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There are a number of irregularities on the face that affect the population at large, but few people actually go ahead and treat their problem areas due to fear factors like high costs, pain, time needed for recovery, and potential complications that could further worsen their current condition. Technological innovation has led to the advancement of lasers that can treat a wide variety of common skin abnormalities such as acne scars, accident scars, burn marks, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and of course, fine lines and wrinkles. Erbium laser resurfacing is one of plastic surgeons’ preferred methods for treating unwanted facial features.

Erbium laser skin resurfacing is an ideal remedy for those who would like to achieve dramatic improvement in their skin’s appearance. This procedure successfully removes superficial lines to moderately deep wrinkles with less pain, fewer side effects, and a more rapid recovery than other treatments. The laser produces less bulk heat, which allows for gentle, comfortable elimination of skin, layer by layer.

How Does Erbium Laser Resurfacing Work?

Erbium laser skin resurfacing precisely ablates the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) to reveal the underlying skin that is smoother and younger-looking. The procedure also activates collagen to promote further tightening of the skin. An erbium laser skin-resurfacing treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure with the use of a local anaesthetic and possibly a mild sedative. The laser creates tiny “microthermal” zones deep in the skin, which the skin repairs by pushing out the old sun-damaged skin that has been altered by the laser and replacing it with new skin.

Each treatment replaces about 15% to 20% of the sun-damaged, scarred, or wrinkled skin. It triggers the body’s natural healing process, accelerating the production of collagen and new, healthy skin cells. 1,000 to 2,000 microthermal zones are created in each square centimetre. When erbium laser skin resurfacing is complete, a bandage may or may not be placed on the treatment site. If a bandage is used, it will be replaced by your surgeon in a few days. A week after the procedure, ointment will be applied to prevent the unlikely occurrence of scarring.

Erbium fractional lasers treat the following:
– Sun damage, fine wrinkles, and ageing on the face, neck, chest, and hands as well as on the arms, legs, and back
– Certain cases of melasma
– Certain kinds of acne scarring and surgical scars
– Fine lines around the eye and on the eyelids
– Skin texture and tone
– Precancerous lesions (replacing sun-damaged skin with new skin)

Erbium Laser Skin-Resurfacing Candidates

Someone who is seeking to correct fine lines and wrinkles in the face, neck, back, chest, or hands is a candidate for erbium laser skin resurfacing. In general, the erbium laser resurfacing treatment is available to a wide variety of candidates. Those seeking this procedure desire to look younger and more refreshed, yet are realistic in their expectations. While erbium laser skin resurfacing provides incredible results, the results are not as dramatic as a surgical procedure.

Is Erbium Laser Skin Treatment Safe?

Even as erbium laser skin resurfacing provides a highly effective treatment for fine lines and wrinkles with a shorter recovery period and fewer side effects, those receiving the treatment should still expect their skin to appear pink or red after the procedure. Some swelling may also occur. Health Canada has found erbium laser skin resurfacing to be safe and effective for treating fine lines and moderate wrinkles.

What To Expect

The erbium laser is fully ablative, and the downtime is similar to that of an ablative CO2 laser, aggressive chemical peel (35% TCA or phenol peel), and dermabrasion. The entire surface of the skin is removed to a variable depth (50 microns for a “mini-peel” or 300 microns for an aggressive treatment). The skin will generally regenerate (re-epithelialize) in about 10 days. The skin will be very red for about a month afterwards and then less red for approximately 3 to 4 months.

It is very important to avoid sun exposure during this period because of the risk of a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It is necessary to us sunblock consistently, and some people find it is easier to receive the treatment in the winter months. Very moist skin care is generally recommended in the first few weeks after treatment.

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