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How Does Ablative Laser Resurfacing Work?

how-does-albative-laser-resurfacing-work

Ablative Laser Resurfacing: Carbon Dioxide Lasers and Erbium Lasers

Laser resurfacing can either be ablative or non-ablative[1]. Ablative laser resurfacing involves the actual ablation or removal of the epidermis using laser beams, in order to reveal new skin. Here, the epidermis is literally vaporized using the heat energy of the laser beams[2].

The two main types of ablative laser machines are carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers and erbium lasers. These laser techniques create a uniform injury on your skin so as to remove your unwanted blemishes[3].

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing machines make use of short pulsed light energy or continuous light beams, that when exposed to your skin, are able to get rid of your imperfections such as wrinkles, scars, birthmarks, large oil glands and even skin cancer spots[4]. A recovery time of up to two weeks should be expected.

Erbium laser treatments are recommended for patients who have mild wrinkles at most, because the lasers used in this case are not as intense as the carbon dioxide lasers[5]. Compared to carbon dioxide lasers, erbium lasers have less side effects as less skin tissue is burned. You will still experience bruising, swelling and redness however, but it will only last for one week on the average[6].

Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing: Intense Pulsed Laser (IPL), Light Heat Energy (LHE) and Light Emitting Diode (LED)

In contrast, non-ablative laser resurfacing targets the skin layer beneath the epidermis, the dermis, in order to promote the growth of collagen[7]. Although the results of non-ablative laser resurfacing are subtler compared to ablative laser resurfacing, this type of treatment is preferred by patients who do not want to deal with the side effects and prolonged downtime associated with the ablative technique.

Examples of non-ablative laser machines are the intense pulsed laser (IPL), light heat energy laser (LHE) and light emitting diode (LED).

 

Resources

[1] “Laser Facial Resurfacing.” Bupa UK. Jan. 2011. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/l/laser-facial-treatment>.

[2] “Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing Information.” Consulting Room. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.consultingroom.com/Treatments/Fractional-Laser-Skin-Resurfacing>.

[3] “Procedures – Skin – Skin Resurfacing.” The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: The Mark of Distinction in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.surgery.org/consumers/procedures/skin/skin-resurfacing>.

[4]“Laser Resurfacing Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What Are The Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing on MedicineNet.” MedicineNet.com. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.medicinenet.com/laser_resurfacing/page3.htm>.

[5]“Laser Resurfacing Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What Are The Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing on MedicineNet.” MedicineNet.com. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.medicinenet.com/laser_resurfacing/page3.htm>.

[6] “Laser Resurfacing Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What Are The Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing on MedicineNet.” MedicineNet.com. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.medicinenet.com/laser_resurfacing/page3.htm>.

[7] “Laser Facial Resurfacing.” Bupa UK. Jan. 2011. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/l/laser-facial-treatment>.

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