What Is Fractional Laser Resurfacing?


Recently acclaimed as the anti-aging breakthrough of the decade, fractional laser skin resurfacing at our Scottsdale practice is one of the many non-surgical procedures we offer. So… what exactly is it?

Laser skin resurfacing removes thin layers of damaged skin cells and stimulates growth of new skin cells by using a laser to send high-energy light pulses into the skin. The light is converted into heat energy, which then vaporizes very thin layers of skin. New skin grows to replace the removed skin, giving a more youthful appearance. Dr. Hobgood currently uses carbon dioxide and erbium lasers for these procedures.

Is Fractional Laser Resurfacing Different from Traditional Laser Treatments?

Fractional laser resurfacing is an improvement on traditional laser treatments because the laser treats microscopic columns of skin instead of small areas. By targeting spots deep inside the skin as opposed to the entire surface, this treatment can be a one-time outpatient procedure rather than requiring multiple treatments over time. In addition, treated areas of the skin are surrounded by untreated areas of the skin, which prevents bleeding or scabbing and speeds up the healing process.

How Does Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?

The laser burns tiny holes in your skin (considered a “safe injury“), which boosts collagen production. Collagen, a major protein in connective tissue, can be destroyed over time by sun exposure, pollution, and the natural aging process. The extra collagen boost will make your skin tighter and reduce the look of fine lines.

When looking for a treatment to improve the skin’s appearance and firmness, some patients also consider another “safe injury” procedure, radiofrequency microneedling.

Is There a Difference Between the Carbon Dioxide Laser and Erbium Laser?

Both lasers perform the same procedure with the same results, but the carbon dioxide laser is better suited to treat deeper lines and wrinkles while the erbium laser is better at treating fine lines and wrinkles.

Is Fractional Laser Resurfacing Only for My Face?

Nope! The great thing about this procedure is that it can be used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, scars, uneven pigmentation, and sun damage on other parts of the body. Some areas do not heal as well as others, though, so be sure to ask your doctor about any areas you want to treat.

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Skin Resurfacing Therapy?

Typically, patients experience some redness or swelling that lasts for a couple days. Most patients are back to normal activities in about four to five days. Because the carbon dioxide laser treats more intense wrinkles, the total recovery time is about two weeks compared to the erbium laser that requires about a week of total recovery time. The doctor will give you medication and aftercare instructions to make the recovery process as comfortable as possible.

How Can I Find Out Whether This Procedure Is Right for Me?

The best way to determine the option that will give you smooth, rejuvenated skin is to schedule a consultation. You can request a consultation at our facial plastic surgery office serving Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ,  or call us at (480) 214-9955 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Hobgood is a double board-certified plastic surgeon, specializing in a variety of different treatments, both surgical and non-surgical. If fractional laser resurfacing isn’t the right choice for your skincare needs, he can discuss other options to help you achieve the desired result.

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