Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing can dramatically enhance and improve your skin’s appearance. It can clear your skin of blemishes and spots and improve clarity and texture to give the overall glow of youthful skin. Rejuvenation can be achieved by using laser, light, or plasma energy.

Conditions that Respond Well to Skin Resurfacing

  • Pigment damage such as sun spots, melasma, freckles, dark skin patches due to sun exposure
  • Vascularities such as facial redness, blood vessels on the cheeks and nose, small blood blisters
  • Wrinkles that are always present and those that appear as folds in the skin
  • Scars from conditions such as acne, surgery, keloids, trauma
  • Skin looseness or cellulite from loss of skin tone from weakened collagen and elastin.

Average Cost & Length of Treatment

The typical charge for a CO2 laser treatment is about $4,000. CO2 lasers typically take at least an hour to complete and the patient is recommended to be diligent with wound care since infections are more common than with Erbium lasers.

An aggressive C02 level Erbium laser ablation would cost about $2500 – $3500 for a full-face treatment. Erbium lasers are often done with multiple passes and varying settings that take anywhere from 10 minute single-pass treatments to 45 minute multi-pass treatments. Non-ablative 1540 Erbium cases are approximately $600 -$1200 for the face and take 30-45 minutes to complete when done properly and with multiple passes.

Lasers of the Present vs. the Past

CO2 lasers are the gold standard other lasers are compared to. CO2 laser resurfacing is generally more aggressive and potentially more effective than Erbium lasers but results in a longer recovery time. In fact, you may not be presentable in public for two weeks or more due to the redness and weepy skin! Erbium lasers, on the other hand, will give modest improvements in one session and may required multiple sessions to achieve the effect wanted. Generally, Erbium laser patients can return to work in one week or less. This applies to ablative 2940nm and non-ablative 1540nm lasers. The difference between an ablative CO2 / Erbium laser and that of the Non-Ablative 1540 laser is simple. Ablative lasers remove layers of skin whereas Non-Ablatiave lasers leave hundreds of holes in the skin interspersed with normal skin. This results in the formation of new collagen and elastin that tend to soften and smoothen out skin.

What is “Fractional” or “Fractionated” treatments? Unlike an ablative laser that blasts the surface of the skin and denudes the layers, “Fractionated” systems place hundreds of holes in the skin surface that is intermixed with normal skin surface. Healing produces an expulsion of materials from the holes with new collagen and elastin growing in the holes that then pull the normal tissue in resulting in tightening and smoothening of skin. Fractionated treatments have revolutionized the industry by giving outstanding results with rapid recovery and almost no down-time.

Recovery Time

Recover time after a CO2 resurfacing can be many weeks to months if it is not fractionated. Fractionated CO2 lasers can give recovery times as fast as 7-10 days with excellent tightening effects. When ablative Erbium is used, such as the 2940nm lasers, superficial resurfacing of 50 microns can be healed up in as little as two to three days. This is the common “Lunch Time” or “Weekend” peels. More aggressive fractionated 2940 Erbium lasers give recovery times as fast as seven to ten days as opposed to many weeks to months with the CO2 laser.

Other Erbium lasers, such as the 1540nm lasers, are usually fractionated with full treatments requiring a recovery time of only four to seven days. Some continue to have a mild splotchiness for weeks to months depending on the areas treated and how many passes are made.

Recovery Time

Carbon Dioxide (CO2 laser)

Improvement in Dynamic Wrinkles 60-80% 30-70%
Improvement in Fine Wrinkles 100% 100%
Improvement in Acne Scars 20-30% 15-25%
Effect on Spider Veins May worsen them May worsen them
Discomfort of procedure Significant (Requires Anesthesiologist) Moderate
Recovery 10-14 Days 4-7 Days
Redness 1-4 Months (Yikes!) 1-4 Weeks
Final Result Seen After redness fades (1-4 months) After redness fades (1-4 weeks)
Cost (Full Face) $4200 $3400
Cost (Single Area) $2000 $1700

Consult a Physician


Always consult with your health care provider before applying any product, adding any substances to your diet, or making any lifestyle changes.