Considered the gold standard among many practitioners is CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser skin resurfacing. This is an ablative method which removes both the epidermis and some of the underlying dermis to promote collagen growth so new, healthy skin can thrive. Examples include the Sciton® laser skin resurfacing system, the UltraPulse® CO2, and the Fraxel® Repair (fractional CO2) lasers. These are newer-generation lasers that deliver short-pulse light energy, as well as continuous light beams to produce customized results for each patient’s specific needs.
On the other hand, an erbium laser doesn’t totally destroy the top layer of skin. As a more superficial treatment than the CO2 laser, an erbium laser can still address fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and mild scarring. The erbium laser is very precise and targets water in the skin tissue to evaporate superficial cells, which results in thermal injury to kick-start collagen remodeling. Because the outer layer of skin isn’t damaged with an erbium laser, the downtime after this procedure is typically fairly fast (1-2 weeks).