Skin Aesthetics: Ablative Vs. Non-Ablative Laser Therapy

By Skin & Hair Academy  |   September 27, 2017

Laser therapy has established itself as a popular form of treatment for a variety of skin concerns. Skin resurfacing or skin rejuvenation is a purpose for which laser therapy can be employed to treat aesthetic concerns such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, surgical scars, age spots and stretch marks.

There are essentially two types of laser therapy for this purpose: Ablative Laser Resurfacing and Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing. Both ablative and non-ablative laser therapies are non-surgical methods of enhancing the texture of the skin. 

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

Ablative vs. non-ablative laser skin resurfacing
ablative vs non ablative laserThe key difference between ablative and non-ablative methods is that the ablative methods are more intense and invasive, while the non-ablative ones offer faster recovery. 
The ablative methods work to remove the topmost layer of the skin and treat deeper scars, whereas the non-ablative methods keep the outer layers of the skin intact and work to improve the texture and tone of the skin. 

 

What are the types of ablative lasers?
ablative vs non ablative laserAblative lasers were introduced in the market in the 1980s as continuous wave CO2 lasers. However, due to the significant side effects that they caused, they were modified to focused-beam CO2 lasers and normal-mode erbium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet lasers.

 

 

Who is a good candidate for ablative laser skin resurfacing?
ablative vs non ablative laserAblative skin resurfacing is recommended for those who have deep or pitted scars, severe signs of facial ageing and wish to see significant results in a short period. However, one needs to set aside a period to allow the skin to recover from this method of treatment.  

 

 

What is a good candidate for non-ablative laser skin resurfacing?
ablative vs non ablative laserPeople under the age of 65, who have mild to moderate signs of facial ageing and wish to enhance the texture and tone of their skin, can opt for non-ablative laser therapy. One may require multiple sessions before seeing results, but the recovery time is minimal.


If you’re still debating ablative vs non-ablative laser treatment, then it is best to consult your dermatologist to assess the extent of skin damage and pick a suitable treatment method.


Reference links:
1. Emerging technologies in aesthetic medicine- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19850201 
2.Ablative and fractional ablative lasers - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19850197
3.The spectrum of laser skin resurfacing: Nonablative, fractional, and ablative laser resurfacing -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18423256
4. The difference between Ablative & Non-Ablative laser resurfacing-   http://www.aboutfacescosmetic.com/blog/2013/04/the-difference-between-ablative-and-non-ablative-laser-resurfacing


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