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Ablative Vs. Nonablative: Understanding Laser Resurfacing




A youthful, smooth complexion is not only beautiful but heavily sought after. For those with less-than-perfect skin, this seems like an impossible goal. Yet, laser resurfacing has a greater chance of improving one’s appearance.


When researching laser resurfacing before and after photos, people question the difference between nonablative and ablative laser resurfacing and which is best for them.


What is Ablative?


This laser resurfacing treatment helps with more severe acne scarring, wrinkles, skin texture challenges, and uneven pigmentation. While this option is popular due to its more dramatic results, it also comes with significant healing time. The upside—the results last for years!


Ablative laser resurfacing targets both the skin’s epidermis and dermis layers. A non-fractionated laser removes the skin’s outer layer and heats the inner layer to promote collagen growth. Specifically, it evaporates water molecules into gas, eliminating skin cells with it, and as the skin heals and regrowths, the epidermis and dermis retract, leaving smoother skin.


Depending on the magnitude of the patient’s skin issues, the session can take between thirty minutes to two hours and involves preparatory medication and instructions to follow. While numbing cream offers pain relief for less lengthy procedures, some patients are anesthetized during more extensive, full-facial laser resurfacing.


Immediately afterward, patients receive pain medication, a facial pack of medicinal ointment, and ice to help with swelling. Recovery is one month, yet inflammation may last for several months.


What is Nonablative?


Nonablative laser resurfacing uses similar technology to target the skin’s dermis layer, leaving the epidermis intact. As a result, it is considered a controlled tissue injury with fewer possible side effects than ablative laser resurfacing. In addition, it is gentler, doesn’t involve peeling skin, and patients can immediately return to their daily routine.


While nonablative treatments also treat uneven pigmentation, rejuvenate the skin, and treat minor wrinkles, the results are more moderate in comparison. Patients usually require four to six treatments over months, with several weeks between each for an optimal outcome.


Immediately after treatment, patients may experience some redness and swelling, though easily treated with ice. You must avoid sun exposure and use adequate sunscreen regardless of your treatment.


How to Determine Which One is Right for Me


There are still some important factors to consider before deciding between ablative and nonablative laser resurfacing.


Here are some predetermining reasons you may opt for one treatment over the other:


  • Skin coloration

  • Previous medical procedures

  • Recovery Expectations

  • Magnitude of Skin Issues


For example, those with suntanned or darker skin may find nonablative more suitable due to the possibility of discoloration or scarring. However, others with more severe wrinkles or facial texture may find that nonablative won’t give them their desired results. To better understand the results, see the laser resurfacing before and after photos offered by medispas.


Of course, one must also consider the risks involved, such as infection, changes in skin color, and susceptibility to scarring. Therefore, before proceeding, both treatments will involve an in-depth look at your medical history and current concerns.


Go Right to the Source


The best way to determine which treatment is best for you, consult with a certified specialist who has the skills and expertise to guide you properly. Dr. Rob Coutts of Glamour MD in Toronto, ON, along with his professional staff, helps his clients find the beautiful skin they desire while under his direction and care.


So you know you are in trusted hands, whether you choose ablative or nonablative laser resurfacing or any of the other valuable services at Glamour MD.


Schedule your consultation online or by calling 416-930-4668 to begin your transformation today!



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