Laser Skin Resurfacing Machines

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There are different forms of laser available for laser skin resurfacing, and it is possible that due to your skin type one might be more effective and safer for you than another.  There are two main groups of laser used, ablative and non-ablative.  Ablative lasers will remove skin cells during your procedure, whereas non-ablative lasers will not, instead they will work underneath the surface layer to promote collagen stimulation and skin evenness.  Which laser is used is generally dependant on the preference of the practitioner, and sometimes more than one form of laser can be found within one clinic.  Your practitioner will be able to discuss the benefits and the downfalls of these machines, and advise which one would be most appropriate for you. 

CO2 Lasers

The CO2 Laser is the most common used to laser skin resurfacing.  They are also the most intense, and are more likely to produce unwanted side effects such as soreness and swelling.  However, on the other hand they are also considered the most effective.  A CO2 laser is an ablative devise, meaning that they penetrate the skin and destroy the top layer.  This allows them to successfully remove scarring or abnormalities that other lasers might not.  Following a treatment with a CO2 laser it is likely that your skin will remain slightly red for a couple of months, however once cleared up the results are usually very dramatic and more successful than non-ablative and gentler lasers.  CO2 lasers are not usually recommended for darker skin tones, as these are more likely to experience pigmentation changes for a long period of time.

CO2 Lasers are most often used to treat wrinkles, warts, scarring and some forms of early stage skin cancers. 

Neodymium YAG.

A non-ablative laser than can be used for most skin colours and all over the body this laser is very gentle and might not be effective for resurfacing in one session.  However, if used for a number for treatments the results from this laser can be very good, and poses little risk for dark skin tones.

Erbium Lasers/Er:YAG Lasers

A gentler form of laser for laser skin resurfacing, the erbium laser is often used for less severe treatments or for darker skin tones.  Erbium lasers are non-ablative, so they do less damage to your skin throughout your treatment and don’t actually remove any skin cells during the procedure.  The side effects of erbium lasers are less likely to continue for a long time, and are less severe than with a CO2 laser.  After a week to ten days your skin is likely to have recovered from a skin resurfacing procedure using an erbium laser.  The downside of this, however, is that the effect might not be as dramatic as it might be with a CO2 laser and multiple treatments might be necessary. 

The erbium laser is most often used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, or minor scarring or pigmentation abnormalities. 

Fractional Lasers/Fraxel Lasers

This form of laser is another non-ablative, gentle laser that can be easily manipulated and applied to specific areas of the skin.  The skin just under the surface is usually targeted, rather than the surface skin, so encouraging new skin to heal before it is exposed to the surface.  The side effects of this type of laser are minimal, and it is widely considered a very safe treatment.  However, this laser is not very intense, and can only really be effective for small problems such as skin tone evenness or very slight scarring.  For more severe problems a stronger laser is needed. 

Fractional lasers are used over a long period of time as a series of treatments, and can be used to treat wrinkles, some scarring and pigmentation variations. 

Which laser you use for your laser skin resurfacing will be decided between yourself and your practitioner.  It is important that you are realistic about your expectations of the procedure, as some skin problems might not be completely cleared up using laser skin resurfacing.  Each laser has it’s pros and cons, and it is your decision which to use. 

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