With laser resurfacing you are supposed to make water in the skin’s surface cells explode. This in turn would make the outer skin layer disappear by vaporization. There has to be enough energy not absorbed by water to pass into the dermis and create an injury which would make the skin contract.
All of the CO2 lasers except one created a layer of deep 2nd degree burn. It is reported in the literature that as high as 20% of the patients treated with these lasers had an area of 3rd degree burn. Most had an injury deep enough to at least temporarily de-pigment the skin.
The Erbium Yag laser has a frequency of light that is much better absorbed in water. In fact, it is absorbed 10,000 times better than the CO2 lasers. Because this energy is absorbed in the superficial layer of skin you do not have a deeper dermal injury which causes the ablation of wrinkles and tightening of the skin.
Because the vaporization of water absorbs the energy you are not causing severe dermal injury. This severe dermal coagulation injury of the CO2 is what causes the ablation of wrinkles and contracture of skin. The Erbium does not have as much skin tightening and wrinkle ablating as does the CO2 lasers. If an extreme improvement in skin texture is needed I would recommend an aggressive chemical peel. The results of the deep peels are longer lasting than the CO2 lasers.
The combination of the Erbium laser with Percutaneous Collagen Induction is an exciting concept. You can read more on this subject on the Dermabrasion page. Laser Resurfacing with Erbium Laser:
- Removes fine lines
- Has a faster recovery, with less discomfort
- Laser can be applied to areas of the face or the entire face
- You can look years younger