The Piazza Center for Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skin Care
7900 Farm to Market Road 1826, Bldg 2, Suite 206
Austin, TX 78737
Phone: (512) 288-8200
Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
One of the first parts of our body to show aging is our skin. It starts to look dull and tired and present textural changes. There is a wide variety of skin resurfacing treatments such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, and lasers that are designed to improve the quality of the aged skin, creating a more rejuvenated appearance. Of these, laser skin resurfacing treatments are, without a doubt, the most precise way for our patients from Austin, San Antonio, and cities in the surrounding area to attain younger-looking skin.
What Is the Difference Between a CO2 Laser and an Erbium Laser?
There is a wide variety of ablative lasers in the market, with the two main types being Erbium and CO2. Erbium is widely regarded as a superior laser because the ablation and the heat can be tailored independently to the patient’s skin type and need. That means that CO2 is always ablative and hot, while with Erbium lasers, the ablation and heat can be fully controlled. This feature of the Erbium laser is extremely important to recognize—secondary heat caused by CO2 lasers is usually associated with a longer period of redness after the procedure and a higher risk of both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation. In addition, Erbium lasers do not leave the patient with a waxy appearance because the glands in the skin are preserved.
The customizable and refinement features of the Erbium laser allow for a wide array of choices in how gentle or aggressive the treatment will be. Each level provides a different result, adjustable to fit the lifestyle needs and end desires of the patient.
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What Is the Erbium Laser Used for?
In general, the Erbium laser is used for the following resurfacing treatments:
- NanoLaserPeel™ is the lightest peel and removes about 4 microns of the epidermis for improved light reflection and skin health. This treatment has virtually no downtime.
- MicroLaserPeel® is a mild removal of the epidermis raging from 10 to 30 microns in depth; it is often combined with Profractional Erbium™ because the healing times are simultaneous. Compared to chemical peels, the laser is more predictable and more customizable for different parts of the face and patients of different skin types. The downtime is about 3 to 5 days.
- ProFractional Erbium™ is the most sophisticated way to put an array of small holes into the skin for a wide variety of purposes. The holes induce remodeling in scars and can be used to introduce helpful medications into the skin to speed healing times and aid in collagen stimulation. Profractional is often combined with MicrolaserPeel or Contour TRL ™ to add deeper tightening and wrinkle-reducing effects without adding to downtime. It may be done as a series. The downtime is about 3 to 5 days.
- Contour TRL™ provides full-field Erbium laser resurfacing. This option removes the entire epidermis and part of the dermis for more aggressive wrinkle reduction and skin tightening. Age-related brown spots and pigmentation from sun damage can also be addressed with this treatment. The Contour TRL Erbium laser is often compared to CO2, but Erbium is a much more sophisticated laser. Patients can wear makeup in 7 to 10 days. It takes a few to several weeks for the redness to resolve.
Can You Benefit From a NanoLaserPeel or MicroLaserPeel?
The Sciton NanoLaserPeel and MicroLaserPeel are ideal treatments for patients who want a result that is better than a light chemical peel or microdermabrasion with a fast recovery and little downtime. The Erbium laser is the most advanced and precise laser available today used for these treatments because the depth of treatment can be determined very accurately. These laser peels remove the superficial layer of the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmented spots, leaving behind vibrant and youthful skin.
The NanoLaserPeel usually goes up to about 4 microns, while the MicroLaserPeel goes from 4 to 50 microns. Both of these treatments are confined to the epidermis—the outermost, superficial portion of the skin. One micron is equivalent to 1/10,000 of a centimeter or 1/2,540 of an inch.
Because they are so superficial, these procedures are quick and virtually pain-free, although we apply a topical cream for enhanced comfort. The healing process usually ranges from 2 to 5 days, depending on the depth of the peel. Following the procedure, we recommend the application of a protective ointment for a few days and then a soft moisturizer after that. Typically, these procedures can be repeated 2 to 3 times, spaced 3 months apart. However, patients may see results after only one procedure. In some cases, a single treatment could be adequate for a full year.
Can You Benefit from a ProFractional Erbium Laser Treatment?
The ProFractional treatment uses Erbium laser energy to create small channels in the skin while preserving the surrounding skin with areas of healthy, untreated skin. These areas of untreated skin create a significant advantage during the healing process by facilitating quick epithelialization. In the meantime, the treated areas will continue to stimulate the production of new collagen, which will:
- Improve skin quality
- Reduce pore size
- Smooth wrinkles
- Soften scars and other irregularities
These quick treatments, typically performed on face, neck, and décolletage, take about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many areas are treated. A topical anesthetic cream may be applied prior to treatment to improve the comfort level. Afterward, there will be redness and swelling that will vary in degree, depending on how deep the laser treatment was done. Return to normal activities also will depend on how deep the treatment was carried. Following the procedure, we recommend the application of a protective ointment for a few days and then a soft moisturizer after that.
The ProFractional laser works very well as a stand-alone procedure; it’s often combined with other treatments such as BBL, SkinTyte, MicroLaserPeel, and Contour TRL.
Can You Benefit From a Contour TRL Laser Treatment?
Contour TRL (Tunable Resurfacing Laser) is the most cutting-edge laser available on the market. It is completely customizable in terms of depth of ablation on the surface of the skin and the heat that can be delivered to the deeper portion of the skin. Treatments can be tailored individually based on the patient’s skin type and need. This unique capability enables this laser to be used for a very wide array of treatment indications, including:
- Mild to deep wrinkles around the mouth and face
- Acne scars
- Post-traumatic and surgical scars
- Pre-cancerous lesions on the skin
- Pigmented spots on the skin
- Poor skin texture
Contour TRL treatments usually take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how many areas are being treated. Anesthesia is achieved with a nerve block and sedation for improved comfort. After treatment, there will be redness and swelling that will vary in degree depending on how deep the laser treatment was done. Return to normal activities also will depend on how deep the treatment was carried. Following the procedure, we recommend the application of a protective ointment for a few days and then a soft moisturizer after that. We follow patients very closely after the procedure to make sure they are healing well.
Austin residents considering laser skin resurfacing and other med spa treatments can request an in-person or virtual consultation using the online form. We’ll discuss your cosmetic goals and create a customized treatment plan to achieve them. You can also call our office at (512) 288-8200.