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Fractional Skin Resurfacing

Updated on August 21, 2011

What is fractional skin resurfacing?

Fractional skin resurfacing is a major breakthrough in laser technology, it not only provides better results than those traditional skin resurfacing treatments, such as traditional laser or chemical skin resurfacing, but it is also proved to be a safer treatment with less post-operative complications and quicker recovery. Fractional laser resurfacing can effectively improve your skin conditions in the following areas:

It helps to improve the skin damage from acne scars, improve skin texture and uneven skin problems, reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin, improve pigmentation including melasma, stimulate proliferation of bone collagen and make skin healthier.

The basic principle of fractional skin resurfacing is to use a laser beam, in a narrow and focused area on the skin, to produce lots of extremely tiny holes on the treated area. These tiny holes will stimulate the self-healing mechanism of the skin, during the healing process, the dermis will regenerate collagen and reorganize its structures and thus form new, healthy skin tissue.

Fractional skin resurfacing is a newly-emerged laser technology, and like all the other laser surgery, it can be divided into ablative and non-ablative laser treatments. To put it simply, the main difference between these two treatments is whether or not it damages the epidermis. In a non-ablative laser treatment, the laser beam are precisely-targeted at the dermis instead of the epidermis, it can penetrates the epidermis and goes deep into the dermis without causing any damages. Right now, non-ablative laser is the most popular technology used in most of the laser equipments on the fractional skin resurfacing market. 

Under normal conditions, after the resurfacing treatment, these is no wound on the skin, and you can immediately start to use make-ups on the treated area. The entire course of a successful fractional skin resurfacing usually needs treatments for 5 times, and there should be at least 1 weeks left for short recovery between each treatment. The skin resurfacing effect will gradually become apparent, as the collagen restructuring and skin tightening effects continue to improve over a period of time, even 6 months after the treatment.

What are the possible complications of fractional skin resurfacing?

Fractional laser resurfacing has many advantages such as fewer trauma, fewer complications and quicker recovery, and permanent skin trauma is rarely seen. Generally speaking, non-ablative treatment laser can penetrate the epidermis without making any damages, so after the treatment, there are no such thing as infection, inflammation or scar on the surface of the skin. While ablative laser treatment, on the other hand, brings damages to the epidermis and some of the dermis, it has many after-treatment drawbacks and risks, it may produce red spots, swelling, pigmentation and other short-term complications, it may also bring some temporary and mild reactions, among which there are:

  • Pain in the treated area.
  • red spots which usually occurs after sun exposure, and it lasts for 5 to 7 days, it is a normal situation during the self-healing process of the skin. Typically red spots is an indication that there is new collagen formation and improved blood circulation in the treated area.
  • Swelling which sometimes happens in high-energy treatment, and it usually will disappear after 1 to 3 days.
  • Skin inflammation such as acne-like rash etc.
  • Temporary pigmentation which can happen after high-energy treatment in dark skin, it is actually post-inflammatory pigmentation that takes several weeks until fully recovery.

In general, patients who have taken fractional skin resurfacing treatment should stay away from sun exposure for at least 2 weeks after the treatment, and in the recovery period, apply bleaching creams on the skin can prevent or reduce the incidence of pigmentation.


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