The Difference Between Ablative, Non-Ablative, & Hybrid Lasers!

Laser resurfacing is used to treat a variety of conditions, including wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. “This procedure targets molecular bonds in the skin to help heal damaged areas and reduce the appearance of skin damage and signs of aging,” shares Natalie Smith, a licensed medical aesthetician and certified laser technician at Sanova Dermatology in San Antonio, Texas. There are multiple techniques used in laser resurfacing, so it’s important to understand your options when deciding which approach is right for you. The most common laser resurfacing techniques are ablative lasers, non-ablative lasers, and hybrid lasers.

What are ablative lasers?

Ablative laser resurfacing removes the outer layer of damaged skin and stimulates collagen production in the dermis (the lower layer of skin) to produce a new, healthy epidermis (the outer layer of skin). “The new epidermis resulting from this procedure will appear smoother and tighter,” Smith states.

What are non-ablative lasers?

“Non-ablative laser resurfacing does not remove the epidermis but instead stimulates the dermis to increase collagen growth,” says Smith. Over time, the results of this procedure will improve skin tone and texture. While non-ablative laser resurfacing is less invasive and requires less recovery time, the results are less dramatic than ablative laser resurfacing.

What are hybrid lasers?

Hybrid laser resurfacing combines ablative and non-ablative techniques to restore damaged and uneven skin. “Hybrid lasers target both the epidermis and dermis to deliver the results of ablative laser resurfacing with the minimal recovery time of non-ablative laser resurfacing,” Smith explains This is possible because hybrid laser resurfacing targets specific damaged areas while leaving the rest of your skin undisturbed, which allows the epidermis in those areas to regrow quicker.

Laser resurfacing is a highly individualized procedure that is fine-tuned to provide the best results for a variety of skin tones and textures and the number of treatments necessary to receive optimal results will vary, which is why it is important to talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is right for your skin.

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