How Fractional Laser Treatment Works?

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Are your skincare products just not capable in terms of the complexion goals you hope to achieve? There are multiple ingredients available in the market that can benefit your skin’s appearance. But sometimes, getting the root product for your complexion concerns comes down to in-office treatments. That is where fractional lasers come in. 

Laser skin resurfacing has become a proven way to help reduce your face wrinkles, acne scars, age spots, and other blemishes.  The treatment can also tighten your skin and balance your tone.

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It is a facial rejuvenation procedure where your doctor will use a laser to treat minor facial flaws and improve your skin’s appearance. But precisely because laser treatment can do so much, and they widely vary in how they act on your skin. 

To find out more about fractional lasers and how they might just be the answer to your skincare concerns, keep scrolling down.

What Are Fractional Lasers?

Fractional lasers are resurfacing lasers that benefit your skin as they create columns of thermal damage within the skin. These are columns as opposed to the overall damage to your skin. 

Your skin is able to heal itself and regenerate itself, thus leading to the appearance of a revitalized complexion. The fractional laser treatment targets both the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin and the dermis, the layer beneath the epidermis. The procedure reduces pigment and stimulates collagen formation.

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The columns of injury created by lasers are interspersed with areas of normal skin. This pattern is what helps speed up the wound healing process, decrease side effects, and reduce downtime.

Though there are different cosmetic lasers available that are difficult to differentiate. Fractional lasers actually target your facial wrinkles and textural irregularities. However, fractional lasers stand apart as they have a different way in which they deliver energy to create maximum results with very little downtime.

Fractional lasers are categorized into two types: ablative and non-ablative. The categorization is based on whether or not they affect the stratum corneum, the topmost layer of your epidermis.

If you opt for fractional ablative lasers, it will create full-thickness injury in your skin. In contrast, non ablative fractional lasers will generally leave your stratum corneum intact. 

How Fractional Laser Resurfacing Work

In fractional laser skin resurfacing, your doctor will use a device called a fractional laser that delivers precise microbeams of laser light into the lower layers of your skin. The process will create deep, narrow columns of tissue coagulation. 

These coagulated tissues in the treatment area start to stimulate a natural healing process. It instantly results in the fast growth of your healthy new tissue. Your doctor can use them to treat your face, chest, neck, arms, and hands. Discomfort caused during the treatment typically is minimal. 

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The approach is popular because it produces long-lasting results with virtually no downtime. You might require a series of treatments over a period of one to four-week intervals to achieve the desired results.

Benefits of Fractional Lasers

  • Speeds up the wound healing process.
  • The treatment promotes collagen production.
  • It minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • The treatment blurs out the appearance of scars.
  • The treatment can lighten dark spots and melasma.
  • Shrink the appearance of pores.
  • Reduces the appearance of photodamage.

So you can see that fractional lasers are able to improve your skin’s complexion from all angles. It can successfully address everything from texture to skin pigmentation and to signs of aging.

The number-one benefit of fractional lasers is that the treatment is worth trying among other skin treatments. The trick is you should go to a board – for treatment.


If you have a darker skin type, you are at a higher risk for side effects – including hyperpigmentation and scarring. Hence it is recommended that you go to a physician trained in lasers to minimize any risks.

How to Prepare for a Fractional Laser Treatment

To make the most of your fractional laser treatment, consult your doctor before booking an appointment. Make sure the treatment is suitable to your skin type. Also discuss with your doctor ensure that it is the right treatment for you. 

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You should discuss all the skincare you use and the medications you are on. This will help your doctor to direct what should be applied to the skin while you are recovering. The procedure will maintain safety and will enhance your results. Your doctor will also advice exactly which products need to be removed from your routine for faster healing.

The Most Common Type of Fractional Lasers

As you are aware, fractional lasers are divided primarily into two main categories: ablative (open) and non-ablative (non-open) treatments. 

In the case of ablative fractional laser, the wavelengths of the beams vaporize your skin either across the surface in higher densities or deeper within your skin at lower densities. The non-ablative wavelengths will heat and remodel your skin but will not vaporize your skin. 

