What’s the Difference Between Ablative and Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing?

Cosmetic surgeons having been eliminating fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and other undesirable skin conditions with help of resurfacing lasers.

There are various laser treatment available on the market, so if you’re thinking about laser resurfacing, it’s important to consider all of your options before making a commitment to one particular laser treatment.

In general, laser resurfacing treatments fall under one of two categories: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. Both ablative and non-ablative resurfacing can give you dramatic improvements, but they do differ significantly in the final results they produce.

Ablative Lasers Vs. Non-Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers such as CO2 and Erbium are more invasive, but produce the best clinical results. They work by vaporizing the outer layers of the skin. This process causes the skin to heal and restructure, and increases collagen production.

Ablative lasers are great for treating visible signs of aging and the results generally last for 1 to 5 years. They can also be used to treat acne scarring, pigmentation irregularities and unwanted lesions.

It is important to note however, that ablative lasers present a longer recovery and a higher degree of risk than non-ablative lasers. Most patients require 1 to 2 weeks of recovery time. Some risks associated with ablative lasers include:

  • Redness or swelling
  • Acne
  • Infection
  • Skin color changes
  • Scarring

Non-ablative lasers such as CoolTouch, Fraxel Restore and N-lite are far less invasive than ablative treatments. They work by heating up the targeted tissue, without actually destroying it. This process stimulates your body’s collagen production to fill in unwanted skin imperfections such as fine lines or wrinkles.

Because they do not resurface the skin as invasively as ablative lasers, multiple treatment sessions will be necessary to achieve modest clinical results. However, patients benefit from almost no downtime and the risk of undesirable side effects is greatly reduced. Some risks associated with non-ablative lasers include:

  • Infection
  • Skin color changes
  • Mild redness or swelling
  • Blisters or scars

Are you interested in learning more about laser resurfacing in Detroit, contact us.

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