Moisturizing and eating right are fantastic ways to protect your skin from aging, sun damage, acne, and even scarring. But if neither seems to be working—or if you are having excessive difficulty managing dry or oily skin—there are, thankfully, other solutions. Laser resurfacing treatments, for example, can help revitalize your appearance, and bolster your skin health, in countless ways.

What is Laser Resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that is both safe and consistent. It offers precise, targeted treatment for aging, sun damage, discoloration, scarring, wrinkles, and even sebaceous blemishes. Depending on your specific needs, there are many kinds of lasers that can help you meet your goals, though the most popular two types are ablative and non-ablative.

Ablative and Non-Ablative Lasers

Ablative Laser Treatment

Ablative lasers are used far more often than non-ablative lasers and are usually better suited for treating more complex imperfections such as scarring, facial folding, and hyperpigmentation. The most commonly used ablative laser is the Fractional CO2 Laser, which emits infrared light at a wavelength of 10.6 micrometers (μm). While the treatment’s recovery time is only 2 to 4 weeks, the skin typically stays a bit red for a few months. This minor irritation, of course, can be covered with makeup.

Non-Ablative laser treatment

A non-ablative laser treatment is an excellent choice for subtler changes, including the elimination of freckles and mild discoloration. This laser emits light at wavelengths ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 micrometers (μm).

Non-ablative laser treatments boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that heals and revitalizes the skin. As these lasers’ effects are more subtle, the recovery time is only 1-2 weeks, a much shorter time than that of ablative laser treatments.

Both ablative and non-ablative lasers will give the best, most complication-free results if the skin is well-hydrated before treatment.

Commonly Used Laser Treatments

CO2 Laser

This is the most commonly used laser. It clears imperfections that are too small for cosmetic surgery but too large for more accurate lasers, and wonderfully eliminates age spots, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Although this procedure carries almost no risk, people with darker skin have a higher risk of cell damage or discoloration, but modern CO2 lasers have tweakable settings that can minimize complications. A full treatment takes around 2 hours to complete and has a 2-4 week recovery time.

Erbium Laser

The non-ablative Erbium Laser, like the CO2 Laser, is entirely capable of clearing small imperfections, but it is primarily used to promote the production of collagen. This laser is therefore the best option for those looking to heal and resurface their skin.

This treatment is also slightly quicker, taking only about an hour to complete, and boasts a much quicker recovery time of about 3-5 days. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that since this laser has a more accurately targeted wavelength, it may take multiple treatments to achieve the same results that a CO2 Laser could provide in one.


The PiXel8-RF Laser is far more versatile than the aforementioned CO2 and Erbium lasers. This non-ablative treatment incorporates a “micro-needling system,” which targets the deeper layers of the skin to activate more collagen. Because it is intensely accurate, it can even treat areas as delicate as the eyelids.

The PiXel8-RF is one of the favorite devices of top New York facial plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Jacono. Dr. Jacono is impressed by how quick a single treatment is—just less than 30 minutes—and by how noticeable results are after a single session. With PiXel8-RF, he says, most swelling and redness will fade within a mere 24 hours.

It is best to consult with a medical professional to determine if PiXel8-RF is right for you, and it is also incredibly important to put your trust in the right surgeon. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get the best skin rejuvenation treatment you deserve.