There is a wide variety of laser-based skin-resurfacing treatment options out there. If you’re interested in treating skin-related issues such as sun damage, wrinkles, and fine lines, it will be very helpful to do the research and stay informed about which procedure is the best and safest.

When separating into broad categories, there are primarily two kinds of laser-based skin-resurfacing procedures: ablative and non-ablative. Fractional lasers (sometimes referred to as Fraxel lasers) offer both ablative and non-ablative options. There are pluses and minuses for both types of laser, so it is best to meet with a skin care professional in person to discuss which laser will work best for you.

What Is Ablative Skin Resurfacing?

Ablative laser treatments rely on the use of a high-intensity light wavelength to eliminate the layers of worn, damaged skin. They are extremely effective when it comes to eliminating imperfections like pigmentation or age spots on the patient’s skin. These lasers are also great at treating fine lines and wrinkles.

Because these lasers remove skin layers, ablative laser skin treatments can take a bit longer to recover from due to the healing process. However, one treatment is all that is needed to achieve the desired result.

Ablative laser skin resurfacing isn’t advised for individuals with darker skin, as it may have the potential to create irregular pigmentation in the treatment area.

What Is Non-Ablative Skin Resurfacing?

Non-ablative skin resurfacing is similar to ablative resurfacing in that they are both laser procedures. The main difference is that with non-ablative skin resurfacing, the layers of skin are not eliminated. Instead, they are treated with gentler laser energy.

As a result of this, the procedure offers the benefit of a reduced recovery time. In fact, recovery time after a non-ablative procedure is very short, and the patient can return to a normal routine almost right away. They can even use make-up immediately after the procedure. However, it may be necessary to have a series of treatments (three to five, generally speaking) to achieve the desired results.

There are no limitations for non-ablative resurfacing with regard to skin type or color. The side effects of the procedure are minimal. Patients can expect a degree of bruising and swelling, which disappear in a matter of days. There can be reactions similar to sunburn or increased redness, but they too are temporary. Lastly, there may be some darkening in the areas that have been treated, but they disappear as the skin heals.

What Each Option Is Used to Treat

Apart from the issue of an extended recovery period, ablative laser skin resurfacing is highly effective at treating boxcar acne scars, deep wrinkles, and ice-pick scars. Patients with worn-down skin as a result of the aging process or significant sun damage can expect better results from an ablative skin resurfacing treatment.

Non-ablative resurfacing procedures are relatively less invasive and are known to conduct heat into the deeper levels of the skin. These treatments focus specifically on the layers beneath the superficial skin layer. Since the heat is targeted at a deeper level, it effectively stimulates the rebuilding of collagen. As a result, non-ablative resurfacing is a perfect option for superficial face wrinkles, lines under the eyes, and wrinkles in general. Even shallow scars can be treated effectively. Plus, the shorter recovery time makes it easier for patients to resume their daily activities.

Discuss Your Options with a Skilled Medical Professional

Pay a visit to Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery to speak with our staff of caring and experienced medical professionals. During a consultation, you will be able to find out which laser-resurfacing option is best for you. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today.