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Erbium laser resurfacing

Skin laser resurfacing treatment using an Erbium YAG laser, a type of metal-enriched crystal laser, is one option some people chose as a cosmetic procedure for fine wrinkles, some sun damage, moderate acne damage, uneven pigmentation and rough skin. It may also be used to treat some birthmarks.

This technique is also called ablative laser facial resurfacing.

This removes skin layer by layer to encourage new skin growth.

Erbium laser resurfacing

Erbium laser resurfacing is designed to remove superficial and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face hands, neck, or chest. One of the benefits of Erbium laser resurfacing is minimal burning of surrounding tissue. This laser causes minimal side effects, such as swelling, bruising and redness, so your recovery time should be more rapid than with CO2 laser resurfacing.

If you have a darker skin tone, Erbium laser resurfacing may work better for you. Your doctor will determine which laser is best for you after evaluating your medical history, current physical condition, and desired results.

Precautions before Erbium laser resurfacing

The cosmetic surgeon will check whether roaccutane, antibiotics or St John’s wort have been taken in the last six months, as these may cause adverse reactions with the laser treatment.

Cold sores need to be completely healed before laser treatment.

What can be expected during Erbium laser resurfacing?

Erbium laser resurfacing is performed on day case basis, using local or general anaesthetic. Multiple treatments may be required.

Special eye protection has to be worn during the procedure.

Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead may be treated individually, or a full-face laser abrasion may be performed.

What happens after laser resurfacing?

The area of skin that's been treated will be covered with a dressing and instructions given for aftercare, such as keeping the area dry and avoiding the urge to scratch it if it becomes itchy.

Some soreness or discomfort is possible and a painkiller such as paracetamol may be recommended.

Depending on skin type, the treated area may be pink for up to six months after laser treatment. This needs to be protected with sun screen of at least SPF30 outdoors.

Some lightening or darkening of the skin is possible. Darkening will usually fade while lightening may be permanent.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on May 31, 2013

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