Everything to Know About Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing

Looking for a sure shot to rejuvenate and refresh your skin? Fractional laser skin is the way to go. Although lasers continue to evolve and advance, the benefits of fractional laser skin resurfacing are considered superior to other technologies simply for the device’s ability to dramatically improve a wide range of skin concerns such as pigmentation, scars, redness, and fine and wrinkles. What makes the treatment even more appealing is that fractional laser skin resurfacing is suitable for various skin types.

Within the realm of lasers, two types exist:

  • Fractional non-ablative laser skin resurfacing: This less invasive laser is best suited for minor skin concerns such as fine lines and smaller, more minimal wrinkles, sun damage, and age spots. Non-ablative lasers come with far less downtime because they don’t ablate the top layer of skin. In other words, they leave the uppermost layer of skin intact. Non-ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing can be done on the face, neck, and chest.
  • Fractional ablative laser skin resurfacing: This deeper, more intense type of laser pushes further down into the skin to address more severe signs of sun damage, textual changes, discoloration and pigmentation, and hard-to-get-rid-of lines and wrinkles. Since it disrupts the skin’s surface, the downtime is longer and the recovery more extreme, but the results are more dramatic.

The best resurfacing treatment for you depends on the current condition of your skin and how much downtime you are willing to incur. Here’s everything to know about fractional laser skin resurfacing.

What is fractional laser skin resurfacing?

Fractional laser skin resurfacing is a treatment that relies on laser energy to improve the skin’s appearance. All lasers deliver pulses of a specific energy wavelength to the skin. The stronger the laser, the more ablative it is and the more healing time required—but these types of lasers also come with the most dramatic results.

A byproduct of fractionated laser skin resurfacing treatments is an increase in collagen and elastin. As the skin senses it’s been wounded, it sends a response mechanism to stimulate healing and repair. Part of that wound healing process includes creating new collagen, which gives a firming effect.

The fractional part of the laser refers to how the skin is treated—only a fraction at a time, by creating microscopic columns of wounds instead of treating all of the skin to heal faster and better.

How does fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing work?

CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a laser treatment that employs ablative carbon dioxide (CO2) to remove damaged skin from the surface. This aggressive form of resurfacing works best on moderate to severely damaged skin.

A CO2 laser is ablative and uses heat to vaporize skin cells. The intense wavelengths emit energy into the skin that physically removes the outermost layer of skin. Water within the skin cells can absorb these superstrong wavelengths, allowing CO2 lasers to ablate the skin–it’s almost like taking a heavy-duty eraser to the skin. In doing this, the skin receives a signal to start the natural repair process, which stimulates the production of new collagen. Once new collagen is made as a wound response, the skin becomes noticeably smoother, more even in tone and texture, and younger-looking over time.

What are the benefits of fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing?

The primary benefit of fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is creating new collagen and elastin, but the treatment has many other benefits. It is known to help reduce sun damage, minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, and firm the skin.

How is fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing different from other types of lasers?

There’s a difference between CO2 and other lasers used to rejuvenate the skin. The most significant difference is that CO2 lasers are ablative, meaning they remove the uppermost layer of skin. Non-ablative lasers keep the skin intact and don’t cause any damage to it.

CO2 lasers are more aggressive than other lasers and require a lengthy recovery process. These lasers can also resurface the skin deeper than other devices, which means the results are more dramatic.

Some skin tones are better suited for an intense CO2 laser, whereas more skin tones are compatible with lighter lasers. For example, those with a Fitzpatrick skin type I or II tend to fare better with more aggressive lasers, like a CO2 laser, since there is less melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), making post-laser pigmentation less of an issue.

Also, CO2 laser treatments are known to work better for some skin issues, namely those that are related to textural changes. Often, these conditions are better suited with a CO2 skin laser treatment as opposed to lighter laser treatments:

  • Stubborn acne scars
  • Scars
  • Stretch marks
  • Heavy lines and wrinkles

How much does non-ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing cost?

Different lasers come with different price tags, and depending on the areas to be treated and how many sessions you need to reach your goals will determine the cost. A consultation is the best way to determine the price of a non-ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing treatment.

A single treatment starts at $800, depending on treatment details. Our team can create a custom package and a more accurate price for the treatment.

What areas of the face can be treated with a fractionated CO2 laser?

There are many areas on the face where CO2 laser treatments are safe to perform. The laser works well for areas with immense sun damage, like the sides of the face and the forehead.

For the most part, CO2 lasers are performed on the entire face, but they can also be used to spot treat a specific area, Around the lips to target fine lines, under the eyes to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, and around the eyes and on the eyelids to tighten the skin.

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Download our exclusive Charette Cosmetics Services & Pricing Guide to learn more about our service menu & treatment prices.