Profactional Vs CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

What is the difference between Profactional Laser resurfacing and CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

Doctor Answers 7

CO2 Vs Erbium Lasers

After performing more than 4600 CO2 procedures since 1992, I can catagoricaly state that threre is no contest. Microfractional CO2 laser resurfacing is Superior to All of the Erbium lasers. the reason is simple. CO2 lasers are 10,600 nanometers and Erbium-yag laser are at 2640 nanometers. This higher wavelength produces much more heat in the deep dermis that Erbium can and this deep, higher temperature is what is needed to ensure long lasting (10 years or more) tightening.  The Profractional Laser by Sciton Is a fractionated Erbium laser and cannot defy the laws of physics and give more tightening than a Microfractional CO2 laser. The real problem here is  the deliberate confusion by the manufacturers of CO2 and erbium lasers. (Most companies make both). eg. Fraxel Repair is a CO2 laser(10,600nm) Fraxel Restore is an Erbium laser(1550nm) and Fraxel refine is (1440nm) all three made by the same company. In my opinion, the C02 laser> erbium> 1440. The consumer sees "Fraxel" in ads and has no way of determining effectivness. I conclude by mentioning that Sciton does make a double erbium-yag laser the Contour trl which is the only Erbium laser that comes close to Microfractionlal CO2, but still isn"t as good.


San Ramon Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Profactional Vs CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing

Profractional is Sciton's trade name for a fractional laser. There are many types of C02 fractional laser resurfacing. Some are more effective for certain treatments than profractional, but most are less effective. When deciding on a laser treatment, choose an experienced, reputable, and expert practitioner who can tailor laser or provide a combination of lasers to meet your needs/objectives.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Fractional laser resurfacing often gives minimal improvement.


Both lasers that you ask about are "minimally invasive".  Unfortunately, this sometimes also means they are minimally effective.  The results do not compare with ablative erbium laser resurfacing.

Ablative laser needs some anesthesia and has a five day recovery, but I think the results are worth it.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Profractional and CO2 laser resurfacing are different

Both Profractional and Fractional Repair are good lasers and when used properly by an experienced doctor, both can achieve good results.

The MOST important factor in laser resurfacing is not the machine but the experience and skill of your doctor.

That said i will tell you that at 2 years, the final results of a properly done Profractional laser resurfacing and a Fraxel repair laser resurfacing are equal.

The Profractional is an Erbium laser and generally speaking, Erbium laser resurfacing is less painful, and has quicker recovery at the same depth of treatment.

Find the best doctor who does laser resurfacing in your area and trust his advice

Heat and Depth - Co2 and Erbium

Both of the laser you mention create small dots or mtzs (Micro Thermal Zones) of tissue injury or heating. The MTZ heal from the surrounding injured tissue so that you get a smoother, tighter more uniform appearance of the skin.

ProFractional lasers utilize an erbium laser that is very specific for water. With this laser you can remove or vaporize a specific amount of tissue giving your skin a beautiful resurfacing. You can also add heat to the columns of tissue or not depending upon what your doctor and you are trying to accomplish. Heat causes the surrounding collagen to contract.

CO2 fractional lasers utilize CO2 which has a higher wavelength of light in the Infra red spectrum. While it also uses water as a chromophore it is not as specific so the thermal relaxation time isn't reached as quickly and the tissue surrounding the MTZ absorb the excess heat. This allows for collagen contraction and again can gives the skin a nice uniform color and texture. The difficulty with the heat for both lasers is that this can cause hyperpigmentation in darker skin types or long term hypopigmentation.

CO2 has been considered the gold standard for facial resurfacing, however the ProFractional with its ability to deliver prescribed depths of tissue ablation and heat may give your provider a little more control.

I hope this helps. Often it is not the tool that matters but the person using it and the material with which they are working with.

Charles Perry, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Erbium vs Carbon dioxide

Profractional is the trade name for scitons erbium fractional laser. There are many erbium and carbon dioxide fractional systems available. Both erbium and carbon dioxide (CO2) are considered ablative fractional devices - they differ in general by the amount of thermal damage generated. The sciton profractional is a very sophisticated erbium laser that allows the operator to determine the amount of thermal damage and downtime created. See the Sciton website at for further info.

Jason Pozner, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Fractional CO2 wins this battle

We have 3 fractional CO2 lasers, one standard CO2 laser and an erbium laser. Theoretical information is great, but look at the before and afters of both the Fraxel repair and profractional and you will see that the Fraxel repair photos are more impressive and require less treatments. In fact, the majority of patients require only one treatment with the Fraxel repair. I have posted photos of patients that I have treated so that you can review for comparison. Whatever you decide, choose a dermatologist or plastic surgeon that performs the treatment and does lots of cases. I have not seen any cases of permanent hypopigmentation with Fraxel repair, unless there was an infection or some other complication. Best, Dr. Groff

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 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.