such as freckles, sun spots and hyperpigmentation from scars; they also stimulate collagen production and thus help to improve fine lines, texture, and scars, including acne scars, surgical scars, and traumatic scars. Resurfacing lasers brighten and enhance the overall appearance of the skin resulting in a more youthful appearance. Ablative lasers, particularly the CO2, also help with skin tightening and are often used to improve eyelid drooping and laxity along the jawline.
Other benefits of ablative lasers are that patients notice improvement in fewer treatments, often in one to two when treating sun damage. They are ideal for those with coarse or deep winkles. Also, for patients with thick or keloid scars, these are the most effective lasers. Some limitations of the ablative lasers are that they can only be used on those who have lighter skin; in addition, if treating wrinkles and sun damage ablative lasers are typically reserved for treating the face, and sometimes the neck and chest. On the other hand, non-ablative lasers can be used on all shades of skin and can safely be used on all areas of the body including face, neck, chest arms and legs.
At Advanced Dermatology, we have multiple resurfacing lasers. For ablative lasers we have the CO2, also know are CO2RE. For non-ablative laser, we have Fraxel® Dual. With the fall approaching this is a perfect time to schedule a consult to see which laser treatment is best for you and your skin!