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Aging, sun exposure, genetics and lifestyle factors (eg, nutrition, alcohol consumption and smoking) all may contribute to premature facial aging—from wrinkles to skin laxity. Laser resurfacing offers a way to safely and effectively improve skin tone and texture, minimize wrinkles, and tighten the skin. Additional skin conditions that laser resurfacing can improve include acne scarring and pigmentary changes.

Laser skin resurfacing is defined as a controlled injury to the skin. There are two forms of laser resurfacing: ablative and nonablative. Ablative (CO2) resurfacing removes the surface layer of the skin. Today, the innovative hybrid CO2 fractional laser has largely replaced the traditional CO2 laser, bringing together the best of both ablative and nonablative laser resurfacing technologies. The effectiveness of traditional CO2 lasers with a new fractionated technique combined delivers powerful results without the traditionally harsh side effects. After laser treatment with the CO2 fractional laser as your skin heals over 5 to 7 days, new collagen-rich skin and tissue generate.

Nonablative (fractional) resurfacing, on the other hand, only causes selective damage of the skin in the form of tiny dots. As a result, results may not be as significant as those achieved with the CO2 fractional laser. As the skin heals, it’s tightened by connecting the dots as collagen contracts between the pin-point laser holes. Downtime is significantly less, commonly occurring in about 3 days.

Local or general anesthesia is needed, depending on the laser treatment and the area treated. (Larger areas may require sedation or general anesthesia.) Recovery will depend on the technique and depth of treatment the skin requires.

Procedure: 1 to 2 hours

Recovery: 3 days for nonablative; 5 to 7 days for CO2 fractional

Average Cost: $1200 for nonablative (3 to 5 sessions may be required); $2000 for CO2 fractional (1 to 2 sessions generally required)

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