How Much Down Time is Needed After Erbium Treatment?

How much time will I need off from work? Work with public in health care? I'll have medium treatment with Erbium laser.

Doctor Answers 9

Depends - fractional vs ablative, superficial vs deep, coag vs no coag.

It really depends. Fractional recovery can be as quick as 3 days, full resurfacing on your lips for sun damage may take upto 3 weeks. 

Generally I say that medium to deep resurfacing 7-10 days. Some areas heal more quickly compared to others, and redness may last a few weeks, depending on your skin type, and depth we go to. 


Dr Davin Lim 
Laser and Cosmetic Dermatologist
Brisbane and Gold Coast

Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Varying downtime after Erbium laser treatment

There are different types of Erbium lasers available to address specific skin types and skin conditions. Each laser can be customized for each patient’s specific needs. The latest Erbium technology by Sciton® can take the customization further since it’s measured in microns and can treat minor or deeper skin conditions. Therefore, the amount of downtime varies on the strength of the laser used and how many treatments a patient plans to have. Even though you say “medium treatment,” it is difficult to determine exact downtime and laser strength. It is important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon or licensed laser technician with experience particularly using Erbium lasers to discuss which treatment plan will allow a shorter recovery.

Fernando D. Burstein, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Downtime after erbium laser

The downtime depends on the aggressiveness of the treatment.  It may take 7 to 10 days for healing to occur.  Follow your physician's after-care protocol.  Avoid the sun and use makeup until the pinkness fades.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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Depending on how aggressive the treatment, usually 5-7 days is enough time to heal. Thank you for your question and good luck.

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Fractional Erbium ablative laser resurfacing requires 5-7 days of downtime


Flat beam Erbium laser resurfacing which treats all of the skin, can require up to two weeks of downtime if a medium or deep Erbium laser peel is done.

Newer Fractional Ablative Laser skin resurfacing leaves tiny islands of skin intact and results in quicker healing with only 5-7 days of downtime.

Non-ablative fractional Erbium laser resurfacing does not break the skin and only causes pink or red color which can be covered with make up and only lasts a few days.

Read link below for more information.

Downtime after Erbium Laser Treatment

The amount of downtime after an Erbium laser treatment depends on which Erbium laser is used and the laser parameters chosen by your physician.

The downtime can vary anywhere from absolutely no downtime when an Erbium micropeel is used to between 7 and10 days from social activities and work with a more aggressive approach.

To your health,
Dr. Goldberg

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Downtime for an erbium peel

It depends, even when you mention medium as a depth. My erbium laser is by Scition ( for more information that might help), and allows three different ways to apply erbium energy. A micropeel means you treat all the skin about 20-60 microns deep. Takes 2-5 days for the skin to heal, redness then disperses usually within another week.

Erbium can also be fractionated, called profractional xc. That treats 11% or more of the skin with vertical microchannels that are deeper than the microlaser. We average about 300 microns with most patients. That will also take about 4 days to heal, redness another 4. But we are still able to provide that in a clinic setting and minimal anesthesia (ie topical).

Conventional erbium laser may be what was described to you. Now we treat 100% of the skin surface again, but are back to the 250-500 micron depth. That takes about 7 days to heal, but the redness persists for another 1-6 weeks. It also requires at least IV anesthesia.

More aggressive treatments take longer to heal. But they offer more results. Microlaser and profractional treatments are best designed for more than one treatment, while the erbium is just once.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Erbium peel

The erbium laser is a great way to perform superficial to deep peels.  Superficial peels can heel in two to three days. Most medium depth peels take about a week to heal. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Downtime for Erbium laser

The erbium laser is fully ablative and the downtime is similar to that of an ablative CO2 laser, aggressive chemical peel (35% TCA or phenol peel), and dermabrasion. The entire surface of the skin is removed to a variable debth (50 microns for a "mini-peel or 300 microns for an aggressive treatment). The skin will generally regenerate (re-epithelialize) in about 10 days making this the earliest time you could get back into cover-up make-up. We recommend a mineral make-up such as GLO mineral make-up. The skin will be very red for about a month after and then less red for about 3 - 4 months.

It is very important to avoid sun exposure during this period because of the risk of a condition called postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Judicious use of sunblocking agents is necessary and oftentime it is easier to have your treatment in the winter months. Very moist skin care is generally recommended in the first few weeks after treatment.

Fractionated laser resurfacing (Fraxel) can give similar results to the Erbium but with significantly less downtime.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.