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Differences Between CO2 And Erbium Fractional Laser Treatments

There are 2 types of ablative lasers: iPixel carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium (also known as ND: YAG) lasers.

Both help resurface the skin. YAG lasers are a milder version of the two, serving as an ideal remedy for those with mild to moderate acne and acne scars.

What Are Ablative Lasers?

CO2 ablative lasers are fractionated laser beams that create tiny microscopic holes in the epidermis to initiate the process of skin remodelling with the production of collagen. Collagen is an essential part of the human body. It produces structure and support for the skin, organs, and other vital components of human biology. Fractionated lasers cause thermal injury in the dermis, and that signals the body to produce more collagen in the damaged areas, which results in controlled tissue vaporization. Over time, this improves the texture, tone, and firmness of the skin’s surface, which are the results that most people want when they consider laser resurfacing treatments. So now that we know what fractionated lasers do, let’s take a look at how they work.

What Is A YAG Laser?

Erbium uses the YAG laser. YAG is abbreviated from: neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet). The erbium treatment device emits an infrared light that measures from 1,064 to 2,940 nanometres in wavelength. One nanometre equals one billionth of a metre.

What Is iPixel CO2 Laser?

iPixel CO2 laser delivers fractional photothermolysis, high-speed delivery of laser pulses that consistently delivers a single row of 7×7 pixels or 11×11 pixels. Pixels refer to the micro wounds per millimetre delivered by the handheld module. The fractional iPixel CO2 emits infrared light that measures 10,640 nm in wavelength.

iPixel YAG – Erbium

– YAG laser has a shorter wavelength that equates to a lower level of penetration into the skin. – YAG lasers have a higher-power density in terms of focussing light on one small area. – YAG lasers have a small Rayleigh length* vs. CO2, which has a longer Rayleigh length. – YAG is great for quicker processing of thinner materials – Can be Q-switched for pulsed or continuous wave output operation. (This is a feature used in laser ablation.) – Erbium laser provides a milder, less invasive treatment option than a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser.

Targeting Various Depths Into The Epidermis

iPixel CO2

– CO2 (molecular formula for carbon dioxide) laser has a longer wavelength, which equates to a higher level of penetration into the skin. – CO2 lasers have a high Rayleigh length* vs. YAG lasers, which have a shorter Rayleigh length. – Requires varying focal lengths for different ablative applications – Capability limited to one mode: CW (continuous wave) operation * Rayleigh length refers to the capacity of the laser to withhold energy so that it can process and cut through thicker materials. The higher the Rayleigh length, the higher the ability to cut through thicker materials. Ablative lasers can target varying depths into the epidermis. The procedure is often more intense than other laser treatments due to the puncturing of the skin in micro needle holes, so most patients do require pain relief during their treatments and sometimes even after the treatment. With the deeper penetrating lasers like CO2, the use of general anaesthesia is usually given. For the lesser invasive procedures like erbium, local, or topical medications and/or sedatives are given to patients prior to their treatment. Fractionated laser treatments can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours or more. The erbium laser skin-resurfacing treatment is the ideal choice for those who would like to dramatically improve their skin’s appearance. It removes superficial scars and lines in addition to deep wrinkles, and it improves the appearance of the texture and tone of the skin. CO2 laser treatments are able to address deeper layers of damaged skin by removing more of the skin’s superficial layers. However, with more intense treatments comes a longer recovery period. Erbium is the ideal choice for those who have less skin damage and want to be able to recover and rapidly get back to their normal lifestyle. Erbium still proves to display significant improvements in the face with less associated downtime. To learn more about these 2 treatments, please click on the links below: Pros And Cons About CO2 Laser, Q&A: iPixel Erbium Laser Therapy.

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