As these are less invasive in nature, the non-ablative fractional lasers are most common in the market. They are not ablative because you can use makeup during the recovery period. 

Moreover, there is no open skin during the treatment. The healing is also faster. The affected areas are fractional, meaning that the heat and light are delivered in a pixelated fashion.

Types of Non Ablative Fractional Lasers

This type of laser is a non-wounding laser that will help trigger collagen growth, which over time helps improve your skin tone and texture. 

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This approach uses various types of lasers as well as intense pulsed light (IPL) devices. This is a less invasive procedure and requires less recovery time. As a result, it is also less effective. The most common non ablative fractional lasers are as follows:

1 Clear and Brilliant

A low-energy resurfacing laser, the Clear and Brilliant laser, can help stimulate collagen, thus helping to treat wrinkles, fine lines, and pores. The Permea handpiece has a more superficial target, which can reduce brown spots on your skin.

Moreover, it can improve hyperpigmentation, including melasma that occurs after acne blemishes. The treatment can also brighten the skin and even out the skin tone. 

Because this laser is low energy, it is well-tolerated and does not cause pain. With minimal downtime, it is a great introductory laser for laser-naïve individuals.

2 Fraxel Dual

Fraxel Dual treatment uses two wavelengths, 1550nm and 1927nm, that allow it to target pigment and stimulate collagen. Do you know that Fraxel Dual is one of the most popular resurfacing lasers used by most dermatologists?  

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This non ablative fractional laser can be used to treat numerous conditions, including wrinkles, brown spots, large pores, photoaging, even texture, scars, stretch marks (laser stretch marks removal), and even skin pre-cancers.

3 Sciton Moxi

This non ablative laser is considered to be the perfect option for individuals who are just starting their skincare journey. It can easily be used on every skin type, all-year-round, to deliver smoother, clearer skin. The treatment causes no wounds as the laser does not vaporize the tissue. 

Types of Ablative Fractional Lasers

Ablative fractional lasers are less popular these days. However, they are still typical offerings on the market. 

This is known as a wounding laser that removes your thin outer layer of skin or epidermis. The process heats the underlying skin, dermis which triggers the growth of new collagen fibers. 

As your epidermis heals and regrows, the treated area starts to appear smoother and tighter. Types of ablative treatments include the erbium laser, carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, and combination systems.

A few of these treatments are as follows.

1 Fraxel Repair 

Fraxel Repair is basically an ablative fractional laser commonly known as fractionated CO2 laser popularly used for skin rejuvenation and promoting new collagen formation.

Your doctor will use the treatment to improve scarring, severe sun damage, deep wrinkles, and skin laxity. The recovery time is longer compared to non ablative Fraxel Dual treatment.

2 Sciton ProFractional 

This ablative fractional laser, Sciton ProFracrional, creates deep channels in your skin to revitalize your appearance effectively. 

Though it is an ablative treatment, ProFractional uses ultra-narrow channels that rarely create negative side effects. The treatment does not require longer healing times. Instead, individuals undergoing this treatment can expect healing to take just a few days.

The Final Takeaway

Fractional lasers are a method for revitalizing the appearance of your skin with little downtime. The most significant advantage of this procedure is that there is no risk of adverse side effects. 

After fractional laser resurfacing, your skin might stay red for up to a few months. But once these treated areas begin to heal, you will notice a noticeable difference in your skin quality and appearance.  Results after laser resurfacing tend to be gradual and progressive. The effects of the procedure can last for years.

Immediately after the fractional laser resurfacing, avoid unprotected sun exposure for a few months to prevent irregular pigmentation. Remember, your results might not be permanent. As you age, you will continue to get lines and wrinkles on your face. 

As a thumb rule, non-ablative fractional lasers are the safer option for the majority of people for their shallower reach. But there are so many different lasers that it is worthwhile to find a dermatologist who is skilled in multiple procedures.

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