What is the Safest Resurfacing Technique For Uneven Skin Tone? (photo)

I've been considering skin resurfacing, but there are too many choices. What is the best method? Laser? Chemical peel? Facial? I have relatively good skin, except for a couple of indented scars and uneven tone. I'm nervous about any treatment. I don't want to damage my skin to fix a few irregularities. (Same question, but I've added photos!)

Doctor Answers 6

Resurfacing for uneven skin tone

Start with tretinoin cream and sun protection.  Try a series of light chemical peels or microdermabrasion to see how you like the results.  If you think you would like more aggressive treatment afterwards, consider a non-ablative laser treatment such as the Fraxel Re:store.  You should consult a dermatologist who can assess your skin and offer advice.

Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Safe new skin resurfacing techniques

There are certainly many choices out there but in my office we have found the eMatrix treatment to be both effective and reliable with relatively few risks. The eMatrix utilizes a new form of fractionated radiofrequency technology to improve the appearance of your skin without the damage and downtime associated with more aggressive techniques. After only a few treatments, research studies show significant improvement in deeper wrinkles as well as an overall smoothing effect to the skin. Most patients report the texture of their skin is smoother and softer to touch. It is safe to use for all types of skin, from light to dark.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Safest Laser Resurfacing for Uneven Skin Tone is Fractional Non ablative 1540 Erbium

Thank you for your question. I agree there are so many options that it is terribly confusing.

Generally Fractional Erbium laser resurfacing is safer and less likely to cause pigmentation problems than CO2 laser resurfacing.

Non ablative (no skin is removed) is safer than ablative laser resurfacing in which skin is removed and there is a healing period.

Non ablative Fractional Erbium lasers are described by their wavelength-the most common and widely used are 1540 and 1440 Non ablative Erbium lasers.

Ablative lasers are CO2 and 2940 Erbium.

The 1540 Non ablative Erbium laser will plump the scars, improve texture and there is less risk of pigmentation problems than with ablative or CO2 lasers-see link below

Facial Scars Treated with Skin Resurfacing

A combination of treatment methods is going to yield the best results.  As you can see from some of the answers, the basic starting point is a medically supervised skin care program to optimize the condition of the skin.  No matter what additional steps you take, that is the most cost effective starting point.  Where you go from there depends on your tolerance for down time, etc...Realize that no scar can be completely removed this will save you much disappointment down the road.  The broad area of indentation may require injectable filler to achieve better elevation.  In some cases good old low tech surgical excision yields a significantly improved appearance.  Beware some selling you on the latest greatest machine to fix all your problems...with no downtime to boot!

Robert A. Herbstman, MD, FACS
East Brunswick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Be Conservative with Resurfacing options

Your two issues are tone and scarring. For the tone and overall complexion, I would encourage you to use a tretinoin cream on a daily basis. Working your way up from there, you may need to add bleaching creams as necessary. These can be irratating so try them on a small area first. When trying to balance out the coloring of the skin, using a sunscreen on a daily basis is vital. This helps to reduce future damage and minimizes stimulating the pigment cells that are active now. Hormones can also stimulate the pigment in the skin. You may find that improving the tone may bring you to a place of comfort with your skin.

If the scarring is still a concern, you could try fillers to plump up depresed scars, nonresurfacing lasers, or the grand daddy of all laser treatments is the CO2 laser. Just looking at your pictures, I would probably lean towards the first two options.

Brian Maloney, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Skin resurfacing

You will get many options, depending on the doctor, hie/her experience in the machine of choice or  the machine they have purchased.

Meet with more than one surgeon. discuss exactly what you expect and want.

Usualy y advise is to start with the simplest, a medical grade skin care, you can then add light chemical peel, to medium peel.and finallt fractional CO2 laser

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.