Laser Resurfacing

Latest update: July 14, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD


Laser resurfacing treatment is a non-surgical procedure. It uses laser beams to heat the layers of the skin and create controlled injuries, which then encourages the body's natural healing process. It promotes collagen production to improve the overall appearance of the skin.

Laser resurfacing can improve the texture and tone of the skin. It can treat hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and dark circles, tighten mild sagging skin, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Laser treatment can be performed on various parts of the face, such as around the eyes, mouth, or even the entire face. 

Besides the face, some treatments can also be done on the neck, chest, hands, and arms. Candidates with a lighter skin tone are more suited for laser resurfacing.

The two main types of laser resurfacing treatments are ablative and non-ablative. Ablative laser treatment targets the skin's surface (epidermis) and the deeper layers (dermis). It can remove the superficial layer of skin and heat the cells in the lower layers to encourage collagen production. The ablative treatment makes the skin red and raw and will need at least a week or more to heal. Depending on the depth of the skin removed, one session may be enough to see noticeable improvement. The treatment works well for deep wrinkles and sun-damaged skin.   Some may experience acne breakouts after the procedure.

Non-ablative laser treatment only heats the dermis and does not remove the epidermis. Swelling and redness after the treatment will only last a couple of days. Patients may need 3-6 treatments for effective, long-lasting results.

Fractionated lasers break up the laser beam into numerous tiny beams, each targeting a column of the skin.  For this reason, they are less invasive, less painful, and require less recovery time. Ablative and non-ablative lasers can be fractionated.

For full-face non-fractionated ablative treatments, patients require a general anesthetic. For non-ablative and fractional lasers, a local anesthetic will suffice. Patients must wear special  goggles to protect their eyes from the laser.  

After the session, the doctor applies healing ointment or dressings to protect and heal the skin. Patients will feel discomfort after the procedure and may need medication to alleviate the pain. The skin may start to peel and scab. Patients need to cleanse the face with a gentle cleanser, apply moisturizer or healing ointments, and stay out of the sun. The doctor may recommend cleansing the treated area with saline or vinegar-based solution.

Patients will begin to see improvement as soon as their skin heals, but it will also improve more over the next 3-6 months as the skin continually produces new collagen.
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Laser Resurfacing- for ACNE SCARS. Secrets revealed !

Dr. David Lim, a dermatologist from Brisbane, Australia, talks about the ways in which lasers are used to resurface the skin. He talks about the challenges faced with certain types of lasers treating certain scars. He considers how to tell which scars are suitable for these processes. He explains the steps taken in the process of laser resurfacing. The video shows the entirety of the procedure.

Fractional laser resurfacing- dermatologist review

Dr. David Lim, a dermatologist from Brisbane, Australia, talks about how he uses fractional lasers. He describes his reasons for picking a particular laser. He talks about the condition being treated and the skin color of the patient as two key factors that affect his decision. He explains the principle by which fractional laser resurfacing works and talks about the pros and cons of specific lasers.