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What Is the Difference between Fraxel Treatments and Erbium Resurfacing?

What Is the Difference between Fraxel Treatments and Erbium Resurfacing?


As technology continues to develop, there are an increasing number of options for patients who wish to undergo laser skin resurfacing and skin rejuvenation.  Besides high-powered lasers, there are modalities that involve radio frequency, deep dermal tissue heating, plasma technology, and fractionated treatments.  All of these treatments claim to improve acne scars, skin laxity, facial discoloration, mild wrinkles, and more.

For our purposes, we'd like to focus on the similarities and differences between Erbium laser and Fraxel skin resurfacing.  While both treatments are FDA approved for the treatment of wrinkles and acne scars, they work in very different ways.

Erbium Laser Resurfacing

Erbium laser resurfacing involves removing the surface layer of the skin, the epidermis.  As the epidermis regenerates, new cells develop without the memory of wrinkles or acne scars that were previously present.  Because the thermal laser energy penetrates into the dermis, the body responds by creating new collagen.  This treatment encourages an effect not only on the surface of the skin but below, as well.  During this procedure, the entire face is resurfaced, which generally takes less than 15 minutes.  A series of three treatments are typically required, followed by between five and seven days of redness and peeling.    Best results for are seen approximately six months after the treatment.

Fraxel Skin Resurfacing

The Fraxel laser uses "fractionated" technology.  This means that the laser beam is split into many thousands of microscopic beams or columns.  These columns penetrate the epidermis and go into the deeper dermal layer of the skin, deeper than an Erbium laser can access.  Fractionated technology allows for the treatment of targeted problem areas while leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.  This encourages the production of new collagen to fill the void left by treatment with new collagen, making the skin plumper and fuller.  Unlike the Erbium laser, fractionated technology is used to resurface a small portion of the face during treatment because the tissue between the microscopic columns is not treated.  Several Fraxel treatments are usually recommended, and post-procedural swelling and redness typically last between five and seven days. For more information, contact the Philadelphia Fraxel specialists at Jardin Medical Spa.

So Which Treatment Is Better?

Patients often ask which treatment option is better.  Our response is that both modalities are different.  The Fraxel does not resurface the entire area but is able to penetrate more deeply.  The Erbium laser does not penetrate as deeply, but it is able to resurface the entire area with each treatment.  The downtime associated with both is similar. 

As a consumer, you should consult with more than one practitioner to discuss your skin care goals and the treatment plan that best fits your lifestyle, expectations, skin type, and budget.  The Philadelphia facial rejuvenation specialists at Jardin Medical Spa will be able to consult you on your options.

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