Best Laser Treatment for Resurfacing and Facial Rejuvenation?

Fraxel, Active FX, or Sciton Laser? It is very confusing which one to have done. My goal is to improve tone, fine wrinkles and discolorations. I work at home and can take recovery time. Please advise.

Doctor Answers 1

3 things you should know about laser skin resurfacing

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Dear Olivia,

With all of the laser technology out there today, it can really be confusing as to what the differences are and how effective they can be.

Here is what most people should know about laser skin resurfacing:

#1: Ablative vs. Nonablative lasers

There is a difference between ablative and nonablative lasers. Each of the lasers you mention are ablative lasers (Fraxel re:pair CO2 laser, Active FX CO2 laser, and the Sciton erbium laser).

Ablative lasers are more traditional in that they immediately remove an area of skin that is treated. This can be performed as a complete alblation where all of the surface in treated or removed to a specific depth, or as a fractional ablation where only a fraction of the skin surface in treated to a specific depth. The later, fractional ablation, is a relatively new concept which seems to produce as good of a result with less downtime or "skin healing time" required.

#2: Abaltive lasers - CO2 vs. Erbium

The 2 most common ablative lasers are the carbon dioxide laser (CO2) and the erbium laser. Both of these technologies have been around for a long period of time.

Most people believe that the CO2 laser is the gold standard in laser skin resurfacing. It has gotten a bad name because the tradiational "complete ablative" methods of CO2 laser resurfacing has a high risk of producing shiney skin with permanent loss of pigment.

New methods, especially in well trained hands, have reduced this risk greatly. And now, the fractional CO2 resurfacing technologies (Fraxel re:pair and Active/Deep FX) has reduced this risk even more!

The erbium laser is also ablative, but has much less heat associated with it. Some surgeons believe that this less heat produces less swelling and less downtime. Today, most erbium resurfacing is done with the Sciton system. It can do both complete and fractionated resurfacing

#3: Depth and density of laser treatment

One of the main considerations in the effectiveness of any resurfacing modality is the depth and density of the treatment. Complete ablation is 100% dense. Fractional ablation is somewhere in between. All of these laser systems you mention can give a good result if the surgeon know how to use them properly.

Finally, I firmly believe that there is a direct correlation to treatment efficacy and downtime with any resurfacing modality. If you want a good result then you have to be treated to a correct depth with a correct density. When done properly, you should have noticable results after only 1 treatment!

Thank you for your question! Please select a surgeon who has experience with all of these treatments. Make sure they can tell you the differences between them and why they choose one over another.

Annapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.